NEWS - Thursday, May 12, 2011

Atari TDU Studio Goes On Symbolic Day Strike

Test Drive Unlimited 2 developer Eden Games is initiating a "symbolic day strike" in response to layoffs and alleged "mismanagement" by parent Atari, according to a statement sent to Gamasutra.
The statement said that the studio is in the middle of a redundancy plan that targets 51 out of the total 80 employees at the Lyon, France-based developer. The strike is taking place today.
The cuts are significant, and occur as Atari continues to focus more on MMOs and games that implement online business models, rather than the packaged games that Eden specializes in such as Alone in the Dark and the Test Drive Unlimited series.
"Eden Games pays now for Atari mismanagement," according to a statement from Eden Games employee representatives, forwarded by a software engineer at the studio.
"For several years we are witnessing multiple leader changes at its head, they did not hesitate to get rich despite financial difficulties," the statement said.
The statement added that redundancy plans have been following one after the other at Atari for 10 years. "Each time the recovery project was beautiful and promising, and ended in a failure. We are skeptical about the proposed project," that statement claimed, without going into further detail about potential projects.
It continued to say that "Atari does not play the game of negotiations with employee representatives on the redundancy plan measures. Employee representatives of Eden until now have been extremely collaborative, respecting the very tight deadlines of the redundancy plan."
This week, the studio went on strike for a day "To show the employees determination and mobilization." During that strike, Eden said it hopes to "communicate and interact with the CEO, Jim Wilson, who has never introduced himself to his employees."
The studio also wants to hold negotiations about the redundancy plan, be sure that "an employee of Eden Games is compensated the same way as an employee of Atari," and have "real visibility on the future of the studio after the restructuring, especially in giving us the financial records requested by our accountant."
Representatives for Atari said, "At this time we’re not going to comment or participate in any interviews regarding Eden and their statement to the media."
[UPDATE: An Eden Games employee representative answered the following questions from Gamasutra, explaining that layoffs are expected to actually hit in June, and that the studio expects its latest release, Test Drive Unlimited 2 to sell around 900,000 units.]



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