Gamer Hate

Belligerently lacking in remorse.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

You’re Fired! Losing your job in the game industry…
Part 2

When I first started in the game industry I was working in Quality Assurance. Back in those days, firing was kind of a ridiculous affair. When you were fired you were summoned to the QA manager’s office where you were given your final check and perhaps an exit interview. I never went through this particular process so I’m not 100% sure what went on in there. What I saw was what went on outside.

Your computer was locked out almost the moment you stood up to go to the manager’s office. In the office you’re given your final check and a cardboard box. Then the HR guy would escort you to your desk where you could pack up the junk you’ve collected over however much time you’ve worked there (and at a game company, this can be an epic pile of geeky crap). At this point you’re being walked around the cubicle aisles towards the exit, which we in QA termed “The Walk of Shame(TM).” What was funny about this is that no one would make eye contact or even talk to the person being fired (except maybe me who would say bye if I liked them at all). They would get marched all the way out to the parking lot where the HR guy had to watch them until they drove off the lot.

I’ve heard worse stories about being fired in the game industry. My favorite being the one where the entire company was forced to go on a walk to the coffee shop. It was mandatory so no one was allowed to stay behind and keep working. When they got back, the doors were closed and locked and a note was on the door letting them all know they’d been laid off. I never got to experience anything that fun, but the second game company I worked for had an interesting way of closing up shop.

I had worked there for about 2 years (but for some reason had never gotten a review, which should have been my first clue something was up) and we had finished our game and were just doing some final foreign language testing before moving on to the next title. Unfortunately, the publisher had decided they didn’t like the owner and was screwing us on advertising. That left them in a bit of a pickle cause the game needed to do well for the company to stay afloat. You see, the owner had also burned almost every bridge he had ever come across. I think he was a bit of a pyro in that way…

So I was not terribly surprised when they informed me that I (along with about 1/3rd of the rest of the company) was being laid off. After the previous debacle, there was nothing left in my soul that could feel even a minute bit of sadness over this. So I said, “okay.” I then went over all the problems that their company had over the past year and suggested ways to fix them, as well as trying to course correct the way the owner dealt with publishers (cause, let’s face it, no publisher = no money). The HR guy was shocked that I was taking it so well, but apparently my first firing had hardened my heart into solid granite against just this sort of thing.

They kept me on for another three weeks but wouldn’t let me work on the new project. Since the foreign language stuff was pretty much wrapped up and they wouldn’t let me anywhere near their new IP, I asked if I could “work from home” for the last 2 weeks and they agreed (probably sensing my extreme frustration at not being able to do any real work). If I have to surf the web all day, I’d rather do it from home. =p~

I’d like to say I was surprised when I heard a few weeks later that their new project had been canned and everyone else had been let go (except the core owners of course), but I really wasn’t. The vibe was in the air the entire time after the project had shipped (which went on to get critical acclaim but had no commercial success), and I honestly knew the boot was coming for everyone. Sadly it had been my experience that warning people that their jobs were on the chopping block just makes them hate you with the burning heat of a thousand suns. So I didn’t say anything. The owners of the company packed up their stuff, left everyone behind and moved to the Bay area… To do movies I think.

That was probably the most pleasant end at a company that I’ve had. The next two were pretty rough…

posted by CommanderHate at 12:04 pm  

1 Comment »

  1. No one comments here. You should advertise so I have more to read at work.

    Comment by The Dude — January 30, 2008 @ 11:34 am

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