Releasing bad news on a Friday can be a mixed bag – it can be buried since people have better things to do on the weekend than read news articles, or it can backfire since no-one is around to deal with the speculation and issues that arise from the bad news. Because MMO players are online on the weekend – those are peak play periods – it seems that the latter occurred when Fallen Earth LLC / Icarus Studios announced its restructure.
Come Monday and a very carefully worded response was crafted for release. A new headcount indicated a core team of 35 people, not 28 as first reported, which is great for the 7 people who are now employed but makes me wonder how disorganised Human Resources was to miscount them in the first place. Did it involve seven or so embarrassing phonecalls that started, “Say, you know how we said you were laid off on Friday…”?
One thing that turned out to be correct was Icarus’ LinkedIn headcount – it used to be 110. I don’t know for sure, but I’d suggest that the LinkedIn headcount for Fallen Earth LLC was also probably correct at 55 and that they probably formed half of that Icarus headcount. Again, this suggests that the cuts were made more substantively to the Icarus side than the Fallen Earth side.
The comment about Lee Hammock is expected, although why it was answered at all is a mystery since it is pretty irrelevant. Whether he knew or not, it is highly unlikely that Circatrix was going to say, “Yes, Lee totally knew this was coming and jumped ship”.
The final answer is true, even as it is misleading. All the current patches will still come out on schedule because they’re almost done – this restructuring occurred after a big design push to get FE’s latest update to near completion. The real question is how reduced resources is going to impact on the updates after that point. It is the the last comment is interesting, because it suggests that where Icarus looked to sell its MMO engine and toolset to third parties as well as operate Fallen Earth, moving forward the focus is going to be on their revenue generating Fallen Earth.
Another thing that FE announced was a new publishing partnership with Interactive Gaming Software. IGS is planning to get FE onto more shelves and online locations, but what I found interesting was the IGS is using Atari to do it. Although you can purchase FE from their own site, I wonder if this means it will pop up on Atari’s online store in between Champions Online, Star Trek Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online.