Giant Bomb News

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Vogster Entertainment Makes Substantial Staff Cuts

Substantial job cuts hit Vogster, but the company's NJ-based headquarters claims it's still all about CrimeCraft.


CrimeCraft hasn't even been on shelves for a full month yet. 
Well, let's mark this as a rumor for now, but I've heard from a couple of different places that Vogster Entertainment--the company behind games like CrimeCraft, Robocalypse, and Unbound Saga--closed the doors at all three of its studios yesterday.

Since then, a couple of Vogster employees from the Ukraine office have updated their social networking profiles to imply that they're looking for work. A few calls to the company's New Jersey and Chicago locations have gone unanswered. I'm waiting to hear back from the company's external PR representative to see if there's any official word on the matter, but at this point, it seems likely that the publisher is no more.
 
[UPDATE] Apparently there's still life at Vogster! Responding to a link to this story, a community manager for CrimeCraft has posted the following: 

Hey guys, CrimeCraft is still here and so are we! There have been some changes, but it's nothing that will effect CrimeCraft except to give us a chance to make it better.    

So it looks like CrimeCraft will continue onward and there's still something going on in the New Jersey office, where the manager that posted this message is based. 
 
[UPDATE 2] It looks like the rumors were only partially correct. Sorry for the winding path this story has taken over the course of the day. At this point, it sounds like the Chicago studio is closed and there have been substantial cuts elsewhere, but the company is keeping its New Jersey-based HQ open and focused on CrimeCraft. The company has issued the following press release:

Vogster Entertainment Announces Resource Reallocation
 
NEW YORK, NY, September 17, 2009 – Vogster Entertainment, LLC, an international innovator in video game design, today announced a restructuring to focus its resources toward the enhancement and expansion of content for their recently launched CrimeCraft shooter-MMO hybrid. With two titles completed in the last three months, the company has made significant staffing changes as it transitions from launch team to live team in the ongoing support of CrimeCraft. Vogster’s New York-area headquarters remains fully operational and committed to the development and production of existing and future titles.
 
“Vogster has seen a number of releases this year. As an independent developer, we need to be very strategic in our use of available resources and shift from already launched titles to support the ongoing development and growth of CrimeCraft,” stated Daniel Prousline, vice president of development at Vogster. “We regret the necessary staffing changes and the talented employees that this impacts, but it is an unavoidable step in moving to the operational stage of CrimeCraft and optimizing for the development of yet to be announced titles.”
 
CrimeCraft will see a number of significant content additions in the coming year, in addition to a series of soon to be revealed updates and major announcements which will take place at an upcoming San Francisco press event.

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
47 Comments
Posted by Jeff

CrimeCraft hasn't even been on shelves for a full month yet. 
Well, let's mark this as a rumor for now, but I've heard from a couple of different places that Vogster Entertainment--the company behind games like CrimeCraft, Robocalypse, and Unbound Saga--closed the doors at all three of its studios yesterday.

Since then, a couple of Vogster employees from the Ukraine office have updated their social networking profiles to imply that they're looking for work. A few calls to the company's New Jersey and Chicago locations have gone unanswered. I'm waiting to hear back from the company's external PR representative to see if there's any official word on the matter, but at this point, it seems likely that the publisher is no more.
 
[UPDATE] Apparently there's still life at Vogster! Responding to a link to this story, a community manager for CrimeCraft has posted the following: 

Hey guys, CrimeCraft is still here and so are we! There have been some changes, but it's nothing that will effect CrimeCraft except to give us a chance to make it better.    

So it looks like CrimeCraft will continue onward and there's still something going on in the New Jersey office, where the manager that posted this message is based. 
 
[UPDATE 2] It looks like the rumors were only partially correct. Sorry for the winding path this story has taken over the course of the day. At this point, it sounds like the Chicago studio is closed and there have been substantial cuts elsewhere, but the company is keeping its New Jersey-based HQ open and focused on CrimeCraft. The company has issued the following press release:

Vogster Entertainment Announces Resource Reallocation
 
NEW YORK, NY, September 17, 2009 – Vogster Entertainment, LLC, an international innovator in video game design, today announced a restructuring to focus its resources toward the enhancement and expansion of content for their recently launched CrimeCraft shooter-MMO hybrid. With two titles completed in the last three months, the company has made significant staffing changes as it transitions from launch team to live team in the ongoing support of CrimeCraft. Vogster’s New York-area headquarters remains fully operational and committed to the development and production of existing and future titles.
 
“Vogster has seen a number of releases this year. As an independent developer, we need to be very strategic in our use of available resources and shift from already launched titles to support the ongoing development and growth of CrimeCraft,” stated Daniel Prousline, vice president of development at Vogster. “We regret the necessary staffing changes and the talented employees that this impacts, but it is an unavoidable step in moving to the operational stage of CrimeCraft and optimizing for the development of yet to be announced titles.”
 
CrimeCraft will see a number of significant content additions in the coming year, in addition to a series of soon to be revealed updates and major announcements which will take place at an upcoming San Francisco press event.

Staff
Posted by Scooper

Don't put out ass games and you won't close.

Edited by DJJoeJoe

Aw dude, did Crimecraft not work out for them? lawl? 
 
EDIT:  Robocalypse,  Robocalypse,  Robocalypse,  Robocalypse,  Robocalypse,  Robocalypse,  Robocalypse,  Robocalypse!

Edited by EgoCheck616
@DJJoeJoe: Yea, people losing their jobs is really funny. Or did you forget how Giant Bomb got started? 
With that said, I wish them the best of luck. I'm sure they'll find a new home in a matter of time.
Posted by Not_Rage

Crimecraft was a flop. Right now their's around 100 people on at a time, and everyone is this still on their free 2 months.
 
I can't wait for the endurance run.

Posted by DJJoeJoe
@EgoCheck616 said:
" @DJJoeJoe: Yea, people losing their jobs is really funny. Or did you forget how Giant Bomb got started? "
Jeff didn't make terrible games.
Posted by spiceninja

Make bad games that no one wants to play and this is what happens.

Posted by mordukai

I never heard of said company or their games. 

Posted by EgoCheck616
@DJJoeJoe said:
" @EgoCheck616 said:
" @DJJoeJoe: Yea, people losing their jobs is really funny. Or did you forget how Giant Bomb got started? "
Jeff didn't make terrible games. "
That doesn't matter. The fact that you're laughing about the misfortune of others makes you nothing more than a cynical a**hole. 
Posted by AndrewB

Welp, from the quicklook for CrimeCraft, I'm not surprised. Seems like a pretty quick decision to close, though. Crimecraft only came out, like, 3 weeks ago. Obviously, it didn't meet someone's immediate expectations.

Posted by NMC2008
@EgoCheck616: 
You seem like one of those people who thinks everyone deserves a trophy, even if they fail, are you one of those people?
If you fail then you fail, people think failure is funny sometimes, is it funny that people lost their jobs? Maybe not, but the fail they produced to allow them to lose their jobs sure is, same deal when GRIN closed, I laughed at GRIN because they made really stupid choices when making their games(mediocre 4 hour game? Radioactive fog? a game based on an unpopular movie? LOL!), so just because you have a heart of gold doesn't mean everyone else does, so don't come down on folks who don't, it makes you look kinda ...... you know.
 
All I am trying to say is, if you make stupid decisions on a consistent basis and fail then it's sad with the potential to be funny, it depends on the situation, I can't say that I personally laughed at failure of companies but I can say, while playing Bionic Commando no less, that I was glad GRIN was gone because they were fucking retarded for the radioactive shit, it broke the game, anyway, that's all.
Posted by DJJoeJoe
@EgoCheck616 said:
That doesn't matter. The fact that you're laughing about the misfortune of others makes you nothing more than a cynical a**hole.  "
My apologizes for my detachment towards this company, I'll be more responsible and cheerful from now on.
Posted by ryanwho

I was wondering how Unbound Saga did.
Notsogood I guess.

Posted by Symphony
@EgoCheck616 said:
" @DJJoeJoe said:
" @EgoCheck616 said:
" @DJJoeJoe: Yea, people losing their jobs is really funny. Or did you forget how Giant Bomb got started? "
Jeff didn't make terrible games. "
That doesn't matter. The fact that you're laughing about the misfortune of others makes you nothing more than a cynical a**hole.  "
There's a word for that -- it's called "schadenfreude" and it's human nature. I suppose most of us are cynical assholes in that regard.
Posted by ValkyrieGoddess
@Symphony said:
" @EgoCheck616 said:
" @DJJoeJoe said:
" @EgoCheck616 said:
" @DJJoeJoe: Yea, people losing their jobs is really funny. Or did you forget how Giant Bomb got started? "
Jeff didn't make terrible games. "
That doesn't matter. The fact that you're laughing about the misfortune of others makes you nothing more than a cynical a**hole.  "
There's a word for that -- it's called "schadenfreude" and it's human nature. I suppose most of us are cynical assholes in that regard. "
Some one must have seen Alan Shore's speech on Boston Legal.
Anyway it's a sad day when more hard working people lose there jobs.
Posted by Symphony
@ValkyrieGoddess: No, I can honestly say I've never even watched that show. But you're absolutely right -- it is a sad day when people lose their jobs and I wish them all success in their future endeavors.
Posted by DJJoeJoe
@Not_Rage said:
" ...I can't wait for the endurance run. "
Dude you ain't kiddin'
Posted by MattQ

ITT: Douchebags laugh at others misfortune.

Posted by Seedofpower

Another one bites the dust......

Posted by bigsexy

Taken from the Crimecraft forums;

http://www.crimecraft.com/forums/General/topics/Vogster-Entertainment-shuts-down

 
Hey guys, CrimeCraft is still here and so are we! There have been some changes, but it's nothing that will effect CrimeCraft except to give us a chance to make it better.

--KevinB

 
Sounds like a restructure
Posted by TheManiacsGnome

I really hope the people that make up Vogster good fortune in future endeavors but lets not Candy coat this: Crimecraft was NOT a good game. It deserved to flop and rightfully so it has, APB will do the concept better anyways.

Posted by EgoCheck616
@NMC2008 said:
" @EgoCheck616:  You seem like one of those people who thinks everyone deserves a trophy, even if they fail, are you one of those people? If you fail then you fail, people think failure is funny sometimes, is it funny that people lost their jobs? Maybe not, but the fail they produced to allow them to lose their jobs sure is, same deal when GRIN closed, I laughed at GRIN because they made really stupid choices when making their games(mediocre 4 hour game? Radioactive fog? a game based on an unpopular movie? LOL!), so just because you have a heart of gold doesn't mean everyone else does, so don't come down on folks who don't, it makes you look kinda ...... you know.  All I am trying to say is, if you make stupid decisions on a consistent basis and fail then it's sad with the potential to be funny, it depends on the situation, I can't say that I personally laughed at failure of companies but I can say, while playing Bionic Commando no less, that I was glad GRIN was gone because they were fucking retarded for the radioactive shit, it broke the game, anyway, that's all. "
You seem to be forgetting that GRIN also made Bionic Commando: Rearmed. Arguably one of the best PSN/XBLA games released at it's time. 
I think if you're going to be half-assed about your work you deserve no sympathy, but who are we to say that these people didn't work hard? 
For all we know this could just be a blend of unfortunate mistakes leading into a bad game.
Posted by Death_Burnout

Crimecraft will continue?
 
Lame!

Posted by Azteris
@NMC2008 said:
" @EgoCheck616:  You seem like one of those people who thinks everyone deserves a trophy, even if they fail, are you one of those people? If you fail then you fail, people think failure is funny sometimes, is it funny that people lost their jobs? Maybe not, but the fail they produced to allow them to lose their jobs sure is, same deal when GRIN closed, I laughed at GRIN because they made really stupid choices when making their games(mediocre 4 hour game? Radioactive fog? a game based on an unpopular movie? LOL!), so just because you have a heart of gold doesn't mean everyone else does, so don't come down on folks who don't, it makes you look kinda ...... you know.  All I am trying to say is, if you make stupid decisions on a consistent basis and fail then it's sad with the potential to be funny, it depends on the situation, I can't say that I personally laughed at failure of companies but I can say, while playing Bionic Commando no less, that I was glad GRIN was gone because they were fucking retarded for the radioactive shit, it broke the game, anyway, that's all. "
It's perfectly fine to say a game sucks. To hope, or be glad that, people lose their jobs for it is ridiculous.
Posted by JoeOE18

Thank goodness CrimeCraft is ok.

Posted by NMC2008
@EgoCheck616: 
No, I didn't forget about BCR, that was indeed a fantastic game, hell, I think Bionic Commando was fantastic except that one stupid decision they made on it, why not have invisible walls or something normal? To be killed for swinging around is probably the stupidest idea of this generation, I have not personally encountered an idea that reeks of stupidity like this, it ruined a fantastic game, and the weird part is it seemed like it could be patched out, at least dying from it, it just boggles my mind to think that a team of smart devs said "Hey, let's kill the player for exploring beyond the dotted line", there are no words to describe that., but like I said, that was the only time I said that about them and I didn't really mean it, but the sad part about it is that I really did like BC but that flaw pretty much destroys the game for me, and it's not that I can't stay inside the area but it's just lame to be killed for a misplaced swing is just downright evil on their part.
 
Aw man.
Posted by NMC2008
@Azteris: 
I agree, no ifs ands or buts about it, it's a bad situation and shouldn't be laughed at, BUT!! BUT!! If people do not have a problem with people who find it funny for some reason, but when you make nothing but sub-par to bad games one after another, some will laugh at them not being good at their job, it's gonna happen, hell, I used to laugh at Shaq for sucking at free throws but only for a short time and I dunno how he is doing at them now but at least he brings something to the basket, I really dunno the past of this company but if they didn't have any good games under their belt then......... I dunno, people are going to laugh at em, like laughing at a fat kid holding 5 lunch trays, it's not funny but it is.
 
I personally don't think this situation is funny though, but that's me.
Posted by addictedtopinescent
@Scooper said:
" Don't put out ass games and you won't close. "
wisdom
Posted by Zabant

" @Symphony said:
" @EgoCheck616 said:
" @DJJoeJoe said:
" @EgoCheck616 said:
" @DJJoeJoe: Yea, people losing their jobs is really funny. Or did you forget how Giant Bomb got started? "
Jeff didn't make terrible games. "
That doesn't matter. The fact that you're laughing about the misfortune of others makes you nothing more than a cynical a**hole.  "
There's a word for that -- it's called "schadenfreude" and it's human nature. I suppose most of us are cynical assholes in that regard. "
Some one must have seen Alan Shore's speech on Boston Legal. Anyway it's a sad day when more hard working people lose there jobs. "
They were not working hard enough it seems
Posted by Shadow

i don't see why they would close down Crimecraft.  It's essentially a collection of lobby servers that people pay a monthly fee to access, right?  That's not all that expensive, and even when that studio was opened, I would have been extremely surprised if they continued to support that game with any significant new content
Posted by Jayzilla

so a dude with computer access says, "we're still here and everything is hunky dory?"

Posted by SoothsayerGB

Good riddance.  Their only purpose as a company was to exploit the wants and desires of gamers and the electronic entertainment industry for profit. 
 
The only downside, would be the innocent individuals involved with them.  Who were just in it for a decent job, who in return lost their financial stability.  Also, by decent job, I mean the Janitors and the secretaries.  Since everyone and anyone involved in creating/releasing Crimecraft is a scam artist in my eyes. 
 
Glad to see gamers not funding their deceitful ways.

Posted by MeatSim

Well none these games seem like their selling, so it would be no surprise if they did shut down.

Edited by Orbi
@SoothsayerGB said:

" Good riddance.  Their only purpose as a company was to exploit the wants and desires of gamers and the electronic entertainment industry for profit."  

Er, that's what a company is supposed to do. Except these guys failed at that part.
Posted by JeffGoldblum
@Zabant said:
" They were not working hard enough it seems "
Working hard and making a good game are two completely different things.
CrimeCraft failed on a concept level. Im sure there were a ton of programmers working on that game that had no input on what kind of game it was. All Im saying is the guy who worked his ass off on the character models or the signs or the gun models had no say in what the game would actually play like.
Posted by kwyee

I feel for the developers... imagine rushing and slaving away at a game, and then getting canned 3 weeks after its release.  That's a harsh penalty and I hope the near future turns out better for them. 
 
That said, I never played any of Vogster's games, so I don't feel any personal sadness.

Posted by Ravenlock

However bad Crimecraft may be, Robacalypse was an entertaining little title. I hope the guys who made that land on their feet, if they were among the ones let go.

Posted by nobody32

The Jersey office is home to the owner, the IT guy and Daniel Prousline. Everyone else lost their jobs. We're talking 150 people worldwide. No one got severance, no one got pay, just a kick in the ass and goodbye. The press release is as honest as Crimecraft is a good game.

Posted by burningeffigy

vogster's marketing dept is a complete joke.  whomever heads up that debacle should be canned for incompetance.  this studio had other projects that were getting much better reviews and they close down those studios for crimecraft?? who's at the helm over there.. the wind?  BTW linkedin.com shows a ton of people from kiev being let go.  Even if we were to believe that they're restructuring to support crimecraft, if they're closing their dev studio entirely, then who's coding patches & expansions?  no one thats who. 

Posted by BadNews

Sounds like some people made some bad decisions.

Edited by vhold

I'm guessing somebody thought they were a genius "GTA ... and World of Warcraft !! Omg!" and then proceeded to try to make that game with 1/10,000th of the budget those two games were made with in 1/10th the time and then were shocked and appalled when it didn't turn out the way they imagined it.

Posted by TheHBK

Wow bastaersds!  First they make the game then fire everyone that made it so they can just keep the minumum to run it?  it should have shut down after making crimecraft.  Making that game was a felony!
Posted by Gin
@TheHBK: 
 
 
Too true.  They fired them to lighten the budget and reap the profits in bigger amounts than giving paychecks and christmas bonuses....
Posted by Media_Master

ok

Posted by Elvisbazoo

You guys play games and do not have no any idea how difficult it is to make one. 
When you relase your game I will review it.

Posted by RiotBananas
@DJJoeJoe said:
" @EgoCheck616 said:
" @DJJoeJoe: Yea, people losing their jobs is really funny. Or did you forget how Giant Bomb got started? "
Jeff didn't make terrible games. "
No he told a company their game was terrible (which it was)
 
He was doing his job, just like these guys do. They don't know it sucks.
Posted by Jerusahat
@Elvisbazoo said:
" You guys play games and do not have no any idea how difficult it is to make one.  When you relase your game I will review it. "
 
The difficulty of making games becomes irrelevent when you expect customers to buy your game, pay a monthly subscription and buy further things via microtransactions.
 
That automatically puts you deep into the big-boy league, where we start comparing you to established shooters like CoD, and MMOs like Warcraft. Or more topically, APB, which has a similar theme, but a more creative direction and less greedy revenue stream.