|| by SteedFan69 09/13/2017, 1:57am PDT
Peter Smith wrote:
At 4.30 pm on Novemebr 1, 2010 Ignition Entertainment Corporate Managers came in with the police and closed down its entire operations in GAINESVILLE FLORIDA. All 70 employees including executive management was told to cioollect their personal stuff and vacate the premises. They have spent $23m on REICH and it is a flop. Of the 9 levels only levels 1 and 2 are completed. It would be difficult to outsource the rest of the game since the other stages are partially completed. Past management staff has mismanaged the funds. There was no corporate monitoring on spending.
seeing the forest and the trees wrote:
the armed police were a buzz kill for the interviews corporate management conducted yesterday and today for the new team in austin. hard to be interested in working at a company where management thinks it's cool to flush a building of employees with police with guns
Janus the Chosen wrote:
Never before seen Reich art from a reliable source an artist who worked on the game.
Unfortunately the art director and artist who worked on these resigned from the company when Paul Steed and Exigent an outsource studio were brought in to help with management, this was a disaster Steed was a drunk and abused the employees verbally and physically he was eventually fired by Ignition. The blame falls all on the shoulder of Vijay Chadha ceo of ignition who from the start put a 24 year kid named Jeremy Stieglitz in charge of the whole studio a boy barely out of college who could not even balance his check book let alone a multi-million dollar AAA game. Stieglitz spent millions on getting employees to little s**t land Gainesville Flkorida paying thousands to fly them down for interviews and hiring no talents and giving them outlandish salaries. The biggest mistake of all was when Vijay Chadha CEO with pressure from UTV their parent company and the 60% Disney shareholders suits wanted Ignition to present a premature slice of the game “Reich” to MICROSOFT AND SONY, the visuals werent ready nor the game play as it was all a mess. Chadha who was known to be a defender and friend to the creative spirit bent and got plugged in the ass by the Mouse. In the end 23 million was wasted on poor planning, untalented managers greedy producers and on a game director who was still wiping the milk off his mouth from sucking on his moms tit.
Janus by the way was the name of the original hero of the Reich game.
The Brown One wrote:
You got it right about that Paul Steed, he was video'd by the staff after crapping his pants during a long cocaine binge, he was also caught with a prostitute in the studio.
A complete t**t who couldnt conduct business if it bit him on the ass.
This comes as no surprise. It's been a couple years since I left Ignition Florida behind, and the friends I have that still worked there when the studio was shut down had nothing but horror stories throughout Reich's development.
1) Laying off/firing talented and seasoned developers, and hiring untalented ones to replace them at lower salaries to cut costs. Result: the game was redesigned from scratch 3 times (maybe more), after millions had already been dumped into each iteration.
2) The game went through several art directors and 3 game directors (hence, 3 reboots). The aforementioned Jeremy was the first, and while he had a vision for the game, it was a terrible one. He would constantly edit the story that the writers would come up with to insert his own stupid ideas. He couldn't keep his hands off of any aspect of development, sometimes even editing code (which would break things for unknown reasons until the engineers found out what he had done). He had no sense of how to design a game from start to finish. He had no concept of money management -- even once even throwing himself a housewarming party on the company dime and spending nearly $3000 on alcohol alone.
3) Paul Steed. I don't know too much about him, since he came on board right before I bailed. What I do know is that he always smelled like booze. I got a call a few months back from a friend at the company that told me an incredible story. The story of how Paul got himself fired. One night, an engineer was working late and when he went to leave, he found Paul drunk and passed out cold against the studio doors. When he reached down to wake him up, Paul punched him square in the face, knocking him down. As soon as corporate found out, he was fired immediately. I was then told that finding Paul in various states of drunkenness throughout the day was a common occurrence.
4) Again, the revolving door. People kept going in and out of the company like a (no pun intended) drunk tank. This wasted an incredible amount of money.
5) Several months ago, I called a friend of mine that still worked there and asked how the game was going (post-Steed departure). He said that they had literally just been sitting around for weeks, waiting to be told what game to make. Again, waste of money.
In the end, nothing went right. Nothing. There were some very talented guys there at various stages of the first iteration, which I was a part of, but things went to s**t incredibly quickly when we realized our game director had no idea how to direct a game. I'm glad I left when I did. I never looked back. Good f**king riddance, I say.
Oh, and here is some more concept art from the first iteration of the game:
Yhea the project was doomed from the get go. I think there were two types of employess at Ignition. Those who were loyal to Jeremy from Artificial studios and those who were suckered in by promises of quick raises and being a part of a ground breaking game production. Corporate didn't give a rats ass about the employees nor thier families who some moved cross country to be in the swamps of Gainseville. Those concept samples don't look to shabby, from what I hear the stuff Steed and Exigent put out was s**t, big breasted bimbos which had Steeds prints all over them. Hopefully game people will stay away from the likes of Ignition and Douche bag Steed. Any company who uses armed men to fire employees has to be f**kin insane or think they are a military regime, be for real. Our prays go out to all the x-employees and their families. If anyone else has a story about their experiences at Ignition Florida come forward speak up don't be afarid whats the worse they can do? fire you? it's already been done.
Some Guy wrote:
Wow - I interviewed w/ them last year - thank God it never went anywhere. I had already heard tons about Paul Steed, none of it good, so when they mentioned his involvement, I knew they didn't know wtf they were doing. At the time, they were talking about a release 6 months later, and it sounded like they were still in pre-production - another warning sign.
lover boy wrote:
Hey Some guy, you were the lucky one friend. Many weren't so lucky they got verbally abused and some physically by Steed who in a drunk rage punched a programmer for no reason who was working late one evening. He also got into a fight with another employee but that time he got punched in the eye and had to be hospitalized I think he got knocked out cold by a guy bigger then him named Chris who was the office manager. Steed has a reputation of getting drunk at bars and fighting small weak programmers. His other love is crapping in his pants from being so intoxicated from what I hear.
can you imagine:
Whats that smell? oh it's our boss, don't mind it, once the flies go away it passes.
Heh some leaked game play as popped up
That was what it looked like at the time that I left, so I assume it's the first iteration. That was the level supposedly demoed to Sony and Microsoft.
It's a shame this went under as the game had great potential. The problem was that Ignition took a great, small independent outfit and decided to immediately grow them into a big-money AAA studio without stopping to think that it might not be a good idea.
When the game tech was in working state it was golden. You could sit in a single big box room and just play with the game mechanics for hours. If the game had made it to market without losing that playability it would have been a monster hit.
Jeremy needed a good right-hand man to curb his worst tendencies and let him focus on what he is good at. Instead he eneded up surrounded with the incompetent, the deranged and a bunch of massive egos. Some of these egos were "untouchable" and interefered with the game's direction. Hiring exceptionally talented artists from non-gaming backgrounds can work well (see those concept pics?) but not when they end up thinking they're running the show and start violating every practice that's needed to make a game dev studio function properly. This is a common theme with Reich and Wardevil.
Having seen the way people were relocated to Florida then hit with pay cuts, changes of responsibility etc. it's no wonder morale was shot. There isn't a team in the world that could have "risen above" the crap that was going on there.
I left Ignition not long after the move to the new building in Gainesville. I was tired of all the lies, egotism and rank incompetence and the effect that was having on a team that had a great kernel of talented devs. Since then it's just been one more sick/hilarious story after another.
Everyone affected has my sympathy.
Former Employee wrote:
I posted this in another news thread about the story on a diff. site, and am reposting it here.
I worked at Ignition from between august '09 till mid-may '10
Everything being mentioned so far is 100% true.
Paul Steed is a ultra douchebag of the highest caliber.
Early this year, we almost got him fired. Almost. By that point all the complaints about steed had finally reached some boiling point with his superiors at UTV. All the hostile workplace complaints, pending sexual harassment claims, and numerous complaints about his mismanagement of resources and personnel, had forced UTV to step in. Paul had found out about this visit by the corporate guys and had initially tried to cherry pick who would be interviewed, obviously so that he could pick the few people that were in his club of lapdogs. However UTV insisted on interviewing the entire departments. The Wednesday prior to the Monday corporate visit, Paul, probably seeing that s**t was going bad for him, got ridiculous drunk late that night on the office premises, wandered around, urinated on things, and threw up on one of the building entrances before passing out. Then reflexively sucker punched someone who tried to help him up. This was caught on security cam. He never showed up to work the next day, by that afternoon though almost everyone heard what had happened. Friday, our internet goes down for an hour and a very anxious looking paul steed immediately afterwards calls a meeting and makes a grand show about how he believes our internet was "SABOTAGED" and that he would personally look into the security camera footage to find the culprit. Of course most people saw through his plan to get his hands on the security camera footage, too bad for him it had been seen by HR the previous day and already sent off to UTV. During the monday interviews with UTV. The whole studio pretty much threw Paul under the bus. it was glorious.
However due to his conflict of interest type situation where he owned the outsourcing studio that we used, he was almost like an inoperable brain tumor, we couldn't totally be rid of him. So instead he got knocked down about 3 positions from the top and forced to work from home indefinitely, and was replaced by a guy who looked like sawyer from LOST.
Paul though, being the douche that he was couldn't leave well enough alone. The entire time that he was working from home, he was trying to sneak his fingers back into the old pies, and handle stuff that he wasn't supposed to be handling anymore, bribing people with offers of doing their more preferred styles of work, or better arrangements, to slowly rebuild his power. All the while bragging about "how much tail he gets when he travels to china by lying to girls about green cards" (he's a married man with a family btw) or mentioning how "when he gets back in charge he's firing all the bitches!" and that "Women weren't worth the trouble to hire anymore."
This went on for a few months. Then around 2 weeks before i left, Paul just kinda disappeared with a very white washed email about exploring other options or some crap like that. We figured at the time he either got tired of being sidelined or UTV finally found out how to can his ass. Rumor has it he actually just got drunk at a bar, got into a fight, and attacked the cop that was called to break up the fight, and that he couldn't post bail. Though i can't find confirmation on that, it sounds like something Paul would do.
I'm at least thankful to Paul for one thing, his bullshit was what gave me the drive to go freelance to get the hell out of there.
Also, he still owes me 1 airsoft gun i lent him for a mocap shoot that he broke, and promised to replace but didn't >:(
Keira is pregnant wrote:
Lets not pretend that Jeremy didn't have faults and put the blame on everyone else around him. The concept artists actually saved the game development from being ditched in a major presentation to Ignition corporate UTV in 2008. Some 8 million or more was poured into the studio at that milestone. If this did not happen many employees would probably have been canned and development stalled. Jeremy didn't need a "right hand man" because he had two left hands and was pretty much crippled by his lack of mangerial skills, he needed experience working under someone who knew how to direct a AAA game, unfortunately he didn't have that and Paul Steed wasn't the answer. Jeremys a brilliant guy and an awesome programmer and I think with some time he will develop into a decent game director but at that time he was not ready. We wish him well with Trendy. It is however deeply sad that so many people lost their jobs and that the game may never see the light of day.
There were never any police at the Gainesville office. There were three or four private security guards, who I think were armed with nothing more than gun-shaped tasers. It likely wouldn't have mattered had they had guns anyway, as at least two of them were so obese that they would have had difficulty reaching the holsters at their waists. It wasn't threatening, it was just rude, as if laying people off without so little warning wasn't rude enough already.
That isn't to say there weren't warnings. The project had been going downhill for a while. I've read it elsewhere, but it's very true how work was constantly being thrown out and redone most often for story reasons. That wasn't good for morale. I was hired after Steed left (corporate was actually approving new hires right up until about a month ago), and I don't think we made any real progress the entire time I was there. As of last week, the story itself was one of the most cliched and uninspired bits I've ever seen, but the powers that be were so devoted to it that they were constantly sacrificing anyone's attempts to make the game fun because it needed to fit their god-awful story. The "script" for the game was a work of bad short fiction instead of an actual plan for level progression, and nowhere in it did the writer seem to think about how anything the player did ought to actually be fun. The leaked videos of the first iteration look more fun to me than what was being worked on last week, because having that much fun didn't fit into the story anymore.
To UTV's credit, the refocusing (from being story-centric to gameplay-centric) might be a good thing, they just should have done it a hell of a lot sooner. There's still some promise buried at the bottom of this s**t pile, they might dig it up, and I wish the best of luck to the people they didn't fire who will be doing the digging.
I was there. Lets get a few things straight:
The game doesnt look anything like the videos or concept being posted. All that stuff is seriously old. The videos are ridiculous most of it could never have run on any console.
The game doesnt suck. Considering where we came from killer progress was being made. The guys in the building last week were trying to work hard at making a cool game.
The EP was doing good stuff and brought in good people to try and save this thing. We did have to re-boot, but it was for the best. We were actually making a game finally. It's not their fault the dick-heads before them Jeremy/Steed/Kidd pissed away cash.
Basically UTV kept telling us to make the game but then they did everything they could to get in the way. A couple of months back they saw a demo and told our EP that we were awesome. Last week they fired half the staff. wtf
UTV are also jag-offs because they weren't paying anyone not on staff. Contractors and vendors and even the company that did most of the multi-player dev still haven’t been paid. And these are the guys flying in from England and India( first class I bet) just to f with the team every few weeks.
They didnt end up cutting everyone. They brought back just enough people for a death-march to a stand alone multi-player release. Stoopid
The severance packages do suck. Guys I know who moved here recently aren’t getting any help getting home.
There were only two private security guards, and they were laughable. But them just being there was what was so uncool.
Jeff Lujan seems to be almost as big of a douche as steed.
Hey ex employee person above me. Basically all iterations of the game suffered because of one main reason:The corporate heads at Ignition didn't know how to control nor run a US based game studio. They made some seriously bad choices in managers and directors down the line. However I will say this the initial tech and game play originated from Jeremy and his tech guys was groundbreaking, so if anything the respect for that should be given as well as those early art concepts like them or not the passion was there. Many people got fired or quit right when Steed was hired and moral fell at an all time low.
This is a lesson well learned by all.
This Just Keeps Getting Better
I used to work and Exigent wrote:
I used to work and Exigent and believe you me, it a use-and-throw studio. Steed replaces artists like a kid wanting new toys and throwing away old ones. The whole staff gets recycled once in about every two years. He is like a machine gun always firing people.
He is a real expert at bluffing, and you'd actually believe him. He told people at Exigent that he knew James Cameron and they'd be working soon on a sequel to Avatar. Thats laughable, considering we've never worked on movies, and only on games.
Sorry to hear about the people at Ignition, people hate Steed no less in Exigent either.
Ex Employee wrote:
Wow I am happy to see the STEED going down...ohh it feels nice. I hope all of the employees I worked with will go out and have great success!
one word we can take away from this....
Actually it was a mix of Concept, Cinematics, Animation and 3D Art that saved the studio during 2008... not just concepts.
another ex-employee wrote:
The game doesnt look anything like the videos or concept being posted. All that stuff is seriously old. The videos are ridiculous most of it could never have run on any console.
I have it on good authority that those videos are all actual in-game footage.
Ignition artist wrote:
There were two major presentations If I remember while we were there, one was in May of 2008, There was no new 3d art based on the art-style at that time and the cinematic had some issues, and right from the source, Vijay Chadha and UTv approved extra funds based on the progression of the art style and the concept art but as always the tech and physics was always strong. This was the 2nd art reboot. Now there was another major presentation to the Ignition heads and UtVs ceo Ronnie in September of 2008 I think which did have concept art, game play, 3d art and the the Reich soldiers vs the Psi freak cut scene thats been posted etc so you might have been refering to that. Anyway it all doesn't matter now, but from the reactions of the masses who have seen the Vids posted of all iterations of the game it seems people would have wanted to buy it, regardless of what it looked like. It's extremely hard to do a triple AAA game with good story, great game play and graphics, it takes the right combo of talent and good leadership to do it and money. I think everyone on the team really believed this would be something special. As I recall out of the 3 original IPs Ignition was devleoping El Shaddai, WarDevil and Reich, Reich was always considered by Ignition Corporate as the sure bet as the tech and physics was so well established and functional on the xbox, Cudos to Jeremy and the programmers for pushing the UnREAL engine.
Exigent is right across the street from my house. when exigent started few of my friends were hired as artist there. i had beaten my self up about missing the opportunity as i only came to know about it once the hiring had stopped.
Now the state they are in is bad. There is nothing good to hear about this studio. people crib about their companies all the time but this one is different. my firends have seen many ppl fired just cause they were about to leave for home after office hours.
the situation is bad. i am not surprised that the game was scrapped. anything to do with exigent seems to go down the drain
the emperor wrote:
There is news that UTV Ignition Entertainment is also closing down the California office which will result in staff having to relocate to Texas which will be the main US base. The company is going under and I will not be surprised if within the next six months UTV pull the plug on Ignition Entertainment as UTV are seeing their money wasted by incompetent management.
Staff also have to take wage cuts or lose their jobs
I was there when UTV tried to bring back Steed again in May and everyone was leaving or talking about leaving. It was around that time Vijay the CEO of Ignition seemed to disappear from the picture. Both him and his brother who headed up US publishing didnt show up at E3. Then I heard Ajay got fired. Vijay went off sick at exactly the same time and has not been seen since. But its pretty obvious something happened there. Especially as just around then Ignition hired new managers in London. A coincidence?! But there has never been any formal announcement or anything about a change of CEO or him leaving or anything.
They came over around same time and fired Kidd, just before E3. And we had been hearing through our grapevine Paul Steed was coming back and was in town. He was telling people on the team he was coming back and people started leaving or talking about leaving in droves. But instead of Steed coming back they promoted up Scot Kramarich to head the team instead. I heard that the new managers from Ignition actually threatened to quit themselves if UTV brought Steed back. So they were alright in my book for doing that. I always got the impression the guys in London were battling with their UTV bosses actually to get the funds to Florida to pay people. It was always some dude called Prickesh in India that the buck seemed to stop at when I was trying to get my contractor fees through.
One of the guys from London told me the Ignition marketing team had categorically rejected Steeds game concept as unsellable. So it seems some people in Ignition did know what they were doing. But sadly not the ones calling the shots. You really got to ask what kind of idiots would rehire a guy after he abuses staff and swindles money out of the company into his own pocket ?
I also heard that this new guy Lujan let the publishing team in California know they are losing their jobs by email. That was the guy that came in and closed us with armed security. However naive the decisions that the original CEO Vijay was, we didnt get treated like that under him.
So I want to say Kudos everyone like me that stuck this out til now. Kudos to everyone that either left,were fired, abused, sexually harassed or bullied by Steed during their time on Reich. Kudos to those that threatened to leave in May to prevent his return then at risk of being sacked. That took guts.
X employee wrote:
It seems thing went down hill when Steed was hired is that the general concensus from most of the ignition FL employees? I left not long after Steed was hired. I remember when JP and Jeremy were running the show not many people were fired and at least there seem to be progress. Don't get me wrong it was by far a perfect but it seem to have been moving along. I feel if we would have stuck with the original direction and see it through and have completed the game much of this could have been avoided. The problem is, firing and then re-hiring and then going in a new direction is not only time consuming but a waste of money.
I mean game play wise their were some great concepts that were created like the Statue-mech the Psi-freak, the Reich dog. I heard Steed trashed all the hard work that had been done and started over. Looking at the pre-steed artwork , it seems it had more continuity. What Steed provided seemed generic something you could see in a poor-mans version of Bio-Shock or fall out with no true vision.
Hopefully game developers will stay away from the likes of Steed, a truly unqualified corrupted individual.
Lujan arranged closing the studio in two waves because if a company closes a facility or lays off ore than 50 people in one 30 day period, that company is required to pay 60 days salary and benefits. Its a federal law called the WARN Act.
Lujan the scumbag laid off less than 50 people in the first wave and had people sign waivers to sue - all for 26 days of pay and benefits. Then 10 days later closed the studio giving everyone else an ultimatum to move to Austin or 'resign'. In the month of november, at least 60 employees were terminated and the studio was closed. Every single one of those employees should have been given 60 days pay and benefits.
It was all carefully calculated to avoid federal law. I hope they get their asses sued into the ground. All of these ex ignition employees need a good lawyer to bring a class action lawsuit against Lujan and the rest of the management who screwed families before the holidays.
You had a heavy hand in orchestrating this catastrophe and you should stfu. Hope you have a hard time sleeping at night with the lives you helped throw into chaos. No one is as stupid as you think they are. You completely undermined the game to put your own lame interests ahead of getting the game completed. And everyone knows it. So don't pat yourself of the back you f**king loser. the multiplayer will be total s**t and everyone knows it.
That second post was a response to Anonymous EG.
no no wrote:
Further redundancies have being made on the publishing side and soon I do not think there will be a company as India want to cut off Ignition Entertainment from it's books. All those people who have being made redundant are much better off. The management are selfish to the core.
more redundancies are on the way and one of them is one of the head honcho's justin keeling
I'm helping a company that's in litigation against Ignition and would be interested to hear what people who worked for Ignition have to say. Anyone interested, please respond.