Being Rushed out
The developers of Onrush and Driveclub have been hit by wide-reaching layoffs
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.