October 3rd 2019
Dear friends and fans,
In July 2019, we released our newest title, Mirador. Unfortunately, the sales following the launch of the game were considerably lower than even our more pessimistic predictions, causing us to be unable to sustain the studio in its current size. Without delving too deeply into the heartbreak caused by a project like this not succeeding, it was a really bad time for everyone involved. This sadness is compounded by our need to downsize our studio and letting go several employees in August. We then began restructuring our financial planning to allow us to transition the remaining team onto a third project. This restructuring was based on an investment from a governmental entity that was already signed and expected in August of 2019.
Unfortunately, the investment was unexpectedly withdrawn. At this point, we faced a situation where we simply did not have the funds to go through with our projects. We studied different financial scenarios and the one that made the most sense was for us as CEOs to pay our employees’ remaining wages out of pocket, stop paying ourselves wages and temporarily lay off the rest of the team. We do plan on offering the employees who were temporarily laid off their positions back in 2020 when the studio will get back on its feet thanks to upcoming tax returns and revenue from our currently released games. As required by law, should we be unable to finance newer projects in the coming months, we will let go our employees and fully pay their severances.
We’re entirely conscious of how trying this situation is for our employees and colleagues who are affected by this temporary lay off and are actively working on the best resolution possible. We’ve invested our personal funds to dampen the impact of these difficult circumstances and truly did our best to inform you of all the details surrounding the loss of investment as soon as we learned them. It pains us that it was impossible for us to give everyone a sufficient notice.
To continue supporting our existing communities and maintain the revenue needed to pay our former colleagues, we continue to employ two individuals to manage all aspects of community management, communications and administration. On the other hand, us as CEOs are no longer receiving any wages either.
When it comes to the saddening allegations of sexism during meetings and other decision taking events, as CEOs and leaders of Sauropod Studio, we are extremely sorry any of our colleagues felt unfairly treated. Sauropod grew rapidly in numbers over the last three years and with this expansion, relations between employees became naturally more complex. It was never our intention to let anyone feel marginalized or to let any form of sexism or discrimination of any kind happen in our studio. Any time an official complaint was lodged, especially when it entailed discrimination, we acted quickly and in a way we felt was fair and decisive to people involved. However, such complaints were extremely rare and the human resources team never received one concerning women being talked over or having their ideas stolen. Would such an event be brought to our attention, we would have acted quickly. We have a tremendous appreciation for all the incredibly talented women who have worked at Sauropod Studio over the years and hope to have the opportunity to continue employing such skillful and passionate professionals in the future. Sauropod Studio is proud to have employed considerably more women than the average of the industry and the decision-taking roles were always almost equally composed of women and men throughout the studio’s history.
How does this affect me, as a player?
The studio is not shut down and any article claiming so are erroneous. While we are currently financially unable to plan further content updates, we continue to be available to the Castle Story and Mirador communities. As always, we will answer questions, e-mails, potentially resume community events and activities and continue engaging with our communities and our fans. Eventually, should we be able to bounce back from this hardship, we would like to continue developing games. For the time being, our focus is on supporting the ones we have and ensuring we fairly compensate all of our former colleagues as they are due.
This is a difficult and unfortunate situation for everyone involved but we maintain hope to eventually continue our passion for developing games. We hope you’ll come along for the ride when that time comes.
Thank you for your many years of support,
François & Germain