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Report: Developer GRIN Sees More Layoffs, Studio Closures
Report: Developer GRIN Sees More Layoffs, Studio Closures Exclusive
August 11, 2009 | By Chris Remo

August 11, 2009 | By Chris Remo
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    13 comments
More: Console/PC, Exclusive



Gamasutra has learned from reliable development sources that Stockholm-based developer GRIN has seen significant layoffs, and may be facing difficulty staying afloat.

The news comes after the company saw heavy layoffs earlier this year, no doubt the partial result of weaker-than-expected sales and critical reception to 2009 games like Bionic Commando, Wanted: Weapons of Fate, and Terminator Salvation.

According to a Swedish-language report from IDG this past June -- which went seemingly unreported in the English-language press -- the company has already closed its Barcelona and Gothenburg offices, events confirmed by Gamasutra sources.

Furthermore, the company's main Stockholm office may also be in jeopardy. Sources indicated to Gamasutra that employees have apparently been told not to show up for work, and the company may be undergoing some kind of closing or facing difficulty staying afloat.

The company saw a considerable rise in the last few years. Though it was founded in 1997, it was not until it was given responsibility for the PC versions of the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter games that GRIN started becoming more widely-known as a company.

Since then, it has opened additional locations and attracted an increasing number of development deals from major publishers before running into trouble earlier this year.

Interestingly, fellow Stockholm-based studio Fatshark today announced the multiplayer shooter Lead & Gold - Gangs of the Wild West; Fatshark uses GRIN's Diesel engine, and GRIN is a stakeholder in the company. Gamasutra is following up with GRIN representatives and will update if new information is received.

[UPDATE: Consumer game blog VG247 has reached a GRIN spokesperson, who has stated: "At the moment we have no comment to anything [related to] that matter."]


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Comments


Lo Pan
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Well, they had three chances to make their mark and failed. Bionic Commando should have been money...

John Nitsolas
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Better stick to what you know...

The Advanced Warfighter series were good solid games.

From then on Grin got involved with IPs that were either not well recepted (Bionic Commando) or movie IPs that as a rule of a thum never do well, or are never implemented well.



P.S. I have to disagree with you on Bionic Commando Ms Fernandes, I think it was an ok game or at least it should have sold more than it did. BUT! I'm planning to play today to see for myself.

Lo Pan
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I played BC and frankly the controls were terrible and the fighting weak. I really wonder if any objective playtesting occurred during the title with outside gamers.

Michael Andersson
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If true, this is very sad news indeed.



I've played through Bionic Command and the biggest problem with the game is the lack of fun. Most of the time there is just not much to do. It isn't until near the end of the game that heat is turned up a few notches and it becomes really fun to play.

Samuel Fiunte Matarredona
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well at least I know for sure that Grin has a tester team, I know one of them, from the barcelona deceased studio.....I didn't played any of these three, mainly because they didn't atract me at all, I was mucho more interested in the BC: rearmed....

Evan Bell
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Bionic Commando enjoys a cult following among developers but I am skeptical about the brand recognition among the game buying public. It might have sold poorly even if they had executed at 100%.



It is unfortunate to see a developer close. Hopefully Grin can make it through a tough time.

John Nitsolas
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OK since I kinda feel I started this, this will be my last post here.



Mr. Crumpett:



CAPCOM's invovement probably was a difficulty.

I know what happens when you have a customer (publisher) with expectations and deadlines and obscure requirements...

BUT ultimately it was CAPCOM's responsibility to guarantee a quality product and Grin's to demand more time & resources to deliver it.

As for movie franchises. I don't know what happens, so I won't venture an opinion on Terminator or Weapons of fate. Only fact i know for certain is that movie games are bad. I don't know why it is like that, I don't think it should be like that, but it is.

Losing your job because someone other than you made bad calls is the worst thing that can happen.

Bills WILL pile up, feelings are crushed, but talent NEVER goes away! If you're good at what you do then you'll have nothing to fear.

I DID play BC yesterday and I have to agree with Mr. Andersson & Ms Fernandes to an extent.

The controls are a bit loose considering the gunplay and there are places that feel empty of enemies at times.

But my question is: What went wrong between Advanced Warfighter & Bionic Commando?

GRAW gave me & my friends many hours of fun gameplay, it was a GOOD game. Maybe the pain of said expectations and deadlines and obscure requirements by CAPCOM were just too much too handle?

I don't know...

BTW Bionic Commando Rearmed is TONS of fun! For me at least...



Ms Fernandes:



I'll have to agree with Mr. Crumpett on that: If you do not have the full picture it's best not to dismiss anything or form opinions. They will be by definition wrong.



Let's just all be friends.

Samuel Fiunte Matarredona
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we can all just be friends, of course, but sometimes you have to face reality....this can be a professionals oriented website, so you can discuss about internal development problems and all of this...but all of us had to understand that what matters is the customer's opinion, and they don't care about distributors involvements, deadlines or bad written requirements.....sorry but the end user sometimes is more in a Beavis & butthead mood like "uh uh...that rocks" or "uh uh...that sucks" and that's what Rebecca is expressing here, a personal and totally subjective opinion. Face it, most of the people thinks that way! and it's not that you were a spokeperson grom GRIN, didn't you? so far I read about them none of these 3 games are an "underrrated gem" to be discover in 10 years (ala ICO or OKAMI or so on..), they didn't get good reviews, good word of mouth or good sellings, so three misses out of three, I think is plain simple, and I felt really sorry for them (as I stated before I have a friend working there!!!!)



If not...we can begin to speak about the big videogames bluffs that way, maybe the ATARI ET's videogame wasn't plain bad, maybe it was just a matter of deadlines or we can blame it on spielberg..or whatever Get real, pleeease!



Taking it to other level, do you analize movies that way? yes, people can say that "Wolverine: origines" sucks because of FOX interferences, or because it has schedule problems or budget problems, but at the end the movie sucked a lot, it make every character in it laughable etc etc...so don't be that hard with Rebbeca...



and just to end the comment: John, you cannot ask seriously people NOT to form an oppinion...we always have one! even if we don't want to! of course if the information we have change, we can change our opinion too :)



bye to everyone, and please, don't be offensed by my comment.

Lo Pan
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@Gomez, dude talk about arrogant. FYI, I have worked on games, over thirty of them. GRIN had three strong licenses to work with and failed with each one. How many studios get this opportunity? In the new gaming order, you usually get one chance...



http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/xbox360/bioniccommando?
q=bionic%20commando

http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/xbox360/terminatorsalva
tion?q=Terminator%20salvation

http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/xbox360/wantedweaponsof
fate?q=weapons%20of%20fate

Michael Andersson
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It's confirmed (see http://www.grin.se/).

Samuel Fiunte Matarredona
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Gomez, I didn't miss your point, but I didn't think she was that mean with her words, whatever, so far she doen't look like she needs to be defended, she can do it for hereself :D



and about what you can say in a place given I always gonna support to have the freedom to speak in your own way. You dislike it, ok both of you have an opinion, and it's ok like that. The people who come to gamasutra, most likely come to read the news and the articles, not the comments, BUT of course I'd like comments not to become a neverending rant. Anyway, I will close it saying that it's a real shame that Grin had to close.



PD: and as you can notice in related Grin news, Rebecca is not the only one speaking about the string of bad luck/bad games from grin.

Tyler Peters
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@Gomez

Having been actively working within the Games Industry for the last 12 years and being an active member of these boards for nearly as long as they have existed on the internet, I don't see why Rebecca is out of line.

Are the comments insensitive? I suppose that depends on whom you ask.

But TBH, i played Wanted and TS and they were both poorly made games that felt as though they were shoveled out the door to take advantage of licenses.

With that said, it's quite possibly that Grin, through poor business dealings, managed to get themselves in a position where they had to quickly push things out the door. But again, that is still the company's fault for placing themselves in that position.

Regarding people from Grin reading this - Rebecca's opinions, as harsh as they may seem - are echoed by many other consumers of Grin's games I've spoken to, including myself.

Hopefully they will learn from it and not make the same mistakes in their future game endeavors.

Let's face it - you need to have a thick ego to deflect criticism in this biz, but sometimes it's good to reflect on it.

Tyler Peters
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I've been an AP, Producer, and now Exec Producer.

If you want to keep picking fights with people, please move on to Gamespot.


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