Gas Powered Games appears to be in a much more dire place than previously thought. The company was forced yesterday to lay off a "substantial number of the team" in the face of unconvincing Kickstarter support for their new project, Wildman. If the Kickstarter project gets funded, perhaps the team can be hired back, but in the interim the company needs community support to decide whether to even continue the project.
In an astoundingly emotional update from CEO Chris Taylor, he admits just how cash strapped Gas Powered Games is, and how important the Wildman Kickstarter project is:
"Today we laid off a substantial number of the team. Folks are going to ask what is going on, why is he doing it? The reason was, is that if I ran this team throughout the entire Kickstarter campaign and it fails to fund then I have to let everyone go, shut the company down, no one gets any unpaid PTO or severance or anything. And that's that."
Due to economy and Chris' unwillingness to allow his team to go into such an intractable situation, the layoffs went forward. It's at this point that Chris becomes visibly emotional, obviously weary of the events of the day and the stress involved going forward. Yet there was another purpose to the video beyond discussing the layoffs.
"To play a card game with their livelihood is not smart. So, I made a very, very tough decision, but I have another tough decision to make and that's why I'm here on this video update."
It's at this point that Chris asks the community for their feedback as to whether or not to continue the project at all.The project, prior to the announcement of the layoffs, was trending towards not being successfully Kickstarted -- it's why the layoffs likely went through in the first place. Chris, at this point, is likely wondering if the community is still willing to support the project even if the company is in the current state that it is.
"Now that the team has been laid off should I continue the campaign to see if the numbers do improve and hire them back at the end of the campaign? If they still want to come back and if they haven't found jobs or do I shut the campaign down tonight or tomorrow and call it done? So, help me make a tough decision. Vote with your comments, we'll tabulate 'em. We kill the campaign or we keep it going, it's up to you."
Since the video update went live the Wildman Kickstarter project is trending more positively, will the current slope predicting the project's success. It's still a tenuous thing, however, as the project has 27 days to go and over three quarters of a million dollars to raise. Yet if there's one positive to be taken away from yesterday, it's this. The project is still up. Chris Taylor still believes that Wildman and Gas Powered Games has a chance.
Visit the Wildman Kickstarter project page for more information on the game and Gas Powered Games' plan. Also, make sure to check out Chris Taylor's update on yesterday's layoffs. We wish everyone at Gas Powered Games a fast and successful turnaround, whether that be as a result of Wildman's Kickstarter success or in greener pastures.