Redundancies as Ignition Closes London Studio

Will focus on publishing external developers' projects instead.

Posted by Staff
Redundancies as Ignition Closes London Studio
Sad news emerged today that Blacklight: Tango Down publisher Ignition Entertainment is to close its Ealing-based London studio on the 31st October.

An undisclosed number of development staff is said to be laid off with the closure, and work on internal projects Wardevil and Project Kane has ceased. Ignition's Group Chairman Hassan Sadiq said that these games have already passed proof of concept stage, however, and could be completed via outsourcing.

The company's London headquarters will remain, but instead of owning studios intends to work with external developers and expand its role as a publisher.

"Throughout the last year Ignition has gone through a number of changes, including bringing in a strong new management team with a core focus of working with the world's best external developers to bring AAA content to emerging downloadable platforms," Sadiq said.

"Development is ramping up at Ignition's free-to-play studios based in Austin and Beijing, as well as at internal console development studios in Florida and Tokyo. These combined with a number of new publishing acquisitions for release in calendar 2011 will ensure we meet the challenge of transforming into a next-generation publishing powerhouse head on."

SPOnG offers its best wishes to those that are to be affected by the studio's closure.

Source: GI


Showing the 20 most recent comments. Read all 38.
uproar 10 Nov 2010 07:29
This Just Keeps Getting Better
I used to work and Exigent 11 Nov 2010 12:07
I used to work and Exigent and believe you me, it a use-and-throw studio. Steed replaces artists like a kid wanting new toys and throwing away old ones. The whole staff gets recycled once in about every two years. He is like a machine gun always firing people.
He is a real expert at bluffing, and you'd actually believe him. He told people at Exigent that he knew James Cameron and they'd be working soon on a sequel to Avatar. Thats laughable, considering we've never worked on movies, and only on games.

Sorry to hear about the people at Ignition, people hate Steed no less in Exigent either.
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Ex Employee 11 Nov 2010 15:36
Wow I am happy to see the STEED going down...ohh it feels nice. I hope all of the employees I worked with will go out and have great success!
one word we can take away from this....

Godfrey 11 Nov 2010 19:50
Actually it was a mix of Concept, Cinematics, Animation and 3D Art that saved the studio during 2008... not just concepts.
another ex-employee 11 Nov 2010 21:56
ex-employee wrote:
The game doesnt look anything like the videos or concept being posted. All that stuff is seriously old. The videos are ridiculous most of it could never have run on any console.

I have it on good authority that those videos are all actual in-game footage.

Ignition artist 12 Nov 2010 05:29
Hey Godfrey,

There were two major presentations If I remember while we were there, one was in May of 2008, There was no new 3d art based on the art-style at that time and the cinematic had some issues, and right from the source, Vijay Chadha and UTv approved extra funds based on the progression of the art style and the concept art but as always the tech and physics was always strong. This was the 2nd art reboot. Now there was another major presentation to the Ignition heads and UtVs ceo Ronnie in September of 2008 I think which did have concept art, game play, 3d art and the the Reich soldiers vs the Psi freak cut scene thats been posted etc so you might have been refering to that. Anyway it all doesn't matter now, but from the reactions of the masses who have seen the Vids posted of all iterations of the game it seems people would have wanted to buy it, regardless of what it looked like. It's extremely hard to do a triple AAA game with good story, great game play and graphics, it takes the right combo of talent and good leadership to do it and money. I think everyone on the team really believed this would be something special. As I recall out of the 3 original IPs Ignition was devleoping El Shaddai, WarDevil and Reich, Reich was always considered by Ignition Corporate as the sure bet as the tech and physics was so well established and functional on the xbox, Cudos to Jeremy and the programmers for pushing the UnREAL engine.
KN 13 Nov 2010 22:32
Exigent is right across the street from my house. when exigent started few of my friends were hired as artist there. i had beaten my self up about missing the opportunity as i only came to know about it once the hiring had stopped.

Now the state they are in is bad. There is nothing good to hear about this studio. people crib about their sompanies all the time but this one is different. my firends have seen many ppl fired just cause they were about to leave for home after office hours.

the situation is bad. i am not surprised that the game was scrapped. anything to do with exigent seems to go down the drain
KN 13 Nov 2010 22:33
Exigent is right across the street from my house. when exigent started few of my friends were hired as artist there. i had beaten my self up about missing the opportunity as i only came to know about it once the hiring had stopped.

Now the state they are in is bad. There is nothing good to hear about this studio. people crib about their companies all the time but this one is different. my firends have seen many ppl fired just cause they were about to leave for home after office hours.

the situation is bad. i am not surprised that the game was scrapped. anything to do with exigent seems to go down the drain
the emperor 20 Nov 2010 15:38
There is news that UTV Ignition Entertainment is also closing down the California office which will result in staff having to relocate to Texas which will be the main US base. The company is going under and I will not be surprised if within the next six months UTV pull the plug on Ignition Entertainment as UTV are seeing their money wasted by incompetent management.
kaz 25 Nov 2010 22:19
Staff also have to take wage cuts or lose their jobs
whistleblower 27 Nov 2010 01:30
I was there when UTV tried to bring back Steed again in May and everyone was leaving or talking about leaving. It was around that time Vijay the CEO of Ignition seemed to disappear from the picture. Both him and his brother who headed up US publishing didnt show up at E3. Then I heard Ajay got fired. Vijay went off sick at exactly the same time and has not been seen since. But its pretty obvious something happened there. Especially as just around then Ignition hired new managers in London. A coincidence?! But there has never been any formal announcement or anything about a change of CEO or him leaving or anything.

They came over around same time and fired Kidd, just before E3. And we had been hearing through our grapevine Paul Steed was coming back and was in town. He was telling people on the team he was coming back and people started leaving or talking about leaving in droves. But instead of Steed coming back they promoted up Scot Kramarich to head the team instead. I heard that the new managers from Ignition actually threatened to quit themselves if UTV brought Steed back. So they were alright in my book for doing that. I always got the impression the guys in London were battling with their UTV bosses actually to get the funds to Florida to pay people. It was always some dude called Prickesh in India that the buck seemed to stop at when I was trying to get my contractor fees through.

One of the guys from London told me the Ignition marketing team had categorically rejected Steeds game concept as unsellable. So it seems some people in Ignition did know what they were doing. But sadly not the ones calling the shots. You really got to ask what kind of idiots would rehire a guy after he abuses staff and swindles money out of the company into his own pocket ?

I also heard that this new guy Lujan let the publishing team in California know they are losing their jobs by email. That was the guy that came in and closed us with armed security. However naive the decisions that the original CEO Vijay was, we didnt get treated like that under him.

So I want to say Kudos everyone like me that stuck this out til now. Kudos to everyone that either left,were fired, abused, sexually harassed or bullied by Steed during their time on Reich. Kudos to those that threatened to leave in May to prevent his return then at risk of being sacked. That took guts.
X employee 29 Nov 2010 19:57
It seems thing went down hill when Steed was hired is that the general concensus from most of the ignition FL employees? I left not long after Steed was hired. I remember when JP and Jeremy were running the show not many people were fired and at least there seem to be progress. Don't get me wrong it was by far a perfect but it seem to have been moving along. I feel if we would have stuck with the original direction and see it through and have completed the game much of this could have been avoided. The problem is, firing and then re-hiring and then going in a new direction is not only time consuming but a waste of money.
I mean game play wise their were some great concepts that were created like the Statue-mech the Psi-freak, the Reich dog. I heard Steed trashed all the hard work that had been done and started over. Looking at the pre-steed artwork , it seems it had more continuity. What Steed provided seemed generic something you could see in a poor-mans version of Bio-Shock or fall out with no true vision.
Hopefully game developers will stay away from the likes of Steed, a truly unqualified corrupted individual.
kalvindale 30 Nov 2010 09:11
[3 Dec 2010, 09:53: Message edited by 'config' - spam message removed]
kalvindale 30 Nov 2010 09:12
[3 Dec 2010, 09:53: Message edited by 'config' - spam message removed]
Irritated 3 Dec 2010 06:15
Lujan arranged closing the studio in two waves because if a company closes a facility or lays off ore than 50 people in one 30 day period, that company is required to pay 60 days salary and benefits. Its a federal law called the WARN Act.

Lujan the scumbag laid off less than 50 people in the first wave and had people sign waivers to sue - all for 26 days of pay and benefits. Then 10 days later closed the studio giving everyone else an ultimatum to move to Austin or 'resign'. In the month of november, at least 60 employees were terminated and the studio was closed. Every single one of those employees should have been given 60 days pay and benefits.

It was all carefully calculated to avoid federal law. I hope they get their asses sued into the ground. All of these ex ignition employees need a good lawyer to bring a class action lawsuit against Lujan and the rest of the management who screwed families before the holidays.
Irritated 3 Dec 2010 06:28
You had a heavy hand in orchestrating this catastrophe and you should stfu. Hope you have a hard time sleeping at night with the lives you helped throw into chaos. No one is as stupid as you think they are. You completely undermined the game to put your own lame interests ahead of getting the game completed. And everyone knows it. So don't pat yourself of the back you f**king loser. the multiplayer will be total s**t and everyone knows it.
Irritated 3 Dec 2010 06:30
That second post was a response to Anonymous EG.
no no 11 Dec 2010 14:18
Further redundancies have being made on the publishing side and soon I do not think there will be a company as India want to cut off Ignition Entertainment from it's books. All those people who have being made redundant are much better off. The management are selfish to the core.
papi 17 Dec 2010 11:42
more redundancies are on the way and one of them is one of the head honcho's justin keeling
Attorney 22 Jan 2011 03:20
I'm helping a company that's in litigation against Ignition and would be interested to hear what people who worked for Ignition have to say. Anyone interested, please respond.
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