UPDATE: PS All-Stars Dev Hit with Layoffs

superbot layoffs

Update

Earlier today, the layoffs at SuperBot were confirmed by Sony in a statement to IGN, but the forthcoming DLC for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is apparently still on track:

“SCEA can confirm that SuperBot Entertainment did make a reduction in their workforce today. The studio and SCEA remain committed to supporting PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale post launch, including developing the title’s forthcoming DLC releases in the coming months. The first character pack (including Kat from Gravity Rush and Emmett Graves from Starhawk) will be available for download on February 12 and will be free for the first two weeks. We’ll be sharing news of additional upcoming content soon.”

The number of layoffs hasn’t been confirmed, nor has the reason for the layoffs. If any more information is released, we’ll update this post…but chances are this is the last we’ll hear for a while.

Original Post

This week saw the utter collapse of THQ, and while many studios managed to find new homes, there are still plenty of folks either in limbo as far as their futures are concerned, or just flat-out laid off. According to a post on GameTrailers, many employees at SuperBot Entertainment, the studio tapped by Sony to develop their recently released PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale fighting game, have been laid off. The news was first Tweeted by Insomniac Studios designer Mike Birkhead:

 

The post notes that “up to 20 members of [SuperBot’s] staff” have been let go, though it’s not totally clear just why, since the game managed to move roughly half-a-million units between the PS3 and PlayStation Vita versions.

However, if I may hazard a guess? If these layoff rumors are true, I think I can pinpoint the problem to one place: Metacritic. More specifically, the game’s average Metacritic score is 74.5 between the two platforms. I’m not going to pretend to have insider knowledge that I don’t have, or say that I’ve seen the contract between Sony and SuperBot, but I have a theory. Considering the game came just last month and sold pretty well, but failed to crack 80 on Metacritic, that signals to me that their contract called for a bonus based on good reviews, much like the one between Obsidian and Bethesda for Fallout New Vegas.

When FNV failed to hit the 85 point mark on Metacritic, the developer lost a bonus they’d been more or less anticipating, and the studio had to lay off many of its staff members. Since there isn’t much else to go on, another missed Metacritic bonus seems like a likely culprit.

Until SuperBot comments on the situation one way or another, it’ll have to remain speculation. In the meantime, our sympathies go out to anyone who’s been laid off today. As too many of us are learning all the time., it’s a hell of a way to start a weekend.

Via GameTrailers

  1. If your theory is true, that’s bulls**t. Losing money because of a handful of people’s opinions is ridiculous.

  2. When will companies learned to not rely on variables, something like metacritic should not dictate whether people get bonuses or not, and yet the scariest thing of all is the fact that metacritic is used to dictate game developers jobs in any form or capacity. Perfect scores from the populace is hard to find and non existent in many respects as there will always be negative reviews, so basing a bonus off of that is almost like a win-win scenario for the publisher and a lose-lose scenario for the developer.

  3. Can meta critic ever be reliable?
    Survey says no. It’s filled with people who won’t give a game a chance and people who just outright despise the series for no particular reason, and just lower the score because they have nothing better to do.
    I think two shining examples of this is the CoD franchise and maybe the new DmC. (I haven’t checked because I’m certain all the butthurt fanboys who don’t even want to acknowledge the games existence have torn its score to shreds)

  4. My regards go out to those who lost their jobs, hope you find another developer with a much nicer publisher.

  5. I’m sure the devs are just trying to re-organize their infrastructure. It happens. Some people are let go, some are picked up. The fact that they’re still putting out DLC is a good sign.

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