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Bloomberg insight article into studio transition from Star Theory to Intercept Games


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2 hours ago, Brikoleur said:

I suspect there might be more to it than that, there usually is. I really wonder what did go wrong?

We, the potential customers, will never actually know Take-Two's decision process on this. Anyone who worked for TTI at the time or now is certainly bound by non-disclosure agreements to not release any information that isn't vetted by their pubic relations team. And of course, the PR team's job is to make the company look good. They will, of course, conceal any negative information that they aren't legally required to disclose and place the best possible spin on everything else.

The only reason we are hearing about this now is because employees who stayed with Star Theory are no longer bound by NDAs because the company no longer exists to enforce them.

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17 minutes ago, shdwlrd said:

@Poodmund thanks for posting this. Very interesting article.

Everything in the article isn't unprecedented. It happens in all industries. Contracts get pulled or expire. Companies headhunt or poach people who are familiar with the project preramitors.

Its just business. No need to get upset about it.

I think a similar thing happened with Bethesda and the title Prey 2.

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16 minutes ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

I just don't get how micro transactions could even work in this game if they were attempted...

g minus 0.1 m/s2 per USD.

Or stay on Tylo.

16 minutes ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

would they make us pay for fuel O_o?

They can just map your Steam account on the in-game money counter.

Somebody wanted an ironman mode. Here it is.

9 minutes ago, snkiz said:

Regardless of why it happened, it was dirty. This move has destroyed any trust or good will Private division had with This community

This community happily survived when KSP was given to the new developer. Probably, it can do this again.
Especially when ST developers stay same, just under another colors.

P.S.
I'm amused when every tenth employee secretly told what he was secretly offered.
Always believed that all this secrecy is nothing but the tops' corporative game.

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1 minute ago, kerbiloid said:

g minus 0.1 m/s2 per USD.

Or stay on Tylo.

that wouldnt even be fun and that can be modded anyway :P

1 minute ago, kerbiloid said:

Somebody wanted an ironman mode. Here it is.

this has nothing to do with ironman mode (akin to dark souls) this is goldman sachs mode

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4 minutes ago, snkiz said:

Regardless of why it happened, it was dirty. This move has destroyed any trust or good will Private division had with This community and I'd imagine future developers as a whole. I don't blame the devs who jumped ship. They were witnessing their passion project slipping away. And bills still need to be paid. Cozy up to the monster, get paid and get out. Mark my words that is what's going to happen. They already killed Linux support, next it will be epic exclusive, and micro-transactions and everything Nate promised it wouldn't be. I paid squad 4x full price for ksp 1 so I could give to friends and family. Private Division (T2) will be lucky if I pick it up in a humble bundle, assuming they don't ruin it.

I seriously doubt that. As far as T2 publishing the community seemed to be mainly split along to factions:

  • T2 = Evil suits & bean counters. They only bought the game so they can destroy it! Expect micropayments for each launch and part upgrades, and a reduction of physics to a "wing commander" level because otherwise it's "too hard"
  • A company that actually develops professional games for a living is now in control, this should open the way to a bigger, better game as they have the resources to develop a lot from the ground up.

Obviously there are other views but I dare stating that 90% of the forum falls in either one of those, and those camps have such different views that neither side will switch that easy.

Yes, it was a dirty move. But the article seems fairly single-sided (probably because it's hard to get any quotes from T2/PD - people want to keep their jobs), and desperate times call for desperate measures. Keep in mind that the switch from Star Theory to Private Division was the first thing we heard about KSP2 in a long, long time. Don't tell me that development at Star Theory was doing just fine and developing KSP2 at great speed - we should have seen a lot more videos and screenshots.

I'm still optimistic about what KSP will be and what it won't be (micropayments, etc) - simply because in the end T2 is a (rational) business. They've bought a game with a certain culture and you don't do that if you don't intend to stick with it. If they want a glorified Wing Commander, or Civilization In Space, they would have developed that from the ground up, and not buy Squad's game out.

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7 hours ago, Poodmund said:

I think a similar thing happened with Bethesda and the title Prey 2.

It's happened a lot in the gaming industry - and in others, too.

At the turn of the Twentieth Century, two brothers named John and Horace, worked as die-casters for Ford Motor Company. Turns out they made cast iron blocks, flywheels, transmission gears, linkages, and even did steel work for frames for the Model T and Model A Fords. Well, Henry Ford's car company became so big that it needed a new headquarters building. So, in the process of moving to Detroit, Michigan, an entire cargo container of office items was lost (think of the container as being a 4'x4'x6' wooden crate). In that crate were invoices dating for nearly a year of money owed to John and Horace. Because the invoices were lost, Henry Ford refused to pay until the invoices and bills of lading could be found. In 1929 currency, that was $52,650.

The two brothers were pretty mad at Ford and decided to go into business for themselves building cars. They went into five of Ford's plants and "recruited" nearly 150 employees directly from Ford - mechanics, welders, assemblymen, clerks, etc. One year later, Dodge Motor Company was founded.

Not everything in the business world is beholden to a pretty picture, no matter how much the consumer may want it to be that way. :) 

My response on this thread is not in my capacity as a moderator or as an official spokesman for Take-Two or Squad...

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3 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

This community happily survived when KSP was given to the new developer. Probably, it can do this again.

That's because they didn't change the formula and stayed engaged with the community. Can we expect the same from T2? I hope so but I will be shocked if it happens.

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2 minutes ago, snkiz said:

That's because they didn't change the formula and stayed engaged with the community. Can we expect the same from T2? I hope so but I will be shocked if it happens.

And its been 5 months since this happened (december), not much talking to the community so far...

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@Kerbart I don't know, I've walked away from good jobs because the company was unethical. then again I've swallowed my pride and worked for comanies I hate just to pay the bills. If I were a devloper I'd be avoiding anything T2 like the plauge afer seeing this.

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10 minutes ago, snkiz said:

That's because they didn't change the formula and stayed engaged with the community. Can we expect the same from T2?

We got 2-3 short videos and one Q&A interview. So, good news are that public affairs won't get worse.

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1 minute ago, kerbiloid said:

We got 2-3 short videos and one Q&A interview. So, good news are that public affairs won't get worse.

Then again the measuring stick is pretty low -- after a short burst at the beginning we didn't get anything. I still think that's indicative that something was going on (or not going on...) that initiated this move.

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12 minutes ago, Kerbart said:

A company that actually develops professional games for a living is now in control, this should open the way to a bigger, better game as they have the resources to develop a lot from the ground up.

For now I keep this side as before, not because I think T2 is good or anything, just because I see KSP as a longer term plan for Private Division.

A strong IP with a dedicated fanbase that can be sold as "educational software" that had collaboration with NASA (and now ESA) in a time period in which space travel is becoming popular again? It has a PR value higher than the mere money you can take from players with MTXs, it's the kind of IP you parade with at shows and conventions: "You see? Tory Bruno has merchandise for our game in his office, Elon Musk said it's awesome and we had a collaboration with NASA!" or "This game is used in schools for teaching kids actual rocket science".

This game could be part of their plan to stop being seen as the evil overlords of the gaming industry.

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Maybe T2 decided to milk the KSP-1 cow until it gets dry, and postpone KSP-2 to make something bigger years later to avoid a competition.

3 minutes ago, Master39 said:

A strong IP with a dedicated fanbase that can be sold as "educational software" that had collaboration with NASA (and now ESA) in a time period in which space travel is becoming popular again

And KSP-2 can be "the game which lets you drive your own Starship, Artemis, and launch 12 000 relay satellites right on your table".

That's mostly a question of NASA & SpaceX progress, not of KSP.

Edited by kerbiloid
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I am surprised anyone is surprised by this.


The writing was on the wall that something like this happened. All of a sudden there is a new developer, which didn't even have a name, and absolutely zero word from Star Theory at all about the whole thing.

It was very obviously not amicable, as numerous other posters pointed out at the time.

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Btw, now we know that 20 mln copies of KSP were sold.

Now we can compare it to the forum bodycount and realize that most of community doesn't care and even won't know.

Edited by kerbiloid
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Just now, kerbiloid said:

Btw, now we know that 20 mln copies of KSP were sold.

Now we can compare it to the forum bodycount and realize that most of community doesn't care what happens to one of their current games.

It's like this for practically every title, really. By and large, the buyer base does not care. They will buy whatever is flashy at that moment, play for a couple to a few hours if that much, and move on.

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1 hour ago, ShadowZone said:

Somewhere around that time, the Star Theory founders try to sell their studio to T2. [..]

Why would you try to sell your studio to your customer while working on the customer's intellectual property?
[...] to me it sounds a bit like the Star Theory founders wanted to make a quick buck with a management buyout. We also don't know what the terms they wouldn't accept were.

That's an interesting point. If the alternative plan to what happened was acquisition anyway, then it seems the ST founders and T2 agreed that the team would transition to working directly for T2, the only question was how that would be done. And for whatever reason, T2 finally said, forget it, we don't need your (the founders') agreement to do this. Leaving the other employees to decide how loyal they felt to the founders.

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To quickly elaborate on my previous post, this is a cycle that is well known - especially in the tech industry. I'm sure there's a better name for it, or a more succinct way of explaining it.

But basically, you start something small but it's customer-oriented so the customers love it. Your focus is on enjoyment and value for the customer. With this, you make a excrementsload of money. Then you (or someone who buys the product from you) starts to make decisions based on what makes (even more) money - and that kills the product.

This was so clear when Netflix, for example, started to make you go through suggestions and "new titles" and other categories before you could reach your own list. But this has happened to countless services, brands, gaming franchises, apps, you name it. It will happen to KSP, be it in KSP 2 or 3 or whenever it is. By the looks of it, it might well be on 2 already.

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1 hour ago, adsii1970 said:

It's happened a lot in the gaming industry - and in others, too.

At the turn of the Twentieth Century, two brothers named John and Horace, worked as die-casters for Ford Motor Company. Turns out they made cast iron blocks, flywheels, transmission gears, linkages, and even did steel work for frames for the Model T and Model A Fords. Well, Henry Ford's car company became so big that it needed a new headquarters building. So, in the process of moving to Detroit, Michigan, an entire cargo container of office items was lost (think of the container as being a 4'x4'x6' wooden crate). In that crate were invoices dating for nearly a year of money owed to John and Horace. Because the invoices were lost, Henry Ford refused to pay until the invoices and bills of lading could be found. In 1929 currency, that was $52,650.

The two brothers were pretty mad at Ford and decided to go into business for themselves building cars. They went into five of Ford's plants and "recruited" nearly 150 employees directly from Ford - mechanics, welders, assemblymen, clerks, etc. One year later, Dodge Motor Company was founded.

Not everything in the business world is beholden to a pretty picture, no matter how much the consumer may want it to be that way. :) 

Interesting bit of history. Never knew that part of the story of Dodge's founding.

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1 hour ago, HebaruSan said:

That's an interesting point. If the alternative plan to what happened was acquisition anyway, then it seems the ST founders and T2 agreed that the team would transition to working directly for T2, the only question was how that would be done. And for whatever reason, T2 finally said, forget it, we don't need your (the founders') agreement to do this. Leaving the other employees to decide how loyal they felt to the founders.

Exactly. I also looked into the three key people I mentioned earlier. Jeremy Ables is now listed as Studio Manager for Intercept Games, but he was with Star Theory for five years, being CEO for more than two.

If your CEO who was with the company for half of its lifetime immediately jumps ship when a new offer comes in, something is up.

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Don't quite know what to think about this. That the main KSP 2 devs immediately left Star Theory in December, especially Nate Simpson, of whom ShadowZone said "KSP 2 is HIS baby", speaks more to Star Theory being the problem. Could be one of these things that you can never learn enough about to properly judge yourself.

One thing I just thought of.  Why didn't Take 2 put out their story about this already?  Some version of the truth almost always gets out.  This isn't like ULTRA where the thousands involved kept to wartime loyalties and kept quiet for decades despite historians nibbling on the edges.

EDIT: After reflection, especially because Take Two Interactive kept silent, I feel this is a wrong action by TTI who didn't care what happened and went far beyond ethical norms.  This is a good post on that.

 

Edited by Jacke
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Without knowing the whole story I think it's premature to jump to conclusions about bullying corporate practices or whatever.

My buy/no-buy decision still comes down to whether there's micro-transactions or not. If it has that slimy feel of mobile games, I'm out. I've never enjoyed a game that felt like a casino.

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