Be­ing Rushed out

The de­vel­op­ers of On­rush and Drive­club have been hit by wide-reach­ing lay­offs

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - INSIDER -

It’s never nice to be the bearer of bad news, but de­spite re­view­ing well, the ex­cel­lent ve­hi­cle com­bat game On­rush didn’t quite meet ex­pec­ta­tions at re­tail, and now the de­vel­oper is see­ing wide-scale lay­offs. The stu­dio, Evo­lu­tion, hasn’t had an easy time over the last few years, orig­i­nally be­ing dropped by Sony and dis­band­ing in 2016 be­fore be­ing picked up again by Code­mas­ters.

Rac­ing games tend to be quite a tough sell, as it’s hard to mar­ket a ti­tle as be­ing unique com­pared to oth­ers in the same genre. But al­though On­rush was never ex­pected to be a huge game, it’s still mas­sively dis­ap­point­ing to hear that it didn’t do as well as it ev­i­dently de­served. The game picked up a very re­spectable 8/10 in OXM.

In re­sponse to the sales re­sults, Code­mas­ters has laid off se­nior Evo­lu­tion staff in­clud­ing, most sur­pris­ingly, Drive­club and On­rush di­rec­tor Paul ‘Rushy’ Rustchyn­sky, who was very much con­sid­ered the face of both games, and an ad­vo­cate of the genre as a whole.

It’s quite sur­pris­ing to see so many cuts from the top. Within the games in­dus­try, it’s more typ­i­cal in such sit­u­a­tions to see com­pa­nies scal­ing back on more ju­nior po­si­tions, re­plac­ing them as and when another de­vel­op­ment project comes along. The move sug­gests that Code­mas­ters may in­tend to turn the stu­dio into a more sup­port­ive role to as­sist with other games within the com­pany, or on less risky projects.

Stay on track

When ques­tioned about the cuts, a spokesper­son for Code­mas­ters said: “It is nor­mal in the course of busi­ness for game teams to evolve as projects launch and move into ser­vice, and as other new projects start. As such, it isn’t ap­pro­pri­ate to com­ment on day to day move­ment of staff changes.”

More hap­pily for On­rush play­ers, fu­ture up­dates won’t be af­fected by the staff changes, as they will still roll out as orig­i­nally planned, so those that own a copy of the game have no need to worry.

Nev­er­the­less, it sadly doesn’t paint a bright pic­ture for the fu­ture of rac­ing games, es­pe­cially those that try to do some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent aside from stan­dard tour­na­ments and straight­for­ward rac­ing com­pe­ti­tion. Codes­mas­ters’ other rac­ing game,

F1 2018, still looks set to be a sta­ble en­try this year, and well-es­tab­lished se­ries such as Forza or Need For

Speed are still safe bets. Fun kart games also seem to be a sta­ble propo­si­tion, as they ap­peal to all ages, while a lighter take on ve­hic­u­lar com­bat is an es­tab­lished char­ac­ter­is­tic of the genre.

How­ever, any­one think­ing about at­tempt­ing to en­ter the genre with a new take on rac­ing games may well be more hes­i­tant fol­low­ing the news of Evo­lu­tion’s trou­bles.

Upon re­view­ing On­rush, OXM noted: “It’s very rare to see a de­cently large bud­get and one of the best teams in the busi­ness given the chance to try some­thing com­pletely new, but that’s what’s hap­pened with On­rush. It’s a rac­ing game with SSX’s jumps and boost, Burnout’s takedown sys­tem, and CoD- style load­outs.” If a racer this in­no­va­tive can’t make it out there, who else can?

“It sadly doesn’t paint a bright pic­ture for the fu­ture of rac­ing games”

Check out our F1 2018 re­view in the next is­sue of OXM.

Above Part of the prob­lem was a lack of clear mes­sag­ing as toOn­rush’s unique sell­ing point.right Many peo­ple be­lievedOn­rush to be another racer, un­aware of the com­bat el­e­ments.

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