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LucasArts Lays Off Up To 50 Employees In Staffing 'Adjustment'
LucasArts Lays Off Up To 50 Employees In Staffing 'Adjustment'
November 16, 2010 | By Kyle Orland

November 16, 2010 | By Kyle Orland
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    26 comments
More: Console/PC



San Francisco-based LucasArts today confirmed it has laid off a number of employees as part of what it is calling a "minor adjustment in staffing to help us better address the needs of the business."

Gamasutra sources indicate up to 50 employees have been let go from the 27-year-old company, which is best known in recent years for games set in the Star Wars universe.

"We remain committed to our internal studio – and to fostering relationships with trusted external partners – in order to deliver quality games that amaze and inspire fans," the company told Gamasutra in a statement.

The confirmation of layoffs comes after 3D Realms' George Broussard Tweeted that the staff reductions came from "a team working on an unannounced game." LucasArts had no comment on the number of layoffs or where in the company they came from, specifically.

LucasArts also let go of a number of employees this summer in a move it said was designed towards "reorganizing its teams to better address the needs of the internal studio."

The company has seen a lot of staffing volatility in recent months, with the departure of producer Hayden Blackman and the introduction of former Ubisoft Montreal creative director Clint Hocking coming soon after the company replaced resigning president Darrell Rodriguez with former Epic Games China CEO Paul Meegan.


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Comments


Matthew Campbell
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Not sure about everyone else but I'm getting tired of whole "adjusting staffing to better address the needs of the business" layoff slogan... can companies just not admit they basically screwed up and apologize to the employees they let go because of the company's poor decisions..

Philip Wilson
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Yea no kidding. I dunno what's worse...the "adjustment" excuse or just saying you have to lay off people to be more nimble but then post internally that profits are up 40% and then make up new positions weeks later (like IGN did in March of this year.)

edgar m
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Im with you on that. When it come for hire talented people they always want the best but when it comes to layoff you are just a number to the corporations.

John Paul Zahary
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I completely understand, I am currently laid off and have been apart of these practices in the past.

David Fisk
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Seeing this kind of stuff frustrates me to no end. I was recently laid off. EA let go of a bunch of people from the Vancouver office. A game studio here in Vegas just recently completely shut down. Often times it's the case of upper management making poor decisions or ignoring us underlings that actually make the games that causes these situations. One day I'd like to see upper management apologize for making mistakes and see them resign, rather than letting go the people that are just doing what they are told.

Alan Rimkeit
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This happening on a regular basis shows an endemic characteristic of the video games industry. That the entire management structure needs to be re-structured and reorganized. One simply does not see this happening on a regular basis in Hollywood for example. At least not as much as the video games industry as far as I can tell.



The movie industry, like the video games industry, both project based and creative. So as far as I am concerned both of those excuses are not valid at all. They seem to be able to keep people gainfully employed for more time stably. Why is this? What are they doing right that the video games industry is doing wrong? It is something that really needs to be considered, though I am sure many all ready have.



It seems the best jobs in the video games industry are ones working for companies that make MMO's and are doing at lest moderately well. They are the projects that NEVER end.

Weston Wedding
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They still experience layoffs, though. NCSoft trimmed the staff of Paragon Studios, the City of Heroes developer. At least one of those "adjusted" was a well-known developer that was nearly the public face of the dev team and had been with the company for a long time.



Layoffs are fairly common in all industries, though. They're in the news all the time. It has become standard corporate practice.

Alan Rimkeit
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Oh I know that they still experience lay-offs. I just point out that those jobs at those companies seem to be the safest, "safe being a relative term I guess.



And the fact that these type of lay-offs have "become standard corporate practice" is exactly my point. They have come to depend on lay-offs to control corporate costs. It is lazy IMHO. We all need to figure out a better way to do things. I know it is possible, I just don't now how yet.

Mark Day
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Just a quick response to the statement:



"The movie industry, like the video games industry, both project based and creative"



And for the most part that's where the simularities end regarding the production model. The film industry is based on a "freelance" model supported by unions and guilds to prevent abuse of the craftspeople/developers. When a film prepares for production it cuts deals/contracts with everyone from the Director of Photography to the PA's. The contracts go for a specified period of time, (the duration of production), and then come to an end. As you move higher up the skill/reputation ladder the deals you can cut for your services get richer. The Unions and Guilds are there to provide a floor, (the minimum amount for each work catagory), a large number of workplace rules and regs in theory to protect the workers, and to provide other services that the freelance lifestyle makes difficult to secure like healthcare, workmans comp, etc. . But at the end of the production the majority of the production team moves on to the next project... or in reality to the unemployment line until the next project begins.



So my point is that the film production business is no more stable than the vid game biz. They have just been around long enough to recongnize the nature of their business and build a production culture around it.

Alan Rimkeit
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"So my point is that the film production business is no more stable than the vid game biz. They have just been around long enough to recongnize the nature of their business and build a production culture around it."



Then that is what needs to happen for the video games industry.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Alan Rimkeit
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I will say it, UNIONIZE.... O.O

Mark Harris
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I can't wait for the great Video Game Strike of 2023. Keep me posted on where the picket lines are.

Lo Pan
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I think part of the employee trust that upper management demands needs to be gated on them managing resources and schedule so employees are not laid off due to poor planning. Sadly our industry views developers as commodities.

David Fisk
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I've worked in tv an film, and it's WAY different than games. Unions is a big one. You can work just half the year if you are a top person in your craft, and have plenty of money for the whole year. I know guys that didn't work for over a year during the writers strike, and they were fine. It got tough towards the end, but they were fine. It would be interesting to see how developers and publishers would react if workers started unionizing. I mean, I hear about crunch periods where people work 5 to 7 days straight, and it's expected of them because they "love video games". That's just not right, and having a big crunch like that shows poor planning and poor organization skills on the part of upper management. You can't get away with stuff like that on TV or Film. The unions protect their workers.

Joshua Sterns
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Unionize all the way. Say no to the crazy crunch hours. Walk out of the studio as a team. If a game gets canceled, or delayed, then good. Fans can suck it up and play what they already have.



If you need more numbers, then include QA. Give them an opportunity to survive off of something more then Ramen and OT food.

J Benjamin Hollman
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When you call the act of eliminating the livelihoods of fifty people right before Christmas a "minor adjustment", it says a lot about what you think of them as human beings.

Joshua Sterns
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Lay offs suck, but they can be a blessing in disguise.



I worked in the industry for about two years. Got layed off twice and saw my network disappear after Luxoflux and Pandemic shut down. Got offers for less pay at Square Enix and 2k. I reanalyzed my goals in life and said fuck that. Now I work in advertisement making more money with all sorts of benefits.



I have no idea why someone would negatively effect their life for some code and pretty pictures.

Reid Kimball
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Hope the folks land in a better spot than before. It usually works out that way.



As for the industry doing layoffs like this, it's the future. We'll all be contractors, making what we're worth and not being abused to work until sleep deprivation sets in and health goes south.



I didn't like this change at first, but I've adapted. And if you live in the right place and use effective communication tech, it doesn't mean uprooting family and relocating every 2yrs, which was my biggest fear when moving to contract game design.

agostino priarolo
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It looks like the Sith are having their revenge. Hey George wake up!

Benjamin Quintero
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It sucks yes... but... it's not like anyone should be surprised by the behavior of LucasArts. This WILL happen again, I have no doubt, and if you are hired under the impressions that you will be working towards a long standing career with Yoda, you have only yourself to blame when it doesn't happen. This is like their 10th full hire, full layoff in memory. I've turned down interviews with them countless times because I'd be job hunting right now; nuff said.



Best of luck to the recent layoffs, I hope you land safely.

Matjaz Puhar
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In other news, here is another take on the matter: invest into restructuring!



http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/31445/Ubisoft_Sees_Sales_Up_Di
gital_Sales_Boost_But_High_Costs_Lead_To_Restructuring.php

Curtis Cooper
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I think if more talented people reconsidered they're commitment to the field of gaming, given how studios treat them, employees could get the upper hand in this contest. Really, game-making is just one field you can invest your creative energies into.

William Anderson
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This is why I won't even give LucasArts the time of day when they call about working for them!  In my experience it's the people who need to be let go that decide who gets sacked. In Japan they have the right idea, the buck stops with the managers and not the production staff!

Azazel Thoth
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What I find interesting is that companies staff up during their development because the project is behind (anyone remember the Mythical Man Month?) then once the title ships, like, lets say...I dunno, The Force Unleashed II, the studio doesn't want to keep all those people on so they lay them off. It's one thing to hire people on contract and completely different to hire them knowing you're going to fire them once their project ships. Watch studios making big games, in the last quarter of development or so, they'll put out a huge # of ads for various positions. Then wait a bit and watch them lay people off. Lucasarts is just worse than most.



And btw, there is a union....

David Fisk
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Well for me (I work in audio), there are sound editor unions out there, but they are mainly for tv and film folks. I could join it, but I'd be less likely to get hired at a game studio. I could go back to the tv and film world, but that would require a move back to L.A., and right now that's not looking like a great possibility.


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