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Pandemic Studios Brisbane no more

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 13/02/09 - 6:06 PM Permalink

Well done. You've just shown your complete ignorance about what Adam was responsible for and I have no doubt that you have no idea what the other leads and directors did either.

You are obviously very pissed off and bitter about the whole incident and need someone to blame - I under stand that. It's quite natural to blame the people directly above you - they are the ones you have the most visibility of, the ones who may be doing things different to the way you would have. I'm sure those above you also blame the ones above them, tight up to the top where JR blames Bush and Bush blames Satan.

A wise man once said that it's impossible to win an internet argument, so I'll bow out of this now. Feel free to carry on without me.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 13/02/09 - 6:57 PM Permalink

yes you're right- he was responsible for characters wasn't he? or cinematics?the camera?

Jokes aside the key thing is- higher ups or leads *should* be accountable-
at least if you are going to traipse around to movie premiers say,

so I'd say if he's bitter he's bitter about lack of accountability.
(The people you actually have most visibilty of are your co-workers.)

Its also a case of respect being earnt-,+
I don't believe its a generalisation against authority or higher up's- a given response,
and not quick knee jerk but a slow burn?.

I don't believe people think this way about all higher ups so don't fret.

I bow out too(what a good idea thanks).

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 13/02/09 - 6:25 PM Permalink

oh man, this is great stuff!! brilliant. Souri, ready this. Please, what do you think of Adam and Kirk now? this is what I am talking about.. this is the truth spoken by someone who actually knew what was going on and wasn't part of the wanka club like the guy here who is trying to stick up for A & K. Holy.. It is amazing that people here can be soo ignorant and their heads so stuck up their asses that they don't realise what was happening at the company they were working at? Obviously they were part of the group that ruined Pandemic. I real good read, I would love to see this posted on kotaku.. just brilliant

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 13/02/09 - 6:24 PM Permalink

...Said the kettle to the pot

Hey, feel free to enlighten me. If you can give me an "exact" list of what the Technical director, the art director and the creative director actually did and contributed to the project that is to the contrary of what I posted, please by all means do, I promise not to call you names. Otherwise, I'm just going to take this as a case of mis-placed loyalty.

But if you can provide some credible accounts, then I am definitely all for it and can't wait to read it if you decide to.

"blaming the people above you" isn't what this is about, this is about what happenned and who caused it to happen, and calling those responsible out on it (rather than just doing what they're banking on and forgetting about it, thus no-body learns anything and they get away scott free to perpatrate again), there were some definitely talented and skilled people in the lesser known lead roles who should have been promoted to heads of their respective departments. Sharpe, Francois, and Robin Maddock come to mind

And the wise man is right, it is impossible to win an internet argument, but it seems a little strange for you be going "you're wrong, oh well, see ya."

once again, would love to hear your take on it all.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 13/02/09 - 7:01 PM Permalink

You are totally on the mark. Lets see if he can come up with anything.. I doubt it. Pandemic basically got the rejects from EAC.. I tell you there are a lot of rejects from there as I used to work at EAC, everything you talk about, going on trips on the company dime.. getting people below to take the fall for their screw ups. This is text book EAC, they learnt from the best of them and brought their ways and friends to screw up pandemic.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 13/02/09 - 7:16 PM Permalink

just found this on gamasutra with an interview about Adam

Why I Got Into the Industry:
A friend of mine was working at Electronic Arts and convinced me to apply. I started testing, then after a while I bugged the Need for Speed team asking them if I could help out. You should have seen my 'demo reel' YIKES! Terrible. Worked as a miscellaneous art lackey and learned on the job.

was QA and had a terrible demo reel? great! real great!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 13/02/09 - 7:28 PM Permalink

Yes, I had heard that at my time there. The irony was that they kept saying "we don't want to run pandemic like EA, we want to be open an honest" blah blah, etc etc. while they did the exact opposite, its was a fucking nightmare.

I'd love to hear some of your stories from EAC, from what I can tell, the place has been a breeding ground for some of the worst video game "con-men" that leave and go to new studios claiming to be "creative geniuses." It's those kinds of people that are crippling this industry, not the economy, and after six months they just pack-up and move to a new studio of unsuspecting dupes to fleece.

Funnily enough I've heard Kirk G. went back to EAC after Black box got shut down (I can give you a few reasons why that studio got shut, and they all involve kirk g.).

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 13/02/09 - 8:04 PM Permalink

Seems like I was fortunate enough not to have worked with Kirk and Adam. I know many from BlackBox who got laid off recently. Actually Blackbox is a classic Pandemic copy situation. Blackbox was a very successful company having released the Underground games. Then the rejects wrecked the place. You see EAC had a new place to send all their expensive rejects too... It is really sad because all the high up management and their expensively paid buddies survived the Blackbox cut and were transferred to EAC recently.

It is sad because John Riccietello is so out of the loop with the culture at EAC... he recently had a conference call for shareholders.. gave a dog some treats and tried to get the dog to sit but it wouldn't sit. He then pointed out that this dog is like the typical EA employee. If he really thinks this then I do not understand why he doesn't go in there and get rid of these guys.. The problem is that he tells the heads of EAC that their needs to be cuts. Those guys will not cut themselves, they will cut the people who are under them. Which is understandable, but he needs to go in there and just remove all the management of the game devs that are underperforming. The people under these guys are just doing what they are told.. so why should they be at fault. The problem with EAC as I see it is that the whole place was made of guys just like Adam who worked their way up through QA. Many of the high up management at EAC all used to work in QA. Like you said from there they go overseas, give fancy presentations and proclaim themselves as creative geniuses. QA to creative genius.. wow

You know .. Adam and Kirk won't get away with it.. I have no hesitation in contacting HR at my company tomorrow and putting these guys blacklisted. I work for a canadian firm, Adam and Kirk came back to canada. We all know everyone here.... I guess there is one advantage to having foreign friends working in australia and abroad.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 13/02/09 - 8:47 PM Permalink

be sure you include Adam Mac. as well, the retarded "creative" director on the project.

Classic case of starting out in QA to instantly being a "creative genius."

I swear I could write a book about what that guy put everyone through, not just the designers.

-Long anon post guy

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 16/02/09 - 5:49 AM Permalink

I worked with Adam at Rabag where he was hired as a senior designer, if only for a short time before Midway shut us down. I found him to be one of the most communicable and talented designers on the team. He bought ideas we had not considered and had a solid practical knowledge of game development.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/02/09 - 7:08 PM Permalink

Robin (lead programmer) and Adam had equal amounts of responsibility at Pandemic on the team. As a matter of fact Robin had the power to trump decisions Adam made if it was warranted.
As well Francois was the head of his department, um, isn't that what lead environment artist says to you?

Yes, you obviously had no idea what was going on on your own team. I agree this could have been upper managements fault (not enough transparency) as much as your own ignorance. But just stop making such weird accusations, it's just making you all look, well, ignorant.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/02/09 - 1:50 AM Permalink

Yes Francois was a lead environment artist, I didn't have that much dealing with him as I was in a different department, but I DO know that he fought long and hard with myhill over the tech choices and processes, myhill wanted it his way, complained to kirk and bamboozled dylan, myhill GOT his way, stupid processes were put into place, Francois jumped ship, game was cancelled, Pandemic shut down.

And if Robin was able to trump all of Myhills choices, the fact that he didn't, or didn't mention anything says more about him in a negative light, rather than a positive. Which is a sad thing to say the least as I actually think he is a very decent programmer and a good lead programmer to boot.

So please stop coming in and claiming these are "weird accusations" when you've got evidence that is slapping you in the face to the contrary, it just makes you look...well, ignorant (and a brown noser).

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/02/09 - 1:17 AM Permalink

Robin could not lead a pack of wild dogs out of a wet paper bag. The guys been in the industry for what? Eight years? Shipped only one game where he was a junior and sacked immediately after it went gold. The man has wasted enough publisher money to float a new country, and has more cancelled games under his belt than good Sunday night dinners. Classic case of talks the talk but can't walk the walk.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 13/02/09 - 7:42 PM Permalink

Quotes directly from senior Pandemic staff.

Lead programmer - 1400% of a frame is perfectly acceptable for an Alpha build.
Engine programmer #1- We don't need an aligned vector class.
Engine programmer #2- How many SPU does the PS3 have?
Lead Designer - Could Batman fly?
Producer - So where is Robin?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 14/02/09 - 6:23 PM Permalink

i think it was only after Pandemic strted kissing EA, they fell apart... look at the awesome games they did when they were still indie compared to their releases after EA took over

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/02/09 - 5:23 PM Permalink

Kirk G., Adam M. ,Adam Mc., never worked on open world game. They background was in sports games. They didnt know what the fuck they doing. Good to see them no longer working in australia.
Keep the talent localy grown. Enough of Americans stealing aussies work.

Submitted by souri on Wed, 18/02/09 - 5:47 PM Permalink

Ok, I got a warning about slander against people who are not here to defend themselves, and it's probably best that you keep names down to initials or on a first name + second initial basis.

I will have to go through the posts and make some changes to the names mentioned, so I hope everyone understands. The last thing I want to go through is legal action.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/02/09 - 6:22 PM Permalink

Because there are items in this thread that are factually wrong I feel the need to correct them. Since obviously the people on here who are bitter angry and spiteful seem unable to accurately relate information.

Adam M. was not the Technical Director at Pandemic nor on the project you are discussing. He was the Principal Technical Artist, BIG difference. It was absolutely not his choice to use the engine this game ended up using, this was a decision made by all of the technical leaders on this project with input from Adam M., the environment lead as well as the lead designer. But the final decision came from the technical leads on the project of which Adam was not one.
This same engine is being used by Saboteur currently in production at Pandemic's LA studio. An open world action adventure game. It has issues, a lot of them. But so does the Mercs engine. The Mercs engine in fact has so many issues that the Mercs 3 team is currently overhauling it. It was considered when this decision was being made but the Saboteur engine was chosen instead.

Kirk G. and Adam M. have spoken at the last two GCAP's because they are very well respected in the international games industry. Adam M. has also spoken at the GDC by invitation.
Tony Albrecht an extremely well respected programmer in the Australian games industry and the lead engine programmer at Pandemic on the aforementioned project would only have good things to say about Adam and Kirk. But he won't participate in these discussions because he feels it is highly unprofessional.
If you want to claim that Adam and Kirk are and were not good at their jobs and be angry and spiteful in your own personal vendetta then go right ahead. But at least get your facts straight first Luke. You're just embarrassing yourself. Kind of like claiming on your LinkedIn profile that you were a senior artist at Pendemic when you were only an intermediate.

And some advice to those who have read the Kotaku article. Some of the issues mentioned in that article are true, many of them are not. The biggest contributor to that article was a designer who was fired from Pandemic for underperforming long before the project was cancelled. This had nothing to do with the new leadership, as a matter of fact it had been in the works for ages before.
Read everything with a grain of salt, do your own investigating. Get more than one persons viewpoint before adopting it as your own. Kotaku relishes gossip, and that was what informed the bulk of that article.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/02/09 - 6:57 PM Permalink

Adam and Kirk are still employed at Black Box in Vancouver. That studio has not been shut down yet. There was a large number of lay offs affecting the Need for Speed teams which reduced the size of the company.
The plan is to move the remaining employees and projects at Black Box over to EAC in about 6 to 8 months.

Again, just another example of how inaccurate the information in these threads is.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/02/09 - 8:16 PM Permalink

If everyone I talk to from pandemic talks bad about A and K, then you say they were great? who do you believe? are half the company at pandemic misinformed and don't have the facts straight? Are people like you the informed friends of A and K.. or maybe you are one of them? I guess if it was this divided then it probably was a good thing that pandemic closed.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/02/09 - 8:58 PM Permalink

All this bad blood seems to be coming from the team calling itself "Bravo".
What's the dirt on the "Next Big Thing" and their team?
What sin did they commit?


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/02/09 - 12:36 AM Permalink

Enough of all this bitching and moaning, the truth must be told.

With the fall of such a mighty Empire it is never the most obvious person who is the true villan.

DAVE PETERSON. Behind the congenial personality and flawless smile is an evil genius. The coffee machine was his responsibility, yet it was always broken. All thought it was due to the poor workmanship of the manufacturer. No, it was part of his master plan to lower productivity. So many times the wrong decisions were made, all because of the low doses of caffeine available to our child-like minds.

I will always miss what we had Dave.

... and don't get me started on Peter Yong.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/02/09 - 9:03 PM Permalink

American management stuff up Australian studios.

It's a fact.

The reason is because they have a culture of promoting people rapidly,
promoting friends, and paying themselves overinflated wages.

Half of them end up thinking that because they were promoted to that high, they must know something (usually when they know fuck all) about game development. The other half just get fired because competent people might expose their sham.

The other thing that seems inherent in American management culture, which is extremely incompatible with the Australian work ethic, is that people who are made managers or leads think this gives them "seniority", not just the right, but the constant need to assert their authority just because they can.

So often one sees it, where they assert their power because they don't
know something, rather than just admitting they don't know something, and asking for their "underlings' informed opinion (again, the classic case of thinking that because you're management, you must be hot shit and know everything required to be there). I've seen it time and time again - the sign of a manager who rose to that position by kissing ass and making the right friends : it goes something like : Instead of trying to make the right decision, they make a bad decision rather than being seen to make no decision at all. This is the symptom of someone who has read too many "Management Guides" that celebrate alpha male management and perception of power over actual skill or ability.

I've seen at least one Aussie company be driven into the ground, because an American manager in a senior position never ever replied to seriously important, high level decisionmaking questions - because he honestly didn't know, but was too concerned with looking important and "senior" to everyone else, when really he was an IDIOT. This is someone who more than 30 people answered to. People like that deserve to be disbarred from management forever (if only we could) - due to all the lives they ultimately damage when their company goes belly up due to their incompetence. They live a sham, a lie, and they know it.
As others here have pointed out, when things go bad, they simply go elsewhere where nobody knows them but sees an impressive CV. The world is littered with the carcasses of game companies driven into the ground by smooth talking American business guys who started in QA, maybe designed one or two shitty levels and suddenly became a VP. It's sick.

Australians work hard, and generally adopt a no bullshit mentality to
office politics and "pecking orders". Most of them just want to get the job done so they can piss off to the pub. Americans, on the other hand, appear to default to the sorts of business practices that are currently destroying Wall Street and the global economy : "Greed is good - get what you can while the going is good, and help all your friends, screw the victims". As an Australian who has seen it far too much, I'm sick of it. The assumption that Australians are "too inexperienced" for those roles, and that somehow a "Crack team" of American management has to be airlifted in to manage the serfs, is ridiculous. We have the talent, and the skills, and we have a business culture that is far less conducive to putting up with that bullshit, and far more conducive to say, actually producing quality work. Just look at the film industry. Young Aussie game devs - don't write a wonderful game and then hope to get bought out by an EA or something - they will ultimately screw you. Why not look to the example of something like Steam? Hook up with your web savvy mates and self publish. The big boys will ultimately screw you in the end.

I think the most enlightened comment I've seen in this extremely
unprofessional, and libelous thread was the guy pointing out that the
Australian games industry needs Australian publishers. Too often, it
seems, North American management just treat Australian devs like slaves in the colonies, "Mexicans with mobile phones", ultimately, expendable.

So Pandemic, a successful, highly acclaimed indie studio was 'taken under an American wing', and surprise surprise, was "Expended" when the criminals in EA had to preserve their houses in Monserrat and private expense accounts. No surprise from here. You can blame the individual American/Canadian idiots all you want, but until actual people within the Australian games industry itself step up and create a local management culture in games, and even a few indigenous publishers, the same problems are bound to be repeated endlessly.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/02/09 - 1:47 AM Permalink

"So Pandemic, a successful, highly acclaimed indie studio was 'taken under an American wing', and surprise surprise, was "Expended" when the criminals in EA had to preserve their houses in Monserrat and private expense accounts. No surprise from here. You can blame the individual American/Canadian idiots all you want, but until actual people within the Australian games industry itself step up and create a local management culture in games, and even a few indigenous publishers, the same problems are bound to be repeated endlessly."

Come off it man, they choked like dogs on Batman. It's no ones fault but their own. If they had shipped Batman on time, it had sold 3-4 million copies (or more) do you really think they still would have been shut down? Really. Come on stop kidding yourself.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/02/09 - 2:21 AM Permalink

You obviously know nothing about idiotic management deciding upon a flawed game engine or middleware when there is a very tight deadline. Mostly, these decisions are made based on a nudge and a wink from the people in the other companies. You're pretty naive, if you believe such decisions are made altruistically.

Pandemic could have worked their asses off, but if the engine they were using was giving them such catastrophically low framerates, the blame falls squarely on management for making a decision based on money or croneyism rather than tech.

Live and learn, young game devs.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/02/09 - 9:28 AM Permalink

You guys don't listen do you? The tech was not chosen by management, but by the tech team. The engine was the one best suited to the task at hand and was performing adequately right up to the end. Claims of framerates of 5fps are ridiculous - the game was running at 30fps most of the time (with the occasional drop - as you would expect for a game in development). You can't blame the engine for the demise of the game, and you can't blame the choice of that tech on management.

Most of the slanderous claims here are coming from 2 or 3 bitter artists who obviously thought they could do better than their leads (a fact which is highly doubtful). The other 100 odd people that worked in that studio have either remained quiet or spoken up here in support. So who do you listen to? The loud wankers?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Reports have come in confirming that the remaining employees at Pandemic Studios Brisbane have been let go after losing their bid in getting publisher interest for their Wii game called "The Next Big Thing" in the hope of finishing its development.

The open world reality show game was in production for the Wii by the second team at Pandemic Studios Brisbane before owner and publisher Electronic Arts let many staff go and cut loose the studio in early January. The final dozen or so remaining staff at Pandemic Brisbane were notified today that all avenues have been exhausted and were let go.