Florida-based n-Space, best known for their fantastic work on the Nintendo DS iterations of the Call of Duty games for the last few years, are in hot water.
Being an independent game developer, n-Space function like many other indie developers do: with a manageable team size, hopping from project to project, always on the lookout for the next publisher deal that will allow them to make another game and continue paying their staff.
The biggest risk of being an indie developer involves publisher deals that don’t come through. Failed deals can have a devastating effect on an indie studio, as these are their bread and butter. Depending on how much of your fate is invested in a particular deal, you could go from merely losing a project to having to lay off dozens of employees.
Unfortunately, a recent deal that failed to come through resulted in the latter at n-Space. This past week, rumours arose that n-Space had laid-off a large number of their employees and that the studio was on the verge of closing down. The good knows is, only the first of those is true. n-Space co-founder, Dan O’Leary writes on the company blog:
“After supporting 70-90 employees for several months without funding, Friday’s layoffs were unavoidable. I will be back in the office next week, along with our core team, to firm up a few of the many deals we are negotiating. If all goes as planned, we’ll be calling people back before the end of the week.”
He then goes on to explain what led to the current state of affairs at n-Space in a little more detail:
“We’ve worked tirelessly to secure work, preparing literally dozens of concepts and proposals this year alone, built two impressive demos since E3 and even delivered, in good faith, the first milestone of one of the projects we are pursuing.
Last week it looked as though all that hard work would finally pay off, with one deal “done” and several more soon to follow. Then, with a last minute change of heart from the licensor, that deal was dead. When the week ended without commitments from other publishers to offset this setback, I was forced to take drastic action.”
While O’Leary and his peers are obviously troubled by the recent happenings, the post ends on a positive note, with O’Leary stating that he looks forward to sharing n-Space’s future accomplishments with their fans.
By the end of this year, n-Space will have shipped 7 games in total, including Tron: Evolution for the Wii and DS, and Call of Duty: Black Ops and Golden Eye for the Nintendo DS.