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Submitted by Elven6 2572d ago | article

Victims of Recession: FASA Studio

That Gaming Site writes: "Since entering the console market, Microsoft had some of the world's most talented game developers behind them, many being first party. Upon entering the console market Microsoft had roughly 13 studios behind them, ranging from Ensemble Studios to FASA Interactive, over the years the unfortunate truth has been many were shut down for unknown reasons. Gamers have seen many talented studios go and have had no other choice but to blame Microsoft out of frustration and anger. To pay tribute to the studios of past and present, we have decided to outline the history of those under Microsoft Game Studios." ( Crimson Skies, Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, Culture, Dev, PC, Shadowrun , Xbox, Xbox 360)

Cajun Chicken  +   2573d ago
Not recession.
Purely not making the hits as MS expected thats the way MS work with first parties, this also happened with Digital Anvil, Freelancer made lots, then Bruce Force didn't do a Halo, so quite simply just because of the failure of one game, MS decided to close them.

This company was a victim of Microsoft just because Shadowrun alone didn't make them enough money. Shut down a good inhouse developer because of one bad game. Microsoft ,Idiots.

Not the recession, this isn't even RELATED to the recession.

Anybody want to blame the closure of Digital Anvil due to the recession even though it was over 4 years BEFORE the recession.

FASA were simply cut down because a project didn't make as much money as MS expected, no second chances, thats the way MS works and then most times MS retain the IP due to publishing.

If I was a MS first party right now, I'd be freaking scared.

Anyway, back on topic, this year MS will realise that they made a bad decision with Airtight Games making Dark Void with most of the old FASA team.
Elven6  +   2573d ago
The closure of FASA was already planned before the launch of Shadowrun.

Edit: Freelancer didn't sell horribly well and Brute Force sold insanely well breaking Halo: CE record. Regarding when the recession started, that's still being debated now and I'm sure it will be debated decades from now, although in 2007 people started murmuring about it.
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Cajun Chicken  +   2573d ago
@Elven6 : I stand corrected then.
Then what valid reason was there for MS closing these good developers?

Closing these devs was like the equivelent of Sony closing down Naughty Dog or Team Ico. It just doesn't add up. They were the best devs MS had when they started in the console buisness.

The fact that Brute Force sold more then Freelancer seriously shocks me.
How Brute Force even came close to Halo in sales is just stupid. I guess if MS shove a faux 'MS seal of quality' and backing on any subpar titles they publish it sells like hotcakes due to MS publishing Halo all those years back.
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Elven6  +   2573d ago
Future proofing is all I really consider to be honest, it comes down to fire X amount of people now and save XX amount in the long run.

I was actually a fan of both Freelancer and Brute Force, in my opinion both should have sold really well and unfortunately only one of them did.
Cajun Chicken  +   2573d ago
I loved Freelancer.
But I can't say the same for Brute Force I just didn't like the way Brute Force felt and I thought the engine was weak compared to the excellent engine on Freelancer.
I thought Armed and Dangerous was a much stronger third person shooter than Brute Force on the XBOX.

So I guess MS still own the Freelancer IP then?
I'm expecting they'll do something with that since I heard that some Digital Anvil members were merged MGS so the main designers are probably there.
They'd better, because that was a great exclusive IP, suprised we haven't seen a Freelancer title for 360 yet, seeing MS are keeping their cards up against their chests with games this year so far, maybe we still will.
Elven6  +   2573d ago
Yep they own all the ips of the ex studios, and yes like with all studio closures half the staff were relocated to other parts of Microsoft Game Studios.
Cajun Chicken  +   2573d ago
Also on topic, I loved Crimson Skies on XBOX.

That alone is the reason I'm supporting and looking forward to Dark Void so much.
Pixel_Addict  +   2572d ago
Actually you are wrong (about the recession)....
The recession began after the .com bubble burst- around 1999-2000. Then after 9/11 the markets sunk even further. The only reason the economy boomed was because economic regulation were lifted and banks were allowed to start making risky loads and people where using credit cards (spending money they didn't have) and that gave the public a false sense of prosperity for about 10 years under the Republican administration. Basically, our economy was broken and instead of fixing it we just borrowed money (mostly from China) and now its catched up with us.

For analogy.. lets say a person loses their job. Then instead of looking for work they use credit cards to buy everything. This person (who use to have a good job) has a high credit limit because of his good job he use to have. So a couple of months go by a this person hasn't look for a job because he is happy using borrowed money. Suddenly his credit limit has been reached, his credit maxed and now the banks (the enablers, who knew of your joblessness) are banging down your door looking for cash. Now the bank, you, the people bank promised the money to, are ALL out of cash... take that example and apply it to our government and its people.

If the recession was dealt with 10 years ago, responsibly, we could have avoided the recession (which is actually a slow marching depression). Recession is basically a different way of saying depression. President Hoover tried to use propaganda by called the economic meltdown a "depression", but obviously was bad choice of word. If you think about it a 'depression' doesn't sound as bad as something like a "meltdown", but I digress... we are really in a slow moving depression.

I agree that Microsoft's acquistion of FASA studio was their down fall, but that happens when companies acquire someone else's talent. EA, Activision/Blizzard all have closed studios. It is sad really. On their own they probably would have lasted a bit longer or released some better games without the corporate hand of doom holding them down to trends and expectations.
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Cajun Chicken  +   2572d ago
@Pixel_Addict -
My point all the way up there is that MS got rid of developers before even the public or the media even touched upon the fact of the recession now.

These weren't average developers to me, Digital Anvil and FASA were great developers and at the seperate times both of these were shutdown no such thing was going on as it now. Midway wasn't really in trouble until about 2007.

I mean, EA are considering closing studios, THQ has shedded about three now, Free Radical seem doomed, Ensemble was closed purely to sort into a new team and to organise a price cut and probably also to get the next FF on the system. That wasn't happening 10 years back, or even 5, not as much and high profile devs, anyway.

Its not just the jobs, its the spirit these developers had. Its a waste for them to be gone. FASA and Digital Anvil would of been great first party members for MS to have in this generation and especially now.
Elven6  +   2572d ago
The media doesn't decide the recession, Shane Kim didn't just wake up one morning and say "That Githleman really pisses me off, shut down his studio pronto!". Alot of decision making goes into a decision like that, everyone from analysts to accountants looked at Microsoft's market condition and speculated what their next move should be.
raiden_93  +   2573d ago
So many victims of the recession, heres hoping some of them manage to get back on their feet. I already miss Free Radical and hope one day we get our hands on Timesplitters 4.
Elven6  +   2573d ago
Free Radical technically is still around, just not in the best state, hopefully they get bought or credited, they are a recognized studio after all.
GWAVE  +   2572d ago
I'm puzzled how Microsoft can claim to be "in it for the long haul" with the Xbox brand when they're closing studios left and right. I feel bad for FASA...they had some good titles under their belt. Maybe Microsoft will learn that the console race isn't a 50-yard dash; it's a marathon.
Cajun Chicken  +   2572d ago
I often wonder the same.
Pixel_Addict  +   2572d ago
Microsoft is all about boasting
their PC software domination is deteriorating and they have lost a chance to rival google on the internet-super-highway. The Xbox 360 is their last hope, but instead of investing millions of dollars in repairing hardware issues and building better 1st party studios, they simply threw millions at 3rd party developers (they couldn't buy) who have NO REAL loyalty to Microsoft. Now their neglect of their own in-house developers have let to their demise. The PS3 is going to have a spectacular year and the growing sales will convince more 3rd parties to invest in Sony.
Elven6  +   2572d ago
Just to put it into perspective, Rare has over 200 developers working for them, Microsoft may not have the studios but they definitely have the developers, these developers can then be split into teams and work on different projects.

Although I would have preferred having the studios though instead of cramming everyone into 3 studios, even if FASA Studio only had 30 developers, that would be good enough.

But Microsoft still owns the ip so they can bring the studio back if they want to.
Cajun Chicken  +   2572d ago
You can bring back a studio in name, but not in spirit, wouldn't be much point.
When these teams get broken up/merged/liquidated the spirit and identity of that developer is lost and what you are left with is an shallow echo of what was before.

They may be able to bring the IP back, but probably not the games.

EDIT @Elven6 below:
As much chance as Planet Moon forming back with Shiny when the members of Shiny leave Double Helix to work with Interplay again. Not gonna happen, never has happened to a developer, never will.
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Elven6  +   2572d ago
Half the original FASA team is still at Microsoft anyway so they can come back if they wanted to, not to mention ex team members not employed at Microsoft will always have the option to return to a apply at FASA again if it were reopened.
Swarm  +   2572d ago
In a perfect world that might be the case, but in reality once a group like that has been broken up its for good.

I very much agree with Cajun Chicken. A perfect example would be the Fallouts. The spirit of the original games was what made it great, the devs poured their heart and souls into it. Fallout 3 may of gotten all the atmosphere right, but it just doesn't have that same spirit.
Skerj  +   2572d ago
I wish Shadowrun got a proper RPG release instead of that MP. ..thing we got.
Antan  +   2572d ago
Increasingly worrying times for everyone worldwide, not just in the videogame arena.
DNAgent  +   2572d ago
FASA pwns.
The beta for Shadowrun was the best beta I have ever been in. The community for it was a friendly community. Near the end of the beta there was even a schedule set up so where you could play the devs early and if you win you could get some free stuff. The beta ended early so some people couldn't play them but all of the people that couldn't play them got free stuff. I got a beta tester t-shirt and a signed copy of the game.
Grassroots  +   2572d ago
I absolutely enjoyed Shadowrun. Played it a lot it was a different multiplayer game, which was fun. The magical skills were really fun to play with.

Worse part was how it was a full 60 bucks for the game. If it as 40 it probably would've sold more.
crillyconlig  +   2572d ago
less risk
it looks like microsoft dosnt want the risk, let someone else pump money into a game and hope its succesfull, they havn just closed studios they have also sold or allowed them to be independant again
dredgewalker  +   2572d ago
How many first party devs does MS have anyway? Exclusives are a consoles heart and soul.
crillyconlig  +   2572d ago
lionheart, rare, xbox live productions, wingnut, turn10, not alot compaired to sony
Elven6  +   2572d ago
How many developers does Sony actually pay, meaning how many work for Sony.

For instance, Rare has over 200 employees and I'm sure many other big name studios under the MGS brand have at least 100.
Cajun Chicken  +   2572d ago
SCE's First Party Studios

A lot. Aquiring and keeping instead of closing down studios paid off for Sony. Its all well and due buying a good developer for inhouse, but keeping them open is what really matters.
Look at some of the Amiga afflicated legends there. Pygnosis and Millennium Interractive... :D
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GWAVE  +   2572d ago
@ Elven6

200 people at Rare? That's nothing compared to the 1000+ developers employed between Sony's 20+ development studios, not to mention the fact that...well, not to be crude, but Rare kinda sucks a sh*t popsicle these days.
Revvin  +   2572d ago
You have to wonder if Microsoft is clearing the decks in preparation of their withdrawal from the console scene. I hope this is not the case as the original XBOX's online capabilities really drove Sony and Nintendo to compete and embrace online play where as their consoles were mostly about the solitary use or with friends in the same location.
DJ  +   2572d ago
Microsoft sees absolutely no benefit to
Creating and maintaining 1st party studios, and would rather purchase Timed Exclusivity deals with 3rd party devs. Eventually, Lionhead may be put up on the chopping block as the studio releases very few 360 games and hasn't had any big sales hits in the past few years.

What Microsoft needs to understand though is that 1st party exclusives exist for the sole purpose of giving gamers a reason to hold onto or purchase your console. Sure, sales are important. But quality and quantity are top priority. Third party studios are more expensive to hold onto and far less loyal.

Sony could have closed down numerous studios for not having any "Sales Success" with their early titles, but instead did their best to help those studios create better titles.

Ico sold 50,000 units. Sony gave them another chance and Shadow of the Colossus ended up being a huge sales hit and one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time.

Kinetica sold piss poor, but was a great game. Santa Monica studios ended up using that engine to create God of War.

See a trend?
free2game365  +   2572d ago
This is just bad planning. Like how FASA was closed after Microsoft put up over 100 million for 3 Too Human games.

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