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Major game studio suddenly shuts down, blames video game journalists for leaks

A studio founded by the creator of State of Decay has shut down, with its founder blaming leaks in the gaming press for its closure.

Jeff Strain, who founded Possibility Space in 2021, told all employees last week that the studio would be closing immediately.This is every email Polygon labor reporter Nicole Carpenter getsconfirmed an April 12 post on LinkedIn from a studio employee stating that the studio had been abruptly shut down.

In an email to employees, Strain specifically cited an investigation by Kotaku investigative writer Ethan Gach as the first domino that led to the studio’s demise. Strain said Gach had been contacted to talk about the end of Crop Circle Games, a sister studio to Possibility Space’s Prytania Media brand that Strain founded in 2021 with his wife, Annie Delisi Strain.

“I was surprised to see non-public information about the Vonnegut project,” Strain wrote, citing the codename of the work in development, “that our publishing partner disclosed details of our business and financial relationships, and internal details.” [profit and loss] All company meetings are discussed and kept confidential. Strang said Gach said he received the documents from someone inside Possibility Space.

“It’s shocking to see internal team members participating in this matter under a confidentiality agreement,” Strain said.He personally flew to meet with Possibility Space’s publishing partners, during which he was told that they were unwilling to “commit the additional resources required to complete the game, so we mutually agreed to cancel [project] Vonnegut. “

All Possibility Space employees were dismissed in accordance with the labor laws of their jurisdiction. Strain said he has hired a law firm to “oversee the closure of the studio” and that representatives from the law firm will contact employees to discuss Possibility Space’s remaining obligations to them.

Whatever Kotaku was doing, it didn’t publish the story. Crop Circle Games was shut down in February and employees were furloughed. Gach’s report was also cited in a (now-deleted) statement posted by Annie Delisi Strain on the studio’s website, The Verge reported. “I resigned as CEO this winter due to illness,” she said. “While I am not aware of the contents of Mr. Gage’s article, I cannot guarantee that my personal health will be affected as a rare female chief executive in the gaming industry. The executive meeting was not mentioned in his article.”

In an email closing Possibility Space, Jeff Strain said he would be “retiring from the gaming industry to focus on my family and taking care of Annie.”

Some former employees objected to the rapidly escalating version of the strain surrounding crop circles and possibility space events. Jennifer Klasing, a former content designer at the studio, called Jeff Strain a “liar” in a LinkedIn post and said the studio’s leadership “failed us morally, ethically and financially.”

What is the possibility space doing?

Possibility Space’s “Vonnegut Plan” was never announced, so it’s hard to say. As Strain said in the email, it has publishing arrangements in place, or at least some understanding with publishers, that would make it worth ditching all airline flights to try to repair the relationship. However, it’s strange that a studio executive would run out of the house to do damage control on a story that might depict this relationship but has yet to be published.

Jeff Strain co-founded ArenaNet, the makers of Guild Wars, in 2000. He founded Undead Labs in 2009, which launched the zombie apocalypse survival adventure game State of Decay in 2013. Undead Labs was acquired by Microsoft in 2018, and State of Decay 2 launched about four months later. It has since become one of several design companies within the Xbox family to develop first-party games and release them on the console’s Xbox Game Pass service on the same day.

Featured image from Ideogram

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