Today I came to the happy realization that had I been successful that summer, I'd probably be planning my move back to North America today in the hopes I could find another decent job before my severance package ran out. Blessings in disguise being what they are, in retrospect, it really was for the best.
For those like me just getting home from work and wondering what the hell is going on, CCP today announced another round of layoffs, but things can never be just that simple. In what can best be described as "impeccable timing," The Guardian decided to drop a little bomb of their own today in the form of a rather scathing investigative report on the cancellation of World of Darkness and (you guessed it) gross mismanagement at the highest levels of CCP.
Well played Guardian, well played indeed.
Ok, let's talk about this a little bit. I'll start things off by saying that I'm glad I'm not part of CCP's PR dept, because this is not the sort of stuff these guys probably look forward to coming into work to deal with. Had these two bits of news hit separately, the discussions I'm catching up with online right now would be far more tame. The fact that they hit on the same day makes them seem more related than they probably are, and certainly more associated than CCP would like them to be.
No one who has been around Eve for more than a couple of years read anything in that Guardian article that shocked or surprised them. Two Step, Helicity Bosun, and Seleene might all be shaking their heads this evening with me, but none of us learned anything we didn't already know... except the bit about the fiction guys writing Hilmar's apology for him. I mean, I had a feeling he didn't actually write it himself, but was that apology really so distanced from reality that the fiction writers had to get the nod over the PR guys? I'm sure there's a joke in this somewhere, but no one's laughing at the moment.
Long before the layoffs of 2011 following Incarna, CCP had already established a solid reputation for releasing unfinished features in Eve, and then running off to chase the next pretty butterfly before they completed the iteration. We've now spent 2 years of development time going back, fixing elements of the game, rebalancing other parts, and otherwise smoothing out the experience at the expense of new content, and that has been taking it's toll on the player base.
Rather than find a happy middle ground, CCP has gone from one extreme to the other. I've found it extremely hard to get super pumped for the past 3
|An animated representation of WoD Development 2011-2014 according to The Guardian|
Of course, the problem isn't just some woes with Eve development and a general lack of new content over the last 2 years. Eve survived at one time with a team of 60 devs, and since CCP owns the game itself, it doesn't really have to worry about a publisher like Sony deciding they're not making enough money and killing the lights. But this isn't about Eve anymore. This is about Eve bankrolling 8 wasted years of development time on a cancelled World of Darkness game CCP could never make happen. This is about Eve bankrolling a game fast approaching failed/cancelled status in Dust514. This is about Eve bankrolling Dust's successor, Project Legion, the game concept touted as what Dust should have been in the first place. This is about Eve bankrolling Valkyrie, which at least looks like it has a chance, but then so did Dust and WoD at one time, so please forgive me if I'm a little tepid in my expectations for that game at this point. Given this recent string of layoffs, one doesn't need to be able to read CCP's latest public financial report to come to the conclusion that Eve might be having a bit of trouble bankrolling so many other projects.
If this was all about Eve, I would tell you we're fine. If this was all about Eve, I would tell you there wasn't a doubt in my mind we would be starting our 3rd decade in another 9 years. I know what you're thinking, "here comes the obligatory 'Eve is dying' bit." Well... I'm not there yet.
If those games were to get cocked up bad enough, negative spill over into Eve development might be impossible to avoid, not to mention what CCP's obligations to it's investors might add into the mix. I'm confident, however, that as long as Eve can support itself we'll be ok in the short term... at least as long as CCP doesn't go tits up on another pair of failed games, and has to get bought out by EA or Sony.
I realize I've dropped a lot of doom and gloom on you guys tonight; days like today have that effect on me. I'm truly hoping for the best with regards to Legion and Valkyrie, partly because I want to play more awesome games set in the Eve universe, but also because I want my friends and acquaintances developing games at CCP to have long and fruitful careers making awesome games I want to play. Unfortunately, what keeps coming out in the media has given myself (and others) pause on what can reasonably be expected.