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 Damnation  Developer Lays Off 'Majority Of Team'

Damnation Developer Lays Off 'Majority Of Team'

July 1, 2009 | By Kris Graft

July 1, 2009 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

Maryland's Blue Omega Entertainment, the studio behind the Codemasters-published Xbox 360, PS3, and PC game Damnation, has laid off its entire staff following the game's completion, according to reports.

News of the layoffs began at a Twitter account under the name Geoff Rowland, who claims to be a developer for Blue Omega Entertainment. On June 23, an entry read, "The entire Blue Omega team was laid off today (well, starting Friday). If anyone has job openings, send them my way and I'll pass them on."

Anonymous sources at weblog Kotaku have apparently confirmed that the "entire" development team has been laid off. Gamasutra attempted to contact Rowland for more information, but an email was not immediately returned.

The layoffs reported stem from strained relationships during the development of the game -- which was originally devised as a mod of Unreal Tournament 2004 created by fans -- with publisher Codemasters.

Two suits that Blue Omega filed in January and February this year against subcontractors working on Damnation also led up to last week's layoffs, Shacknews reported.

Blue Omega sued subcontractor Point of View in January, alleging that Point of View was working directly with Codemasters, continuing development Damnation after Codemasters terminated its development agreement with Blue Omega that month. Blue Omega accused Point of View of being in violation of a "Noncircumvention Agreement", but withdrew the suit just days after filing.

In the suit, Blue Omega also accused Codemasters of being "consistently delinquent" with payments to the studio.

Still open is another suit filed in February against Blue Omega subcontractor Velvetelvis. Blue Omega accused the company of subpar work that led to Blue Omega missing deadlines. Gamasutra will update with more details as they become available.

[UPDATE: Rowland confirmed the layoffs with Gamasutra Wednesday afternoon, saying: "I can't really comment on anything due to existing [non-disclosure agreements]. The majority of the team was laid off shortly after submitting our first iPhone game (Attack of the Dust Bunnies) to Apple. It's a really fun game with a sense of humor and I hope that it sells well."

"I think the hope is if sales of the iPhone game go well, the team will get back together to develop smaller scoped games. While it is difficult to have been laid off in this economy, I think it is more difficult to no longer be working with the awesome team we had at [Blue Omega Entertainment]."]

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