Obsidian Cancels Title in Development, Layoffs Begin

According to Gamasutra, Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian Entertainment has recently laid off many of its employees. The studio recently canceled its latest next-gen game, Wheel of Time, which was listed as being in development with another studio back in 2010. The reports of these layoffs are coming from former employees and those who are currently still employed at the company through their own public accounts at LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter. A total of twenty to thirty people are estimated to have been laid off.

Fallout: New Vegas lead producer Frank Kowalkowski updated his employment status via LinkedIn to reflect his recent departure. Currently, other employees have also updated their profiles to reflect their recent change in employment. Jason Fader, a lead producer who was recently let go, posted this tweet:

So long, Obsidian. It was a great 3.5 years. I’ll miss everyone 🙁

Michael Bosley, an engine programmer still employed at Obsidian, made this comment on his public Google+ page:

Obsidian laid off a bunch of folks today. I’m still there, but it’s sad (and part of the biz) to see so many good folks let go. 🙁

Gaming Bus attempted to contact Obsidian Entertainment regarding this matter, but we had not heard back at the time of press.

Analysis: I have no illusions that this is part of the business of making video games, but I’m still sad to hear that this is happening. We send our best wishes and are hopeful that those who were laid off find new employment soon. In my opinion, Obsidian has had a rocky track record for their games: the most disappointing was Knight of the Old Republic II and the most phenomenal was Fallout: New Vegas from a story standpoint, but but the opposite is true for them in terms of engine stability.

There is little doubt in my mind that they could pick up work soon and hire these folks back. Their past games have proven that they do their best with original stories in established intellectual properties, but they do poorly when tied down to rigid input like with Lucas Arts. The action RPG market is booming, so they could take what they’ve learned from FONV and apply that to a new MDK title, something I think they’ll be able to pull off perfectly.


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