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Krome Studios

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Led by the heroic TY the Tasmanian Tiger, his team of Bush Rescuers are an eclectic mix of critter mechanics, scientists and adventurers based in Coolarangah. They have one goal - to help their community, whenever there's danger.

Now you can join them in their all new adventures on Xbox Games for Windows 8 PC or Tablet. Play through ov er 30 levels of glorious High Definition 2D platforming gameplay as you visit TY's world Down Under and help the colorful citizens out of their troubles.

Run, Jump and 'Rang your way to fun!

For more information go to http://www.kromestudios.com/TY

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TY and the Bush Rescue gang return in all new adventures on Xbox Games for Windows 8 PC or Tablet. Play through over 30 levels of glorious High Definition 2D platforming gameplay as you visit TY's world Down Under and help the colorful citizens out of their troubles.

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Submitted by designerwatts on Fri, 27/07/12 - 11:10 AM Permalink

I remember seeing someone at GDC 2011. I didn't know who it was but he was at one of the hotel lobbies near the conference, playing around with a tablet with the TY loading screen on it.

I was off to a meeting so I didn't stick around to ask. But I can only assume he was showing some kind of product to publishers, media or investors.

This could be the result of those kind of efforts. I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.

Submitted by ex-kroman (not verified) on Wed, 01/08/12 - 10:39 PM Permalink

Umm, didn't they go into liquidation with a few million dollars in unpaid debts back in 2010, including a ton of money owed to staff? Most of the staff ended up getting these debts payed by the Aussie taxpayer, but all the 457 (foreign) staff got left short-changed.

How can they just pop back up after running their company into the ground and offloading debts onto the Govt.? Is that even legal?

W
T
F

How come this isn't a news story?

Submitted by ex kroman (not verified) on Tue, 28/08/12 - 12:05 PM Permalink

I dont understand how do they get away with htis. I still havent receive all my holiday pay from them, but yet they have money to rebuild the company.

In reply to by ex-kroman (not verified)

Submitted by annoyed (not verified) on Thu, 30/08/12 - 9:27 AM Permalink

Yes - it's all just from there being "money to rebuild the company". Nothing to do with a shitload of hard work, working at other jobs, some people working without pay etc to try to do something that we love.

Submitted by Sandy (not verified) on Thu, 06/09/12 - 3:24 PM Permalink

Get your facts right. Every company in Australia pays a contribution to the Gov't in the event of losses, winding up etc. Just like worker's compensation companies pay insurance and when the worker is injured the Gov't pays worker's compensation. THis hasn't come out of the paypacket of taxpayers but is funded by the companies themselves. Also just like you pay an extra fee on your rego for a nominal defendant portion which covers incidents ie blinding sunlight, lightning, etc again taxpayers don't pay this. Check your facts no offloading of debts on the Govt.

In reply to by ex-kroman (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/09/12 - 6:57 PM Permalink

Maybe I'm wrong but I can't find the legislation that requires companies to contribute to a fund for GEERS. (Please point me at it, I may be having a google fail)

They ARE technically required to have sufficient funds on hand to cover employee entitlements, but when things start to go bad.....doing everything possible to survive tends to kick in, which is why we have GEERS.

My understanding is that the Government can recover costs from liquidated assets but that there is a substantial gap as described in this article.

http://www.workplaceinfo.com.au/payroll/payments-and-expenses/employers…

Also remember that unpaid employers superannuation contribution is not covered by GEERS and that contractors are not covered at all.

I seem to remember that there was a proposal to extend GEERS to cover unpaid Super which would have required employers to pay a levy, but this was strongly opposed by employers organisations.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/09/12 - 10:14 PM Permalink

I forgot that not everyone has a subscription to workplaceinfo.....so here is an article from "The Age" describing how TAXpayers have funded nearly $1bn in unpaid entitlements through GEERS over the past decade.

"Employment Minister Bill Shorten defended GEERS and criticised company directors for failing to meet their obligations. ''These situations are often a result of financial mismanagement by company directors,'' a spokesman for Mr Shorten said."

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/failed-firms-leave-huge…

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/08/12 - 10:43 PM Permalink

er, Pheonixing or some other shenanigans? Pretty sure Walshy would have done his homework on the legalities and found some loophole.

I also am surprised this has not generated more commentary.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 06/08/12 - 6:50 PM Permalink

"...urprised this has not generated more commentary."

It's simple. They aren't worth the effort ;).

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/08/12 - 11:15 AM Permalink

Krome specifically hasn't made the news, but...

Phoenix activity costs Australia between $1.78 billion and $3.19 billion a year, according to a report into phoenix companies in Australia released today by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The report, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), estimates that the annual cost of phoenixing in Australia is between $191 million and $655 million for employees, in the form of unpaid wages and other entitlements.

http://www.smartcompany.com.au/legal/050528-fwo-report-reveals-phoenix-…

It's starting to feel like the good 'ole days again! This week, we've seen the return of Dimsdale & Kreozot, Infinite Interactive, and now it's Krome Studios' turn to make a reappearance.

They've reopened their website which, for the past year or so, sat dormant displaying just the Krome Studios logo. The new site has had a design makeover and gives a glance of the smaller-scaled titles they've been involved with since their notorious collapse in late 2010.

The website also gives a small teaser of what's to come from Krome - expect to see the return of Ty, the Tasmanian Tiger, their breakout title which propelled the small Brisbane Studio to greater numbers and bigger things ten years ago.

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 07/02/12 - 5:55 PM Permalink

Wait...what? I thought Krome was officially dead. As in, closed down, no more employees there at all. How is it they are still releasing games (albeit mobile games)?

Submitted by Linds (not verified) on Wed, 08/02/12 - 11:50 AM Permalink

Technically we always were indie.

Krome Studios’ Full House Poker has been voted the Runner Up in TrueAchievements.com’s Game of the Year in the “Best Card & Board Game” Category.

This is TrueAchievements.com second annual “Game of the Year” voting, and this year over 135,000 total votes were cast by their international community in twenty categories.

Krome Studios has several up and coming games in the mobile space, including Toy Soldiers 2: Boot Camp, which is being featured on Microsoft’s Must-HaveGames promotion for Windows Phone in February.

Full House Poker has also been listed as the top selling Xbox Live Arcade title in 2011. It has sold in excess of 375,000 Units, bringing in $3.6 Million USD (at $9.66 ASP), according to Computerandvideogames.com

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Yes, it's all getting a bit confusing.

Cast your minds back to mid-October last year when news had spread rapidly that Australia's largest games developer, Krome Studios, were closing their doors and letting go of their staff. This meant the end of Krome Studios Melbourne as well as their main hub of operations in Brisbane. The rumours concluded that a small amount of contractors were continuing on to finish off remaining projects. All the following corroborating comments from ex-Krome staff and those in-the-know implied that it was indeed true.

A month after the news had circulated, Andrew McMillen for IGN AU conducted an interview with Krome Studios CEO, Robert Walsh, on the demise of Krome Studios. Remarkably, Walsh countered the circulated reports that Krome Studios were closing up by saying that they were still seeking projects and even had the potential to expand up to a hundred staff. They were down to 40 staff for the time being, however, and were now "focusing more on social, casual and digital stuff" rather than developing console titles aimed for the shelf which they're more known for. The company at this point was renamed from "Krome Technologies Pty Ltd" to "Fortitude Technologies Pty Ltd" but was still trading as Krome Technologies.

Some may have noticed that Krome Studios was listed for a few products after their 2010 mid-October "closure". There were three Game Room Game Packs (011, 012, and 013), released during mid-November to mid-December of last year. And surprisingly, Krome Studios is also credited for a soon-to-be released new game called Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp. From the blog of Microsoft Xbox Live Director of Programming, Major Nelson, on the Xbox 360 related releases shown at last week's New York Comic Convention 2011...

"Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp" – shipping this fall by Signal Studios and Krome Studios. Wage war on a tiny scale in "Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp" which brings the fun and addictive shooting gallery mini-games from "Toy Soldiers: Cold War" exclusively to your Windows Phone! Additionally, earn bragging rights in Cold War on Xbox 360 through an integrated mobile leaderboard

Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp looks to be the mobile version of the XBox Live Arcade title, Toy Soldiers: Cold War which was developed by Seattle based Signal Studios. We're guessing that Krome Studios was given the project to port over the shooting gallery mini-game aspect of the original title to the Windows Phone platform. With its release date fairly imminent (Fall in the U.S), we're assuming that development for this project is practically done.

So what does this all mean? Is this a sign that Krome Studios is still kicking around and trying to secure and complete projects as their CEO had indicated late last year? Unfortunately, maybe not. We had a search on Fortitude Technologies on the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) website to see what their records are. Here are some of the details from the resulting page.

18/10/2011 027767795 Not Imaged 524J Presentation of Accounts & Statement Accounts of Creditors'
11/02/2011 027502758 2 506E Notification of Change of Address of Liquidator
05/11/2010 7E3278074 6 5011A Copy of Minutes of Meeting of Members, Creditors,

It would appear that, apart from being assigned a liquidator sometime earlier this year, Fortitude Technologies (trading as Krome Studios) submitted today a 524 Presentation of Accounts form which is used specifically by an administrator, liquidator, or controller. Searching the "524J" code brings up many results on esearch.net.au describing this as a "Voluntary Winding Up" procedure.

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Games On Net have an article on the games that were developed by Krome Studios over the years that remained unpublished and unfinished. These games were were developed as proposals for the studio to show off to publishers. While some were eventually greenlighted (like Ty, the Tasmanian Tiger, for example), many were pushed aside or placed on the backburner when paid contract games work took preference. All was not lost though, as in some cases, the work put into these prototypes was later re-used for other games.

Steve Stamatiadis, the Creative Director at Krome Studios, gives a description and backstory to these never-before-seen productions, as well as the reasons to why some of them never got the green light to become full-fledged games. These prototypes range in development from the early days of Krome Studios when they were better known as Gee Whiz! Entertainment, right up to the studio's demise late last year. They are:

Katburgler - a 60's themed female spy action game which failed to secure a publisher due to other titles in the market.
TY: Gunyip - a free-roaming air combat game set in the universe of TY, The Tasmanian Tiger which was partly developed by the former Atari Studio in Melbourne. It was push aside for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed contract work.
Surface Tension - a PS2 title that was a cross between Pikmin and Populous which was abandoned when the team moved to next-gen development.
Carpe Noctum - a multiplayer, steampunk-era action game where characters fight demons
Project ACLAND - a gory game title that would have pushed the games classification bar in Australia

When asked if Steve will return to making games, he responded to Games On Net...

“The industry is really screwed,” he says, laughing bitterly. “Getting stuff done is really hard at the best of times, and... it’s not the best of times. But I’m do have some ideas, maybe something for iPad. I’ve got some great ideas for adventure games. We’ll have to see what happens.”

For the full feature, head on over to Games On Net.

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/11/10 - 3:11 PM Permalink

the fact that Scott Johnosn is as big a fraud as Robert Walsh may have something to do with it- two broke companies do not make a solvent one

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/11/10 - 6:43 PM Permalink

The Krome-Emergent deal fell apart before Krome collapsed... I hear because Emergent was unable to pay for the work that Krome did for them! That may in fact be part of the reason the Krome collapsed so suddenly.

Pretty funny to see Emergent turn around and blame Krome now.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/11/10 - 10:07 PM Permalink

'Blame' is not correct. To me, that has some feeling of acrimony, which I'm certainly not aware of.
As Scott said, the guys were working hard on things that showed great promise for the development of Gamebryo (the guys were kicking ass IMHO) - and I wouldn't say that the deal fell apart before "everything else" happened (I cannot comment in detail) - but it's hard to say anything but that things came to "a sudden and unexpected halt" when the people doing such a great job no longer had employment.
Was sad to see the news today about Gamebryo and wish them the best (and straight after somebody made me aware of the Torque situation too!).

Linds

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 14/11/10 - 10:29 AM Permalink

I wouldnt use "kicking ass" and krome in the same sentence in a positive way.. Krome's technology was pretty poor. It only worked on projects because people put a lot of hard work in to working around how garbage it is.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 14/11/10 - 2:21 PM Permalink

I disagree. After using some of the tools other companies use... I've begun to think that MerkTools wasn't all that bad (the later iterations, anyway).

Yeah, there were a lot of workarounds. But I'm finding that's the case everywhere. Grass is greener, I guess.

Submitted by souri on Fri, 12/11/10 - 12:20 PM Permalink

Gamebryo middleware engine is up for sale as the parent company shuts up shop. It's a bit concerning as we do have some local developers using that engine.. notably Epiphany games, and Sidhe.

http://www.gamingbusinessreview.com/emergentsellsassets.htm

Coincidently, it looks like Torque is going the same way too.

Today, InstantAction informed employees that it will be winding down operations. While we are shutting down the InstantAction.com website and Instant Jam game, Torquepowered.com will continue to operate while InstantAction explores opportunities with potential buyers for Torque. We thank all of our past and current customers for their support.

Submitted by Mario on Fri, 12/11/10 - 1:33 PM Permalink

We have used Gamebryo on 4 titles in the past, but all our current development and our last few released titles are being developed on our own version of PhyreEngine.

We certainly happily recommended Gamebryo to those developers looking for a solid middleware solution for licensed multiplatform game development (especially those on a budget), but we have no commitments to it currently.

Hopefully, they sort themselves out as it would be a shame to lose Gamebryo as an option.

Submitted by souri on Fri, 12/11/10 - 1:43 PM Permalink

Ah, good to hear that you guys won't be affected too much. I could imagine how disruptive this news could be to a dev who's still very much invested in the engine. Haven't heard much from Ephinany Games, but it seems like they've been working with the Embryo engine on their current (and future) titles for a long while now and are even listed as development partners on the Emergent website.

The report of Krome Studios closure last month also came with the news that the deal announced two months ago with Gamebryo middleware developer, Emergent Game Technologies, to share engine technology and the efforts of engineering teams was hitting some trouble is now being confirmed by a report on Gamasutra.

The CEO of Emergent, Scott Johnson, acknowledges a change in plans and that the agreement with Krome Studios has come to a "sudden and unexpected halt" in light of the recent troubles at Krome. From Gamasutra...

(Scott Johnson) Our strategic initiative with Krome was showing great promise, but has unfortunately come to a sudden and unexpected halt. Certainly our roadmap has been affected and we are re-evaluating our plans...

It’s always difficult to watch as companies scale back and talented people lose their jobs, and our industry has witnessed more than its fair share recently.

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/11/10 - 10:45 PM Permalink

"(Robert Walsh) tell me, what original IP has been successful in the last 12 months? The original IP that's been most successful is Shainiel [Deo] at Halfbrick with his mobile games [like Fruit Ninja], and Rob at Firemint with Flight Control. But you don't need a hundred people to make fruit or flight."

True, you don't need a hundred people to be working on a SINGLE original IP. However, if Krome kept such a large staff in the past, logic would dictate that they could have been working on MULTIPLE original IPs by splitting the hundreds of people from their pool of staff into several smaller teams giving them plenty of opportunity to focus and develop multiple original IPs. By doing this, it may have allowed a number of potential and ORIGINAL IPs to succeed.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/11/10 - 10:01 AM Permalink

Small dev teams working on small games for platforms like xbla/iphone were talked about when Melbourne House was bought in 2006. Never really happened. Lots of talk but it never went anywhere and I was never sure why.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/11/10 - 11:04 PM Permalink

they were- and he'd it short. He ran the place into the ground so he can bugger off. Maybe his timetable was brought forward slightly but he had planned for this.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/11/10 - 9:35 AM Permalink

Nobody plans to run their business into the ground. No offense dude, but that's just delusional thinking. You may be upset that you lost your job, but this kind of thinking is waaaay of base!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/11/10 - 11:01 AM Permalink

Granted people don't often intentionally run their companies into the ground.
However, some people have may be aware of impending doom well in advance, and set up a gentle landing for themselves, whilst telling employees everything will be fine.... Syphon off funds, contracts, tech, IP etc over a period of time and leave the taxpayer to pick up the bill for the mess they abandon.
I don't know what has happened in the case of Krome, but it does happen. It's human nature to protect yourself first....

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/11/10 - 11:05 AM Permalink

who's delusional?
He doesn't have 40 people working for him.

half a dozen finishing in a week or so on Game Room
some more till january on the little MS thing
a few office staff working for free.
what, five or so on Serious games stuff that technically and legally is supposed to have nothing to do with Robert Walsh, director of two companies in liquidation.

The rest are supposedly working for Sydney-based Company X anyway- nothing to do with Mr Walsh.

Monday: "hey lets do this small zombie game"
Tuesday: "Hey lets stop it because although we could finish it ourselves and self publish, I won't because no one else wants it. I'll pay people to sit around and do nothing until I'm out of the country so I can get someone else to lay them off.
Wednesday: "Hi guys, lets do this shooter, this week. You have a week to do this and do it in a week."
Thursday: "I've changed my mind, we're doing casual games because my fiancee won't shut up about that space"
Friday: "I'm shutting down the casual division and firing everyone in it including my fiancee. I'm also not going to be in the country while it happens, again. Feel a bit crook"

That last bit is karma, Walshy.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/11/10 - 6:31 PM Permalink

"Thursday: "I've changed my mind, we're doing casual games because my fiancee won't shut up about that space"

LOL

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/11/10 - 11:05 AM Permalink

that he gives. How many people are still working there, and how many "might" be employed soon. What he doesn't mention is that the current contracts are up in the next two months which will take the number of paying games at Krome to zero. At best it'll be 80 people on, 40 people off. And those projects will yet again be short term contract work for hire games. The same sort Walshy says was foolish to try and build the industry with. :-S

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/11/10 - 5:18 PM Permalink

Aren't Krome bankrupt? aren't Krome closed? how are they still operating during liquidation? Where is that money coming from? How did Krome manage to not pay redundancy packages/annual leave/bonus leave/long service leave but manage to keep paying staff? How is Walshy flying first class to the US during bankruptcy?

Nothing is adding up correctly. sounds like a really slimy practice.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/11/10 - 9:45 AM Permalink

1. Set up a bunch of companies.
2. If one isn't going so well, siphon off all its assets to other companies. Also, transfer the debt of other companies (including employee related debt - redundancy, etc) to your failing one.
3. Liquidate the company and fire the staff. You're not personally liable for any of that debt, so it has to come from the liquidated company assets. But then, since this company doesn't have any assets because you cleverly transferred them, theres nothing to liquidate, you don't lose anything, and all your debt is gone!
4. Keep operating! Infinite money!
5. Problem, ethics?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/11/10 - 11:05 AM Permalink

It's not a ticket to just rack up a bunch of debts and get away with it. Continuing to trade while insolvent or transferring assets out of a company before it goes into liquidation would come under scrutiny.

There is also a limit on how many times you can be the director of a failed company.

According to ASIC:
If a director has been involved with two or more companies that have gone into liquidation within the
last 7 years and paid their creditors less than 50 cents in the dollar, ASIC may disqualify them from
managing corporations for up to 5 years. This effectively bans a person from acting as a director.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/11/10 - 12:31 PM Permalink

"we were just carrying too many people for too long, waiting for publishers to make up their minds."

Really? That's a bit of a weak and arrogant claim of responsibility Robert Walsh. I agree, that a lot of people were kept on during times with no immediate work available but I think the bigger point was that you kept the WRONG employees on for too long. Even when you hired really experienced, passionate and logical people from overseas, who's word was highly respected, you ignored the red flags and advice they were HIRED TO OFFER YOU! And of course hiring someone to do your job for you must have hurt when you were strongly advised to do things differently or brace for demise...they eventually resigned and no one blamed them.

Your un-professionalism during year of meetings was absolutely shocking, you were meant to be setting an example to the company and putting everyone at ease. Instead you made snide comments about people, the industry and used more foul language than I could have imagined. Most people came out feeling like a burden, undervalued and resentful of you.
You may run a games company, but sadly (and obviously in this case) that does not mean you know games. If you want to make creative decisions, you shouldn't be an exec, full stop.
End of rant.

Submitted by NathanRunge on Tue, 09/11/10 - 10:29 PM Permalink

I'm sorry... words cannot express how much of an arse he sounds in that article. He seems to have lost all touch with the realities of the situation, and his responsibility for the company.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/11/10 - 11:25 AM Permalink

bingo! He lost track of "the reality of the situation" a while ago. For the last year or so, he only listened to the advice of one person and her advice was terrible. he ignored everyone else. It's annoying to read stories about upper management without naming him. It's him. He ran the place, overruled everyone now matter how good the idea.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/11/10 - 11:26 AM Permalink

He clearly just cared too much guys!!!
That is why he bullied his employees, he just didn't know how to tell them he loved them.

Maybe if he had better understanding of the industry it wouldn't have been such a shock to him, the fact that he acknowledges that he had no funding model or plan in place is the big issue here.

For years teams were asking to be able to work on smaller DLC titles and web ideas between large console projects and were constantly told "no that is not what we do at Krome".
Nothing was ever committed to as far as studio direction.

Sadly by the time Krome started anything it was too late, everything was reactionary and I think that was the biggest downfall, that may have worked back in the day with licensed projects when Krome sold itself as the cheapest and fastest to get an average job done but it did nothing to further the studio.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/11/10 - 1:25 PM Permalink

The person who mentioned the wrong people were retained while talented people were ignored is absolutely correct. Climbing the ladder at Krome was as often to do with being chummy with the right people rather than having anything worthwhile to contribute. I realise this happens EVERYWHERE, but it was particularly bad at krome.

One of the first lead designers they put in place was the most useless person with no talent whatsoever. He retained his position and was put in charge of many projects despite multiple complaints about his incompetence. I won't name names but he was fat, wore glasses and was obsessed with retro games (yet was incapable of actually drawing on what those games did right), I'm sure you can figure out who that is.

Another example, one of the original art guys that had been there for years had his younger brother working as a coder. This guy was literally learning impaired, borderline retarded, and certainly not capable of actually doing any work. He was kept on for years, the kind of work he had to be relegated to may as well have been handed off to one of the petrol sniffers wandering around the valley. I mean, talk about carrying dead weight, just because he was related to someone (who themselves was extremely useless also). What a waste of money, and how frustrating for other employees.

I could go on all day, there were so many useless people there.

If they'd cut the fat and promoted genuinely talented people, the company would have made great games AND would still be around.

Yours Truly,
(removed) (yellow bamboo initiate)

Submitted by souri on Wed, 10/11/10 - 2:33 PM Permalink

Just a reminder - because anyone can sign off pretending to be someone else, and as it happened recently with an anonymous commenter pretending to be Erik S., no one should take you as the person you're signing off as unless you're posting under a registered account confirming your identity and not as an anonymous.

So for that reason, can those responding please refrain from flaming the original poster (and argue the message instead) until he feels the need to confirm himself. I don't really want another case similar to Erik who had nothing to do with an anonymous comment that was signed off as him and got a lot of flack as a result. Thanks.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/11/10 - 2:33 PM Permalink

Seriously, while I might not always see eye to eye with Kyall, he is speaking the truth here, it was a major problem.

Why was it always design positions that were given to incompetent people? Design was always an afterthought at krome yet it was what really kept them from succeeding.

Just before the demise this guy was promoted to a design position on game room who's only qualifications was having worked in a call centre! I don't see how running a team of people cold calling the public and advertising holidays makes you qualified to be a designer. Oh and he was also a REALLY bad "professional" photographer, maybe that counted for something!?!? So why did he have the job? Because he was best mates with another guy who had slept with the HR girl. I mean seriously...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/11/10 - 3:33 PM Permalink

The 'yellow bamboo initiate' sign-off is a pretty obvious flag that this isn't actually Kyall. That was a company in-joke.

That said, the original poster has a point, though pointing individual people out at this stage is nothing more than fruitless venting. Especially in these two examples. I mean, the designer in question was moved several months before the end into a non-design role he was actually extremely well-suited for. And the coder mentioned was gone well before all the redundancies began. Those are some rather old axes to grind.

All I can say about this whole affair is that I hope everyone has learnt some good lessons, and won't repeat the same mistakes again. Not just the higher ups - I hope those of us on the lower rungs have the personal discipline to avoid these pitfalls when we reach the top, too.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/11/10 - 4:21 PM Permalink

Wasn't that designer also responsible for Guardians of Ga'Hoole?

Isn't that pretty much Krome's only "well received" game to date, besides Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and the obvious Ty franchise?

And by well received I mean, liked, but not necessarily reflected in sales :P

If you want to pick on designers, pick on anything that came out of that big back room on Constance St.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/11/10 - 5:26 PM Permalink

... because anyone that actually worked at krome shares the opinion that he was incompetent. If any project he was working on turned out "decent" it was because of the efforts of everyone else who picked up the slack. The projects could have been way better if they put a real designer in there who actually did something.

Seriously, I'm not saying anything that EVERY krome employee, barring the designer in question and his sugar daddy, doesn't agree with.

IGN have a feature up covering the fall of Australia's largest game development studio, Krome Studios. With the contribution of several anonymous ex-Krome employees, the article paints a picture of a company that had so much talent and potential, but squandered its chances on tightly budgeted licensed titles hurried out to meet short development schedules. It meant little time for the polish needed for their games which unfortunately reflected in their metacritic scores, the standard of which many publishers abide by.

The focus of work-for-hire for Krome Studios ensured that it was vulnerable to the global financial crisis and effects of the Aussie dollar reaching parity. And after three major projects were cancelled or put on hold, and with numerous delays on publisher sign offs on further projects, Krome was forced to gradually reduce its staff from a four hundred strong workforce last year to just roughly 40 or so contract employees.

However, for Krome Studios co-founder and CEO, Robert Walsh, they held onto staff as long as they could, much to their detriment. Responding to IGN for the feature...

(Robert Walsh) One of the things that Krome's done over the years is that we've tried to keep staff on as long as possible, when we didn't necessarily have paying work. To be really honest, that's pretty much led to our current position. We probably kept 100, 120 people on, waiting for work to come in...

...we were just carrying too many people for too long, waiting for publishers to make up their minds.

When put forward the common question on whether Krome had concentrated too much on licensed titles and not on original I.P, Robert Walsh argues that it did not suit a large game company like Krome Studios with the hundreds of employees they had...

(Robert Walsh) tell me, what original IP has been successful in the last 12 months? The original IP that's been most successful is Shainiel [Deo] at Halfbrick with his mobile games [like Fruit Ninja], and Rob at Firemint with Flight Control. But you don't need a hundred people to make fruit or flight.

So what now for Krome? Despite what numerous ex-Krome Studios employees have said, Robert denies the Krome is going through any closure. However, the CEO admits that "our business model doesn't work" and that the future for Krome is towards digital and social games, and away from boxed retail product. This means a smaller, tighter number of developers working on smaller games. There is hope to bring in more employees once further contracts are green lighted.

The article ends with a sombre warning by an ex-Krome employee for other local developers to take heed from Krome's mistakes...

"Hopefully other developers can learn [from Krome] how critical it is to always find time to invest in original IP. Chasing the quick buck is a short-sighted goal, regardless of the fluctuation of the Australian dollar. It was foolish to rely on cheap, licensed titles to build the local industry." — Ex-Krome Employee

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One of the common questions raised after the news of Krome Studios' impending closure is what will become of the Game Room arcade. Krome took on the task for Microsoft of creating and updating Game Room, an online arcade space for Xbox 360 and PC with regular releases of downloadable retro games. It offered online multiplayer, cross platform leaderboards, voice chat, the ability to view other player replays, medals and achievements, and was launched on March 24, this year.

The Game Room has met with a rather mixed reaction from gamers who had issues with the service ranging from the delays in game pack releases, the pricing for game packs, and the lack of real arcade hits on offer. Extremely obscure Intellivision and Atari 2600 titles did little to whet the appetites of arcade fans who were promised the chance to "relive the glory days of classic arcade games in their original forms". However, considering that arcade publishers could release their retro games on Xbox Live Arcade for a much higher price than licensing it to Game Room, it could very well be the main reason why Game Room has a considerable lack of big arcade titles on offer.

While Krome Studios has managed to release the latest Game Pack this week (Game Pack 11 which includes one solitary Konami arcade title called Jackal), Denton Arcade Game Examiner is reporting that Krome has already finished Game Pack 12 and 13, which is set to include Sunset Riders, Galaxian, and Double Dragon). They report that the future of Game Room will continue and that Microsoft will be handing over its development to another company.

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