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


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14 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

On the other hand game media has an very bad reputation for trying to create drama for clicks. An more plausible theory here is that Star theory was very unprepared for the development, they assumed it to be an magnitude easier than it was. Think average forum member, falcon heavy moon landing program idea :)  so kind of developer hell. They found they needed way more money also time because of the virus, Take-Two pulled the plug. Not saying Take-Two is the good guys but they had reasons. Probably also was cooperate disagreements. 
Now the main issue I see is modablility getting hurt, on the other hand that is that made KSP an classic game so damaging it would hurt sales. 

The game media doesn't have to create drama if it's being generated.  How they portray it in their articles is another matter.

How well Star Theory was handling the work is complete speculation.

And the key events mostly took place when COVID-19 was significant only in China.  The later pandemic ensured the impact on Star Theory was fatal, but it could have been fatal without it.

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Meh. Developers got poached, so not an issue for them. Players will still get their game (whatever becomes of it). Boycotts don't work and will never work because for every person refusing to buy there will be tens of those who don't care.

What's waaaay more interesting in this situation for me is this: after what has happened, who in their right mind would ever agree to partner in any way with Private Division, knowing that at any point they can go all Darth Vader on you?

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5 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

Who needs a KSP2?

There was this game Operation Flashpoint that was an unexpected hit from a small devloper, which was partnered with the Publisher codemasters. Things between the two went south, Codemasters had the rights to the name "Operation Flashpoint" they made a sequel, but the franchise is dead... I don't care.

The small developer made a "spiritual successor", named Armed Assault (Aka, Arma), and the Arma franchise continues to this day.

If TTI is unethical, and if there is a boycott that works, all that happens is the name KSP dies out. The market for such a game does not die out. The Simple Rockets devs could fill the void. Former Squad and Star theory (the non-poached ones) employees, prominent modders, could collaborate on a new spiritual successor, taking... I don't know a mod name as the new franchise name: "Beyond Home" or something.

The message it would send is that there is a market for space similation games, but that particular customer base cares more about ethics than sports franchise fans... or whatever.

A boycott only fails to achieve results if the customers collectively make it fail.

 

That said, I'm still open to hearing TTI's side of this, and I'd rather not wait for a "spiritual successor".

Couldn't have said better myself. 

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29 minutes ago, J.Random said:

Who in their right mind would ever agree to partner in any way with Private Division, knowing that at any point they can go all Darth Vader on you?

There is a dollar amount for everything.

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I think @ShadowZone has created a very important, balanced and rational video commentary about this.  We would all do well to take a look and listen, especially his reflections at 17:50 on journalism and how our own biases affect our interpretation of events.

Thanks to @nikokespprfan for bringing this video to my attention and posting a heap of content in the KSP2 Video and Interview Thread.

 

 

 

Edited by Klapaucius
Added another point about bias and added credit.
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1 hour ago, Klapaucius said:

I think @ShadowZone has created a very important, balanced and rational video commentary about this.  We would all do well to take a look and listen, especially his reflections at 17:50 on journalism. 

 

 

His reflections on journalism is what I was saying about posting other YouTubers videos (the ones removed by mods for obscenities), the original article is biased enough as it is, no need to bring web personalities who's whole career is riding the last controversy without doing much research.

 

Well done @ShadowZone

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21 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

In this specific case, the goodwill gestures was negotiating for a new contract and the purchase of Star Theory. From what I can see is that TTI/PD tried to come to an amicable agreement with Star Theory. It just didn't work out for reasons we aren't privileged to. So TTI/PD did what they had to make sure their previous investment wasn't wasted and to reduce the loss of momentum for the development cycle.

After looking through my posts again today, I realized that you ignored my remark about TTI acting in good faith. What's your opinion on this?

17 hours ago, Jacke said:

Look up Yong Yea's video on this matter.  There is legitimate information there.

At the 11-minute mark, Yong Yea goes on to talking about the similar case of how Slightly Mad Studios almost had the exact same thing done to them by EA (based upon his 2nd source he links).  Here we get the view from the smaller studio.  There, the CEO was cautious and had set things up careful.  EA has insisted on an exclusive contract.  Just before new work under that contract was about to begin, EA cancelled the contract and contacted several team members directly trying to poach them.  It turned out differently because of taking precautions and he successfully scrambled to get more funding and work over the next few months.

What EA did was very blatant, wrong, and in line with what they've done in the past.  What TTI did appears to be similar from what we know.  If it wasn't, why didn't TTI/PD put out the story before the story broke in the media?

 What video are you referring to? There are at least 100 of them out there. 

And to why TTI didn't have a statement ready? They did. The statement that PD was opening a new studio was the public announcement. Even the video they released to the community with Nate and the crew stated that they went to a new studio to finish KSP2. When was that? February? Oh, here is the post on this forum with the date and the video links.

Spoiler

 

Now this becomes a very hot issue because Star Theory had to close down. We should of realized that possibly then.

Edited by shdwlrd
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34 minutes ago, shdwlrd said:

After looking through my posts again today, I realized that you ignored my remark about TTI acting in good faith. What's your opinion on this?

That we have no information on the nature of the negotiations outside of what was in the Bloomberg article.  Apparently, they starting some time in November with Star Theory asking for a 6-month extension.  Later talks included discussion about selling Star Theory to TTI/PD.   These talks went into December.  They ended with TTI/PD cancelling the contract with Star Theory and putting out the messages over LinkedIn on a Friday evening to all 30 members of the Star Theory KSP 2 team asking them to join PD to work on KSP 2.

It's impossible to say TTI/PD acted in good faith.

 

Quote

What video are you referring to? There are at least 100 of them out there.

I gave you enough information before for you to find it.  Look up YongYea on YouTube.  It's his video on Take 2 from yesterday.  Watch from the 11-minute mark to hear about a similar action by EA with another small dev studio.

 

Quote

And to why TTI didn't have a statement ready? They did.  [ The video from 2020 February ]

That is not a statement from TTI/PD business officers.  That is a 1-minute video of the two Nate's talking about what is now Intercept Studios and a bit of the technical side of making KSP 2.

It says nothing about what happened with Star Theory, not even a sentence expressing regret on parting.  Complete silence on the past.

Therefore, we are left with only extrapolating from past behaviour by TTI, the current environment in the gaming industry, and current business and legal practices.   I see no other interpretation possible.

According to @K^2, currently working in the computer game industry, TTI/PD actions are uncommon even in the current jaded cutthroat environment and would be considered brutal with strong impact on their reputation.  And if TTI/PD didn't want that to be the narrative, they would have to issue their own statement.  Which they have not.

 

Edited by Jacke
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1 hour ago, Jacke said:

That we have no information on the nature of the negotiations outside of what was in the Bloomberg article.

Yes, and furthermore; @ShadowZone 's video implies, as do others here in the forum, that Star.Theory initiated talks about selling to PD. The bloomberg article is, however, fairly vague on that point. It merely states they were in discussions about selling, but were not satisfied with the offer. This does not necessarily mean they actively wanted to sell. It could also mean that PD was trying to get them to sell.

This is a small but important distinction as it brings with it further implications and frames the situation.

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1 hour ago, bitzoid said:

The bloomberg article is, however, fairly vague on that point. It merely states they were in discussions about selling, but were not satisfied with the offer. This does not necessarily mean they actively wanted to sell. It could also mean that PD was trying to get them to sell.

It could also mean that, being this the detail that could ruin his perfect first scoop for a new employer, the journalist decided to give less importance to this detail, because it could ruin the story he's trying to tell.

Just like YongYea "forgets" to tell that Kerbal Space Program is a T2 IP or how everybody makes no distinction between T2 and PD.

 

Edited by Master39
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11 hours ago, magnemoe said:

This, boycotts or rater people not buying the product works in the way that more products of the type are not produced. 
Face it an boycott of will never gather enough momentum.
However Disney are not making Star Wars theatrical movies for years.
The steam starting to go out of the game as an service model who is very old as in worked in decades for MMO. But it don't work then you try to do all games that way. 
In short you make bad products its an high chance people will stop buying it.  Not always lots of sports games has been borderland scams for an long time. 

On the other hand game media has an very bad reputation for trying to create drama for clicks. An more plausible theory here is that Star theory was very unprepared for the development, they assumed it to be an magnitude easier than it was. Think average forum member, falcon heavy moon landing program idea :)  so kind of developer hell. They found they needed way more money also time because of the virus, Take-Two pulled the plug. Not saying Take-Two is the good guys but they had reasons. Probably also was cooperate disagreements. 
Now the main issue I see is modablility getting hurt, on the other hand that is that made KSP an classic game so damaging it would hurt sales. 

I just want to make sure you understand that KSP2 wasn't Star Theory's first project. They have developed other games.

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9 hours ago, Superfluous J said:

There is a dollar amount for everything.

Not in this case. Big fish sets the price, and you either like it or get nothing and kiss your business goodbye.

When the hell did you change your name? It's weird. Change it back. /jk

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2 hours ago, bitzoid said:

Yes, and furthermore; @ShadowZone 's video implies, as do others here in the forum, that Star.Theory initiated talks about selling to PD. The bloomberg article is, however, fairly vague on that point. It merely states they were in discussions about selling, but were not satisfied with the offer. This does not necessarily mean they actively wanted to sell. It could also mean that PD was trying to get them to sell.

This is a small but important distinction as it brings with it further implications and frames the situation.

1 hour ago, Master39 said:

It could also mean that, being this the detail that could ruin his perfect first scoop for a new employer, the journalist decided to give less importance to this detail, because it could ruin the story he's trying to tell.

We don't know these details.  But that's rather moot anyway.  What's important is that they were talking about a KSP 2 release extension and selling of Star Theory.  And then they weren't, PD cancelled the contract, and then proceeded to do a Friday night mass mailing to all of the KSP 2 team to poach them.  As @K^2 has pointed out in the posts I linked above, such wholesale poaching is not business as usually and is still considered a wrong move in a brutal industry.  Even without the pandemic, it was conceivable that gutting Star Theory would kill it.  And that's what the article and the various video commentaries on the article have focused on.

 

1 hour ago, Master39 said:

Just like YongYea "forgets" to tell that Kerbal Space Program is a T2 IP....

You're implying nefarious motives on YongYea's part for not mentioning it.  What difference did that make?  YongYea didn't say KSP was stolen by TTI/PD from Star Theory.  He said Star Theory was put on contract, there were negotiations that didn't conclude, then the contract was yanked and Star Theory's staff were poached, effectively destroying the studio.

 

1 hour ago, Master39 said:

...or how everybody makes no distinction between T2 and PD.

A third moot point.  PD is a wholely-owned division of TTI, who's purpose is to manage TTI's relations with smaller dev studios.  Is there any indication in this entire story that PD and TTI and their respective staffs at the time thought or acted differently, or had different policies on similar matters?

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1 hour ago, Jacke said:

We don't know these details.

We know that "it's not business as usual" (or to tell the other way "it's unusually brutal even for a usually brutal market") and that's a risky move even for a company as big as T2 because you can't be sure that anyone would agree to be poached and you could find yourself with a ghost studio.

Unless they knew that something went wrong in S.T something, for example, that made 3 crucial long term employees from Star.Theory jump ship immediately.

 

1 hour ago, Jacke said:

Even without the pandemic, it was conceivable that gutting Star Theory would kill it.

The founders were selling the studio, some of the developers stated that they didn't want to work for a big publisher, the studio was 6 months behind in its only project and something voided the publishing contract between S.T and private division allowing for this to happen.

Things weren't well in the first place and if we can make assuption based on past actions of T2 then let's also take into account the past of Star.theory too, aka Uber Entertainment (I'll let you do the research yoursel to not add my personal bias).

 

Something went wrong during KSP2 development, something out of the ordinary to the point of convicing T2 to make a brutally hostile and risky takeover of the project, we can accept that we don't know or pretend that nothing really happened and T2 is just extraordinary evil. 

 

1 hour ago, Jacke said:

You're implying nefarious motives on YongYea's part for not mentioning it.

Nothing extraordinarily nefarious, just the outrage milking machine working as usual, the video doesn't add any new information over the Blomberg article (actually it provided less information that's my point about the IP), adds the YouTuber own bias over the one from the journalist and adds a whole lot of wild assumptions when he says that is is the same of another hostile takeover only loosely similar to this one.

1 hour ago, Jacke said:

or had different policies on similar matters?

The whole point of having a different brand to work with smaller studios is to have different policies, but saying "Private Division" doesn't do for that tasty news story about T2 being the evil overlord.

 

Edited by Master39
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5 hours ago, bitzoid said:

Yes, and furthermore; @ShadowZone 's video implies, as do others here in the forum, that Star.Theory initiated talks about selling to PD. The bloomberg article is, however, fairly vague on that point. It merely states they were in discussions about selling, but were not satisfied with the offer. This does not necessarily mean they actively wanted to sell. It could also mean that PD was trying to get them to sell.

This is a small but important distinction as it brings with it further implications and frames the situation.

I strongly want to put everyones attention to this point. I'm also not sure we understand the case correctly if we assume that Start.Theory started the sales talks.

4 hours ago, Master39 said:

It could also mean that, being this the detail that could ruin his perfect first scoop for a new employer, the journalist decided to give less importance to this detail, because it could ruin the story he's trying to tell.

Ah, but that means that our friend Schrier might know what is up. Maybe we could give him a call to see if he's got more to say about it.

2 hours ago, Jacke said:

But that's rather moot anyway.

I disagree,... somewhat. Knowing who was at the initiative of the sales talks gives an important insight into what frustrations and emotions there might have been. It matters who wanted the sale at the beginning relative to T2 pulling the plug at the end. Mainly, it matters for what scenarios you consider when you want to know who was screwed over by whom, although I'm not sure if we should encourage this thinking -- mutters something about reasonable discussions and all that.  On the other hand, people are assuming it came from Star.Theories part and you can expect them to base judgement on that. So how much does that hurt our understanding?

 

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Personally, I think what happened is that Star Theory ran into some kind of gamebreaking issue that would takes MONTHS to fix, and it was at that point that Take 2 had enough and poached the studio and eventually extended the release date to Fall 2021.

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6 hours ago, Master39 said:

Unless they knew that something went wrong in S.T something, for example, that made 3 crucial long term employees from Star.Theory jump ship immediately.

Or, they just got greedy, and decided to cut out the middle man. You keep harping on the fact that these three individuals left "immediately". They were most likely offered a good deal....additionally, they probably took it, because they knew without the KSP contract,  Star Theory was screwed. Also, they'd been working on the project for literally years.. i'm sure they wanted to finish it.

You continue to imply that their departure is indicative of there being a serious problem with Star Theory...yet you present nothing to substantiate the implication.

 

Quote

The founders were selling the studio, some of the developers stated that they didn't want to work for a big publisher, the studio was 6 months behind in its only project and something voided the publishing contract between S.T and private division allowing for this to happen.

KSP is Take-Two's I.P... they can pull the contract any time they want, for whatever reason they want...or even for no reason at all. There doesn't hafta be some special event, that "allows" them to decide to not let a studio work on their I.P. anymore. Again, you imply there was a major problem at Star Theory, without anything to back it.

 

Quote

Things weren't well in the first place and if we can make assuption based on past actions of T2 then let's also take into account the past of Star.theory too, aka Uber Entertainment (I'll let you do the research yoursel to not add my personal bias).

Sure, they weren't a huge developer, but they did make some pretty good games, that clearly sold well enough to keep the studio in business. They wouldn't have been my first choice to develop KSP, but they're by no means a bad studio.

 

Quote

Something went wrong during KSP2 development, something out of the ordinary to the point of convicing T2 to make a brutally hostile and risky takeover of the project, we can accept that we don't know or pretend that nothing really happened and T2 is just extraordinary evil. 

You don't know that something went wrong...i don't know that either. that's an assumption. You seem to be unwilling to entertain the idea that Take-Two got greedy, and decided that they would take what they wanted, instead of behaving civilly.

 

Quote

Nothing extraordinarily nefarious, just the outrage milking machine working as usual, the video doesn't add any new information over the Blomberg article (actually it provided less information that's my point about the IP), adds the YouTuber own bias over the one from the journalist and adds a whole lot of wild assumptions when he says that is is the same of another hostile takeover only loosely similar to this one.

Clearly, you've never watched any of Yong's work before. He reports on industry news. The bloomberg article is really the only thing anyone has to work with. Other articles are based on information from that one, and videos reporting the news, are using that article as their basis, because, let's face it: Gamers don't read bloomberg, anymore than they were reading Kotaku.....so someone's gotta get the word out.

Also, anyone familiar with KSP, KNOWS it was acquired by Take-Two. So he probably didn't think it was necessary to state things that his viewers probably already know.

 

Quote

The whole point of having a different brand to work with smaller studios is to have different policies, but saying "Private Division" doesn't do for that tasty news story about T2 being the evil overlord.

Because Private division IS Take-Two. What, do you think they don't take their marching orders from the same board of directors that the rest of the company does? PD is nothing more than a box for them to put indie developers into, for the sake of convenience. And Take-Two IS actually pretty evil.

Not so long ago, they harassed a guy, and then destroyed his entire life, for reporting on information that one of their dumbass devs accidentally leaked on a live twitch stream.

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15 minutes ago, Numberyellow said:

So he probably didn't think it was necessary to state things that his viewers probably already know.

Never underestimate the need to carefully explain things on the internet.

I don't mean that as condescending or anything, but its always likely that some need refreshers, some need to be reminded that nuance exists and some are going to be new and unfamiliar with the context. On top of that, nonverbal communication on the internet is really nothing more than what we pretend to be there as readers.

__________

Personally, it could totally be that Take2 was greedy, I'm also willing to believe it wasn't. I am mainly worried that bad stuff has happened, and for what that means for KSP. I am not yet at the point of blame and don't know what the best course of action is personally or for the community as a whole.

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41 minutes ago, Numberyellow said:

KSP is Take-Two's I.P... they can pull the contract any time they want, for whatever reason they want...or even for no reason at all.

NO that is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Please learn something about how contracts work before babbling this complete and utter nonsense.

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7 minutes ago, MechBFP said:

NO that is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Please learn something about how contracts work before babbling this complete and utter nonsense.

No, it's not wrong. If they were in need of an extension, then they were clearly at the end of the time allotted in the contract for production of the software. Take-Two could have chosen to grant them an extension, OR pulled the contract entirely.

I'm well aware of how contracts work. i've been under my fair share of them. Large corporations, with teams of lawyers working for them, will often include a "bail out" provision, so they can get out of a contract early.

 

EDIT: If you fancy yourself an expert on the subject, why not simply state why you believe what i said to be wrong, instead of just declaring (paraphrasing) "it's wrong, you're an idiot".

Edited by Numberyellow
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