Krome Studios CEO says they will not close any studios

souri's picture

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Krome Studios CEO, Robert Walsh, has weighed in to respond to the media reports concerning the latest rounds of Australia-wide Krome Studios staff redundancies. Robert dismisses the widely reported lay-offs as exaggerated and "pretty out of control".

Answering to Develop, the Krome CEO has stated that the latest round of staff cuts were due to the "cyclical nature of the development cycle", and that Krome Studios will not be closing any of their offices. From Develop...

(Robert Walsh) What’s real and those stories in the press are two different things. Some of the staff were on four weeks notice, but the studio’s fine.

The thing about the press is that sometimes they exaggerate things.

“There’s still guys in Adelaide, they’re still working on projects, I don’t know how that all got out of control.

Comments

Anonymous's picture

Maybe he's right...

Industry grows rapidly on the back of cheap Australian dollar, business is strong. Australian dollar gets stronger, industry rapidly shrinks again.

Sounds like a cycle to me (even if it only runs once!)

Anonymous's picture

Krome Adelaide is fine?! Last

Krome Adelaide is fine?!

Last I heard there were not going to be any designers or artists left working there, there are a couple of programmers working on projects from Brisbane but that's a long way from the studio being fine, for all intents and purposes it is gone.

Anonymous's picture

Don't you know?

Yeah, 3 guys in a studio that used told hold dozens is perfectly fine. That's what all fine studios look like.

Anonymous's picture

Typical spin

This is just typical CEO type SPIN.

Heaven forbid he should admit just how bad things for the studios are.

Anonymous's picture

Lies

I call total crap. The "studio" as in the building is still there until the lease is up. It's a closed shop so far as work goes. There are a couple who were not let go. One working for Brisbane from home the other doing god only knows what? HUD overlays and simple post effect shaders for serious games or some rubbish.

Anonymous's picture

LOL...Yup, it's total BS. The

LOL...Yup, it's total BS. The Adelaide studio housed 40 guys a year ago and as of friday you'll be able to count them on one hand. For all intents and purposes, Adelaide studio is closed...it's pure PR spin.

Anonymous's picture

It should bring great comfort

It should bring great comfort to the Adelaide guys being let go this week that the studio is remaining open. Too bad they won't be allowed back in. :P

Walsh seems to gloss over the fact that around 80 others from Brisbane and Melbourne are being let go this week also. Let's not forget them. I'm guessing Krome's workforce come friday reads more like 100-150, not the 250 he claims at the moment.

Anonymous's picture

I hope this is all true and

I hope this is all true and not yet another studio head trying to save face, rather than be dignified with a honest and open response to the dev community.

Anonymous's picture

This type of comment from a

This type of comment from a studio just makes you lose respect for them.

Why not just be honest about a difficult situation rather than trying to make out everything is fine?

Anonymous's picture

Walshy, Walshy, Walshy

His true colors are really coming to the fore. A trusting relationship only goes so far before the break. This story is complete BS.

Eric S.

Anonymous's picture

He might not ever want to

He might not ever want to seem like the [sic] 'Olga', but I'm sure there's plenty of people that see him this way, especially now he's spouted this fountain of sewage.

Anonymous's picture

a lot of bile over semantics

I don't think Robert Walsh is trying to deceive anyone with this statement, I honestly think he believes the studio will survive and that these layoffs are only a temporary measure - as naïve as this may be.

The way Krome has kept staff on while there hasn't been any work for them to do is financially unsound. It is a business plan that no other industry would even consider. Other developers hire on contract, run skeleton crews while work is short, and that's how they survive. Especially in a business where you are beholden to publishers, who make ridiculous demands for games, withhold payments for months, ask you to jump through hoops and compete with every other developer on the sniff of a chance at a contract, and then blame the developer when publisher agendas force them to make a less than perfect game (I'm looking at you, Clone Wars!). Keeping people on just in case you get more work is a recipe for failing, just as it’s a recipe for stagnating staff, for people getting comfortable with doing an average job.

Krome has set itself up as a kind of family, and I guess that's why some of us were so hurt when we were let go. It can also explain why there has been so much anger about these statements - to say that the studio is fine is, on a personal level, to say that those let go didn't matter. Ignoring the fact that Adelaide had their project taken away and given to Brisbane two months before (not) being shut down (although I’ve heard rumours that this is more to do with a third party’s greed than Krome playing favourites with its studios), Krome has kept that particular studio alive long after more sensible publishers would have pulled the plug.

The very fact that Walshy is still running Krome is proof that he is in it for the love, not the money. And I believe if it were up to him, he'd hire everyone back in a minute. But he can't. And nor should he be expected to. There has been a lot of misdirected melodrama over this and Krome has received a lot of crap that should have gone elsewhere.

They aren’t entirely without blame of course, but I hope this trying period will shake the trees enough to loosen up the dead wood and bring in some new growth for Krome.

Anonymous's picture

'In it for the love?' Corn me up.

'The very fact that Walshy is still running Krome is proof that he is in it for the love, not the money.'
Er, sorry, but not really. As far as i could see Walshy had pretty minimal interest in the game side of the company. Putting on my amateur psychologist hat for a bit he was 'in it' to be the boss, the big man, because he doesn't like working for someone else, and to make money (just like everyone). Maybe it fulfills a psychological need. Maybe he isn't any good at anything else. Who knows. All of that is fine - but don't call it love.
'In it for the love' would mean taking a true compulsive pleasure in some aspect of production specific to games, or perhaps just the love of crafting/creating fine games (which clearly wasn't happening). Neither apply.
I'm not slating him. He's a businessman. What he doesn't and never did have though (and i'm talking about way before all this downsizing occurred), is a great revenue generator. So this thing of 'oh he could have sold the company and ridden off into the sunset if he'd wanted to, but he stayed for love' sorry but that's laughable imo. Most industry insiders would take a look, immediately appraise it as the fee-for service company it is/was, and politely decline ;-)

re. the dead wood/new growth thing, i would worry that a lot of good local talent *might* be a either miffed or wary and never go (or go back to) Krome. If that were the case (not saying it necessarily is, just a possibility) you would be left with imports and students, surely not an ideal situation. Surely imports are supplemental..the core of your studio will be local..I suppose the local industry is such that people might have no other options and would return...Either way i think many of the same issues would remain.

With that said i'm surprised to see comments like the true colours stuff about Walshy. Understandable if you were just let go from Adelaide of course. But he is doing what he has always done, PR, spin, BS if that's what you like to call it. If he didn't have an affinity for this kind of thing Krome would have died long ago.

Anonymous's picture

All of the CEOs are like

All of the CEOs are like this. I can't think of one that i now of who loves or is involved in the games their company is making.

funkyj's picture

Tell me, is it financially

Tell me, is it financially sound to let go the two studios and the talent therein, those who made the best rated and best selling Krome games, and keep the "dead wood" up in Queensland, the studio responsible for Clone Wars and Hellboy?

Anonymous's picture

To be fair, most of the Clone

To be fair, most of the Clone Wars and Hellboy team members are gone now as well. The only real solid teams up there are the Viva Pinata/GoG team and the remnants of Steves BK group.

Steve will always keep whatever he needs for his moneysink of a project, and the Pinata/GoG team has done good work and inherited Adelaides project when it was taken away from them in anticipation of shutting down the studio.

Anonymous's picture

Only on Tsumea would someone

Only on Tsumea would someone paying people to make a game be seen as a bad thing.

Anonymous's picture

So the guy is saying he's not

So the guy is saying he's not closing up shop totally in Adelaide and is getting hammered for it? At the same time that people are calling for there to be studios in SA...

Surely the fact that it's not completely closed means that as/if/when things turn around, there's the chance of increasing staff at Krome Adelaide again.

Redundancies suck, no doubt about it, but c'mon...

Anonymous's picture

shaking the tree .. lol

Shaking the tree to loosen up the dead wood .... if the tree is rotten from the inside all you are likely to do is snap the trunk and bring the whole rotten mess to the ground.

People with any talent watching the way these studios have/are behaving will think long and hard before joining them in the future if they manage to somehow stay in business.

The games industry is really a lot smaller than these companies would like to believe and this sort of behavior will not be quickly forgotten or forgiven.

Anonymous's picture

True. Kromes issue lay with

True. Kromes issue lay with it's still fully employed and predictable management and not its now mostly redundant staff.

Anonymous's picture

So...

Is Tsumea going to comment on the whole Krome/Emergent merger???

Anonymous's picture

Their entire HR team has quit.

I heard from one of the guys left there that their entire HR team has quit as well. I guess they got fed up with firing so many people. None of the people let go in the last round received any redundancy payout either, poor sods. Nice way for Walshy to show them how much he appreciated the work they did for Krome. GG Walshy.

Anonymous's picture

I don't understand this

I don't understand this attitude...

If Krome did what they have to do legally, then they have done what they're supposed to do. They're not a charity. If redundancy isn't part of the legal separation package then why should they pay it? Are they a charity? They paid their staff for the job they did week in and week out. In return, those staff provided programming, art, design etc. It seems that they both held up their end of the bargain.

Wtf is it with this charity mentality? The company doesn't owe you anything. I'm sure Krome would love to be in a position of never having to lose the staff anyway, or if they had (in some magic land) be so flush with cash that they could give the staff a cool "seeya later, here's 50K for your troubles." If they did it before, then it shows that they were in a better position before and able to give a "charitable" redundancy payment, but not this time.

If it is legally required to do so, and they didn't then people need to take legal action.

Anonymous's picture

It is legally a requirement

I've been told by a close friend that the Fair Work Ombudsman is currently investigating these claims. There have been some musings by the people that left that it is a legal requirement that programmers and possibly artists in Victoria are entitled to be payed under various industry awards.

Needless to say, he's now shitting himself as he believes that the redundancy pay will cause Krome to close up shop - at least in the two southern states, leaving him at a disadvantage for finding work coming late to the game. It's not the recently redundant that is to blame for this, but rather Krome's lack of planning in knowing all of their financial obligations.

I wish them all luck!

Anonymous's picture

It could be argued that the

It could be argued that the recently redundant already got their severance pay in that they were employed (and paid) for several more months than the people cut beforehand who did get payouts (the severances given weren't comparable to the ones EA paid the ex pandemic staff, well under $1k per year of service).

Either way, its a sad situation, I hope BK and GoG review well, sell like crazy and allow Krome give its staff more job security.

Anonymous's picture

You could ague that

You could ague that, but you would be wrong. Legally, provably wrong.

This isn't about sentiment, this is about what Krome is or is not legally obliged to pay. And they are legally obliged.

End of story.

Anonymous's picture

confirmation?

hmm..i would like to get confirmation on this 'whole HR team have quit' thing..seems a bit unlikely (albeit possible).
Regardless, it would be very interesting to do a walkthrough of Krome and see who is left.

Anonymous's picture

I can't imagine it's much fun

I can't imagine it's much fun to let ~100 people know they are soon to be jobless. Gotta wonder if they talked to most of them one on one, as a group or dropped the axe via email. Perhaps some enlightened person could let us know how it was handled. My guess would be poorly, lets see though.

Anonymous's picture

It was handled quite well

As someone who was let go, I can say that it was handled quite well. We were all in a group when told, though it was still personal. One on one time to discuss anything was offered if anyone wanted to take it.

The only thing that was not handled well was redundancy entitlements. There is some dispute about that, but I'm sure we'll soon have a resolution that is fair.

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