By M.H. Williams
Late last month, THQ laid off more than 30 employees at two of its subsidiaries, Kaos Studios and Volition. In an interview with GameSpot, THQ vice president of core games Danny Bilson defended these layoffs, noting they were part of the natural ebb and flow of development.
“At a certain point as you come out from the lifetime of a product, there are people that aren’t needed for another year or year and a half until you’re up to the full ramp-up. So these aren’t punitive measures; they’re normal cycling of game teams,” said Bilson when asked about the 16 employees let go out of Kaos’ roster. “If you said they shipped Red Faction and 120 guys were laid off, then we’d have something to talk about.”
“As you move through cycles, you go preproduction, production, postproduction. You need everybody in production, very few in preproduction, and very few in postproduction. So it creates a whole roll-off system of having stuff to work on. And in a one-game studio like Kaos, there’s not work for 100 people right now. That’s kind of how that works. It’s pretty normal,” he continued.
“Do I want to lay anybody off? No, never. Are you kidding? No. But out of necessity, sometimes through movement and lack of work, it just happens.”
Bilson, who has also worked in film and television, explained that there were certain benefits to the current industry development model.
“Well in the film business, everybody says good-bye at the end of the movie and then they go work on something else. I wish we had enough work to go around and keep everybody employed all the time, but sometimes it’s just business,” he added.