In the movies, when the local arcade is in danger of shutting down, the community stages a rally or video game tournament that gets everyone excited about about hanging out in front of Vector-based monitors and sit-down cabinets. Thanks to the community, the old arcade can stay in business forever.
But no community rally will save the Game Room arcade. Australian Game Development site Tsumea reports they've received "credible reports" that Game Room developer Krome Studios—not a year ago the largest development house in Australia—is in the process of laying off its remaining staff, after which the studio will be shut down. While there hasn't technically been official word from the studio confirming its closure, an outpouring of Twitter reports from now-former employees of Krome, as well as corroborating comments in the story itself seems to tell the tale for the press release.
== TEASER ==Krome--which only recently released Blade Kitten on XBLA and PSN--has already laid off more than 210 of its nearly 400 employees in the past year, shutting studios in Melbourne and Adelaide. Early word from reports, Tsumea says, is that some of those employees will be hired back as contractors in order to finish Krome’s remaining projects before the studio finally ceases to be. There's been no word as to how this will impact the company's increasingly marginalized set of Game Room releases.
Krome's potential shuttering comes after an eleven year journey that saw them become the biggest developer on the continent. Its 3D platformer, Ty The Tasmanian Tiger, is still well regarded as a solid entry in the genre. Following their PS2 releases, Krome became involved with major American publishers such as Activision and LucasArts, releasing games in both the Transformers and Star Wars: The Clone Wars franchises. Along the way, they acquired other prominent Australian developers such as Ratbag and Melbourne House. In a very short span of time, Krome became Australia’s largest game development house.
But, if the layoffs and the success of their projects are any indication, Krome became an entity that was simply too big to support. Efforts to try and reign in the company appear to have been too little, too late to save the studio.
Here’s to hoping the folks at Krome land on their feet. I’d tell you to go play Crystal Castles in Game Room to remember the good times, but that’s not that's not the right way to play that game (no trackball). You could try to remember Game Room for what it was meant to be, instead of what it was, but you really shouldn’t be playing those Dreamcast games on XBLA.