'Life is Strange: Before the Storm' headed to Mac, 'Fruit Ninja' creator lays off half its...

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Deck Nine's popular PC and console adventure game "Life is Strange: Before the Storm" is being ported to the Mac this spring, publisher Feral Interactive said on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Australian "Fruit Ninja" developer Halfbrick has suffered a major setback, losing half of its workforce.




Despite having two huge game successes on mobile -- "Fruit Ninja" and "Jetpack Joyride" -- Halfbrick fired as many as 30 people this week, according to CNET. That's about half of the company's staff.

At one point Halfbrick employed as many as 100 people, include 70 full-time workers at its Brisbane office. The company has had trouble replicating the success of its flagship titles though, and switched from making completely new games to exploiting its existing franchises.

In 2015 Halfbrick laid off its design team, and in July 2016, it shut down an office in Sydney. The company still has a Spanish office, but even the Brisbane HQ is now said to have less than 30 people.

Success on the iOS App Store can sometimes be fleeting. iPhone and iPad owners are often unwilling to pay much upfront for games, and Apple doesn't let developers charge for incremental updates, which has led to "freemium" stategies like Halfbrick's in which people pay for in-game currency and/or bonuses.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm




"Before the Storm" is a prequel in which players assume the role of teenager Chloe Price as she deals with her friendship with Rachel Amber, and an ensuing series of tragic events. Gameplay consists of a mix of exploration, puzzle-solving, and conversation. Certain decisions will alter the plot of the game.

Though "Before the Storm" lacks the time travel mechanic of its predecessor, Chloe can use "Backtalk" to get out of some situations -- at the risk of making things worse.




The Mac release will actually be a deluxe edition, containing all three original episodes plus the bonus episode "Farewell."



Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 5,341member
    70-100 FT staff seems rather large for a company with a one or two mobile hits. Game companies of yore produced a lot more with a lot less (thinking of the Sierra glory days here)...
    jbdragonSpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 7
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,535member
    PUBG for Mac please....pretty please?
  • Reply 3 of 7
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,815member
    I do HATE freemium games, and the rise of them in part has come because of Apple's policy's. I would rather pay a small amount for an app upgrade. The only way it seems to get around this is to release a new version with a higher number and then everyone is paying full price to get that upgrade instead of a lower priced Upgrade fee. Why Apple, Why???? So many games I've just refused to download because they're Freemium and then just end up costing you a whole lot more money because the game is almost worthless otherwise.
  • Reply 4 of 7
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,299member
    Try writing some games with actual substance and replayability. Not a 5 minute game for kids.
  • Reply 5 of 7
    chasmchasm Posts: 753member
    For the record, Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride do not depend on in-app purchases to be playable. you get the full game, and can earn extra abilities through in-game play; the purchases are almost solely to avoid the grinding of in-game currency acquisition. In the case of Jetpack Joyride, you can mostly purchase costume accessories for the character (unneeded, makes no difference in gameplay) or earn them by playing for a bit each day. IOW most in-app purchases in games such as these are optional or speed-driven rather than required.

    That said, I prefer games with a set price and no in-app purchases apart from one price to remove ads and/or unlock all the "pro" features. I'm happy to support developers in this way if I find the app is highly useful to me, and I always look at the "purchases" section and description on apps I'm considering to see if this is how they handle it. Part of this, however, requires understanding and accepting that iOS apps that you love/are useful are worth more than a buck or two, or even five.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 6 of 7
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 2,726member
    chasm said:
    For the record, Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride do not depend on in-app purchases to be playable. you get the full game, and can earn extra abilities through in-game play; the purchases are almost solely to avoid the grinding of in-game currency acquisition. In the case of Jetpack Joyride, you can mostly purchase costume accessories for the character (unneeded, makes no difference in gameplay) or earn them by playing for a bit each day. IOW most in-app purchases in games such as these are optional or speed-driven rather than required.

    That said, I prefer games with a set price and no in-app purchases apart from one price to remove ads and/or unlock all the "pro" features. I'm happy to support developers in this way if I find the app is highly useful to me, and I always look at the "purchases" section and description on apps I'm considering to see if this is how they handle it. Part of this, however, requires understanding and accepting that iOS apps that you love/are useful are worth more than a buck or two, or even five.
    Both games are / were of high quality and highly entertaining.  Just simply well done.   And, like you, I and my grandson enjoyed playing them without having to buy enhancements for them.

    But then development seemed to drop off.   My gut feel is that they may have lost their genius who drove the process and so they tried to make up for it with increased staff -- which always fails.  You can't replace quality with quantity -- at least not when it comes to creative and productive staff.
    ... Perhaps this isn't the case.   But I've seen it happen too often in demanding areas like art and IT.
  • Reply 7 of 7
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,752member
    Rovio, creator of the Angry Birds games, has also had large layoffs and problems replicating early successes. The game biz is very, very competitive and other than a relative few companies, success is usually fleeting.
    GeorgeBMac
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