Lore, Layoffs and Laughter
- Edwin McRae
2023 has turned out to be a deeply troubling year for many of us game devs, especially the 8000+ who have been laid off.
At the beginning of December I found myself in the same position, a chunk of fatty turkey carved from a now skeleton crew, an expense trimmed away by drastic funding cuts.
With unexpected time on my hands, I dug a little deeper and gained some insight into the looming shadows of investor-seeking and hype-cycling. If you're interested, this video delves into more detail. But the short version is this.
Studios hire lots of people that they don't actually need to show potential investors that they're growing.
When there's no fuel left in the hype tank, studios then fire most of those people to impress other potential investors with their lean, mean business practices.
I freely acknowledge that this doesn't account for all of the job losses in games this year. AI is having an impact, although not as much as people might think. The entertainment industry is ever the fickle beast to milk money from, but that said, there are more gamers spending more money than ever. Something's just not adding up here!
So why has the games industry resorted to selling hype to investors instead of games to gamers?
Because it's copying a tech industry that has gained ridiculous amounts of money and power over the last decade.
And here we thought we were making games for the fun of it.
Can we do much to change these dark financial patterns that are ruining our industry? Yes, will a lot of coordination and sacrifice.
In the meantime, we can simply make fun of them.
This month, Rachel Rees and I mustered all we've learned from writing lore for Flesh and Blood, and we created a bit of Christmas satire.
When veteran game developers, Sarah and Greg, are unexpectedly laid off right before the holidays, their Christmas cheer suffers a serious debuff.
Taking inspiration from their video game heroine, Karina Fae, the duo sets out on a clandestine Nordic quest to deliver some old school justice.
This one goes out to all our fellow game devs who have shared a tough 2023.
We have 250 copies going for FREE on Bookfunnel, so get in quick!
If you'd like to support the creation of this and future nefarious pieces of fiction, here's where you can purchase this novelette for a modest sum.
Buy direct: https://payhip.com/b/37DsR
Most other places: https://books2read.com/u/3nGy1x
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We shall see you in 2024 with renewed vigour and purpose.
Edwin and Rachel
About Edwin McRae
Edwin is a narrative consultant and mentor for the games industry.