Rockstar Vienna closes its doors

This morning, as I came into work, I was greeted by security guards. It turned out Take-Two has closed their Rockstar Vienna office, effective immediately, “due to the challenging environment facing the video game business and our Company during this platform transition”.

This is the first time in 15 years that I’ve been laid off, or have had the place where I work shut down. Before now, I have always seen the writing on the wall in time and have gotten out before anything drastic happened. So this is kind of a new experience for me.

This being Europe, I am not going to be living under a bridge tomorrow, but nevertheless this is a big upheaval. As far as I know, Rockstar Vienna was the biggest game development studio in Germany and Austria, with over a hundred employees.

Many of my coworkers – those with families and houses, those with roots in Vienna, those who invested many years of their lives in this company, those who moved here from abroad – are in difficult positions. There are few game development companies in Vienna. In the last year or so, several have let people go, merged or closed down. One hundred people will not easily find new jobs in the games business here.

For me, it comes as a relief. From January till October of 2004, I was the producer on a project here. In May 2005, I rejoined that project as a level designer. This was supposed to last a few months at most, but the project took longer and longer, and over time, I grew more and more unhappy. I cannot explain why in detail, as I cannot reveal the nature of the project (and I may never be able to), but my responsibility for the work I was doing was reduced bit by bit, until the work became utterly meaningless. Although I barely worked 8 hours a day, and usually less, this drained me both physically and emotionally. (And it also made me very crabby, which can not always have been easy for my poor coworkers.) I don’t blame anyone in the studio for this, but I am glad it’s over, even if nearly two years of effort was for nothing.

Obviously, I could not have talked about this on this blog, not even if I had left, which I had been seriously considering. So this explains my reduced posting frequency on this blog over the last few months. I guess by now I can say that if I am not posting, I am probably not happy. It is hard to be enthusiastic about your medium and your profession when your work is deeply unsatisfying, and it is hard to talk about what could be done in games if you feel absolutely powerless to implement any idea you have.

About a month ago, Dan Cook of Lost Garden wrote an excellent post on the joys of leaving the games industry. And for the first time in fifteen years I seriously considered it. Not all of the reasons Dan lists applied to my situation. Rockstar Vienna was better run than most game development studios. The first factor that really resonated with me was:

A general lack of exciting projects: The chance of working on a truly meaningful game project that changes the world is slim. I’m an oddball in that I enjoy making games with interesting new game mechanics. Churning out sequels with mildly upgraded graphics does not seem like a worthwhile way to spend my life. This isn’t insurmountable, but it does reduce the number of viable opportunities.

This may seem strange. Rockstar Games! They have the hottest brands in the industry. That was exciting for a while. But I wanted to do things that push the medium, and that was just not happening for me. Ironically so, since Sam Houser really wants to push the medium too, and I respect him for it. Somewhere in between, something got lost.

The second factor was:

Making the world a better place: The applications I build now help people in a very concrete way. I like that warm fuzzy feeling. I was talking to a fellow lapsed game developer who now works in 3d imaging in the medical field. He told me “The work I do now saves people’s lives. You can’t beat that.” There is a moral core that is missing from the game development community that exists in other industries, even in other entertainment sectors. In movies, you can still make documentaries that right past wrongs. In books, you can seek to help and enlighten. In games? I wonder.

This is hopefully a bit more understandable. The Hot Coffee brouhaha, ridiculous as it was in many respects, did nothing to increase the popularity of Rockstar Games both inside and outside of the industry. Whichever way you look at it, game development has become a bit harder for everyone because of that incident.

About a year ago, I was sitting in a taxi with three other people, on our way back from a wedding party. One of them worked for the UN agency that runs the worldwide monitoring network that can detect whether someone is doing underground nuclear tests. One of them was a domestic violence counselor. One of them was a teacher in one of the toughest high schools in New York. And one of them was making violent video games. That was me.

Last Friday, I was at the FMX in Stuttgart. I had the good fortune of sitting next to Dr. Paul Ekman at dinner. I like to think I can make a decent contribution to most discussions, but in this case I was happy to sit there and listen to him talk about psychology and ethics and his conversations with the Dalai Lama. The dinner was sponsored by Nvidia, and at some point their worldwide marketing manager for film came over to say hi. She introduced herself to Dr. Ekman, who asked her who she was. Upon being told, he asked: ‘And what does your company do?”. This made me laugh. Not at Dr. Ekman, nor at the lady from Nvidia, who took it gracefully. It was a funny reminder that there is more than our tiny little industry.

Will I leave the industry? I don’t know. So far, having my place of work shut down has given me energy. It’s time to roll up my sleeves and start looking for something new.

If you know someone who could use someone like me, do let me know. I will work almost anywhere, but I can be a bit picky about projects and companies. And if you know someone who is looking for good people in Germany or Austria, let me know too. I know several who are looking for a job.

Update: My blog is read by more people than I suspected :). After writing this, I went to an outside beer garden here in Vienna to have a drink or two with my former coworkers. It turned out people had browsed to my site on their cell phones and had read this entry out loud to the others. I guess my need to blab about stuff as soon as possible was wider known than I thought.

It’s also been linked to on Gamasutra and Wikipedia (and no, I didn’t put that in myself).

I’ve also gotten several head-hunting emails.

(If you’re reading this and you used to work at Rockstar Vienna: there’s a bulletin board for former employees. Contact me if you want to know the URL.)

Update 2: Criminy, this is on Gamespot now too. And for once most of my incoming links are not Google searches on ‘WoW nude patch’. Rockstar Games so does not like not having control over outgoing information. Under different circumstances, I’d worry about losing my job.

(To the guy who said the closure was no great loss cause we never made games for Nintendo platforms: I actually thought that was funny.)

Here is some commentary from Leander Schock, another former coworker and a great guy.

Still no official press release (as of 1 AM).

Update 3: I’m moving some info from the comments here, so they don’t get lost and because it’s hard to see who wrote what (which no-one ever pointed out to me before, grmbl).

A couple of notes: Austrian labor law basically doesn’t allow one to put people on the streets right away. We’re getting paid for a while yet. From what I’ve seen and heard, the two founders of the studio are bending over backwards to make this process more humane than is absolutely required. We did receive information on possible jobs in other T2 studios, on recruiters, etc. It’s not the most lavish process, but it’s something.

I think the way the layoff was handled makes sense, within the context of a typical public company. You want to make the transition quick – it’ll be a shock anyway, so why not make it as short as possible? Imagine if you’d known about it for weeks but couldn’t have told anyone… terrible. You want to make sure people don’t do anything stupid and you want to protect your assets, hence the security guards. It’s assuming the worst of people, but at least you’re safe.

On a higher level, you want to make sure the company is run efficiently, and you want to be seen running the company efficiently by shareholders. Capitalism at work – T2 opening a studio in Shanghai fits nicely somehow.

Naturally, down in the trenches it feels different, and it would’ve been nice to work for a company that handles this differently. But very few do.

The only criticism I can make is that this is a very drastic solution – if there was a problem, couldn’t this have been foreseen earlier, and dealt with differently?

The closure has been officially confirmed now by Take 2. And that’s all true from where I’m sitting.

Thanks for all the kind messages. I never imagined this blog post would hit pretty much every major gaming news site, as well as several Austrian mainstream news sites.

Comments 56

  1. Lopp wrote:

    Sounds like good bad news, hope things work out for you and your co-workers.

    I think the points you highlighted from Cook’s post are much broader than the games industry, certainly they apply to my own feelings in the general software industry (currently doing construction industry collaborative web app), and to friends who are in the insurance/financial industry. It is only rewarding in a very narrow “i’m good at my job” sort of way, neither intrinsically exciting nor world changing.

    I’m about to drop out of development and probably shift into teaching (preferrably not technology to start with), I wish you lots of luck in finding something more broadly concretely satisfying now that the opportunity is staring at you.


    Posted 11 May 2006 at 17:21
  2. kandyman wrote:

    ROFL Y0U SUCK !!!!1

    Actually, you don’t. Cheers.

    Posted 11 May 2006 at 18:36
  3. Markus Friedl wrote:

    I heard about this the first time this morning and I am still completely shocked!!!
    As you know, I know a lot of you guys personally and I value you and many others working with you as very good and trusted friends. You all are something like my all-time second game industry family and, as mentioned, a lot of you are more than that – you are good friends.

    All the more I was seriously shocked today when I heard about the closure of R*V and all the more I wish you and everybody else affected the very, very best of luck!

    Posted 11 May 2006 at 18:39
  4. niko wrote:

    wow! sad. I heard rumors about this this morning, but I couldn’t believe them after I read your blog post today. For the last year, I tried out working outside the games industry, and it’s fun too. And interesting. Maybe really a nice option.

    Posted 11 May 2006 at 20:57
  5. Christian wrote:

    Courage !! Et desolé pour toi.

    Viens donc bosser a montreal !! bonne ambiance et tout.

    Posted 11 May 2006 at 22:12
  6. Nick Hernandez wrote:

    Wow. No warning whatsoever — that’s really crazy. I personally think the new consoles will offer exciting new opportunities for games, so long as they aren’t branded to death. Maybe branding is the real problem. Best of luck with the job and soul searching.

    Posted 11 May 2006 at 22:48
  7. Morgan wrote:

    Well, I know what I would do in that situation. Start a company.

    By the way, Raph Koster talks about the “moral core” in his book, A Theory of Fun for Game Design.

    Posted 11 May 2006 at 23:56
  8. Jurie Horneman wrote:

    Thank you for all of your kind comments.

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 0:53
  9. Ex-Rockstar wrote:

    like someone from the ex-team said today: “it could have been worse – it could have been winter” … but that’s about as funny as it’s going to get…
    the thing that really pisses me off (apart from the fact that i had a job i reeeeaaaaally enjoyed) is that people who devote a major part of their lives to a company, get treated like waste once the company deems them unnecessary. nice, thank you. we got the point…
    i’m actually not talking about vienna’s management, who -judging from their faces – most probably had one of their worst days at work themselves, but about some pretentious NY-manager who just says “aw, screw ‘em all, we can just impose our american mentality on them and lay ‘em off in the worst way we can imagine! maybe send a few of our security guys over there and impose a bit of terror on everyone!” … hey it worked for bush after all, they just adopted a common practice from the (not so) “land of the free”.
    Rockstar is NOT cool after all, the employees who worked for this hypocritical company WERE! good luck to all of us!!!

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 3:52
  10. Jarrett Wold wrote:

    The problem with their layoff procedure, which was zero notification, is that it very well could have provoked a violent response. Rather than proactively notifying the employees of an expected layoff well in advance, providing job search services (via contractor, or internal HR) it seems that they chose the vastly more extreme option. What would have happened had there been any incidents? It’s negligent to do layoffs in this fashion.

    If I were on their Board, whomever was the governing decision maker would have been asked to resign or fired, a formal apology issued to the employees and transition assistance given. The critical factor here is communication. If you are completely open about the entire process, the employees may not be happy about the prospect of losing their jobs, but there will be an acceptance of it.

    It also makes sound fiscal sense. The damage to reputation, recruiting losses due to this incident for other areas of the company, and the inevitable loss of talented people in other parts of the company can be catastrophic. It stands to reason if this happens to division b, it can also happen the exact same way to division a. Rockstar will lose employees due to this.

    As this snowballs it’s way through blogs, media, and the existing talent pool. It’s going to wreak havoc. In a way this could more damaging than the hot coffee incident. If this is what you do to hard working employees, who the hell would or want to work for you Rockstar?

    Anyhow, just my two cents.


    Posted 12 May 2006 at 4:32
  11. tobe wrote:

    Well, one thing needs to be understood:

    Take2 closed the studio, not Rockstar. It remains to be seen how much knowledge Rockstar Games had, but they seem to have been caught off-guard as much as the viennese guys.

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 9:41
  12. Jurie Horneman wrote:

    Well, a couple of notes: Austrian labor law basically doesn’t allow one to put people on the streets right away. We’re getting paid for a while yet. From what I’ve seen and heard, the two founders of the studio are bending over backwards to make this process more humane than is absolutely required. We did receive information on possible jobs in other T2 studios, on recruiters, etc. It’s not the most lavish process, but it’s something.

    I think the way the layoff was handled makes sense, within the context of a typical public company. You want to make the transition quick – it’ll be a shock anyway, so why not make it as short as possible? Imagine if you’d known about it for weeks but couldn’t have told anyone… terrible. You want to make sure people don’t do anything stupid and you want to protect your assets, hence the security guards. It’s assuming the worst of people, but at least you’re safe.

    On a higher level, you want to make sure the company is run efficiently, and you want to be seen running the company efficiently by shareholders. Capitalism at work – T2 opening a studio in Shanghai fits nicely somehow.

    Naturally, down in the trenches it feels different, and it would’ve been nice to work for a company that handles this differently. But very few do.

    The only criticism I can make is that this is a very drastic solution – if there was a problem, couldn’t this have been foreseen earlier, and dealt with differently?

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 10:12
  13. The_Pete wrote:

    The only reason I can think of for closing the doors suddenly is security. They just simply wanted to protect their intellectual property.

    I’ve survived studio closures and layoffs and it’s never an easy process for anyone to go through. It’s forced me to relocate countries, in the extreme cases. You just have to realize that you work in an unstable industry, even if you THINK you have stability, and it’s all about the bottom-line. This is especially true with companies with shareholders (public traded/listed).

    So, while I don’t envy you the process of “getting back on the horse”, some of my personal best moments happened while I was in transition between jobs (a nice way of saying unemployed).

    Take the time to do the things you love while you are NOT working. Discover the things in your life that you want to cultivate. You have the time. Don’t rush into your next job. You will regret it.

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 11:02
  14. Willem Kokke wrote:

    Shocking news. Surely there must be better ways to handle this..

    Good luck to everyone finding a new means of sustenance, be it in the game industry or not.

    Personally, leaving the games industry worked out well for me. Both the pay and work times are better, and I still get to tinker with 3d engine technology. I do wake up now and with a pang of regret of never completing a AAA game though :-(

    In any case, Jurie is right, take some time between jobs if you can afford it.

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 11:35
  15. Dragica wrote:

    Best of luck to you all. As an ex neo employee I was shocked to hear of the closure and the T2s way to handling it. Imagine coming to work and there are security guys all over.
    It reminds all of us, working in the game industry, that our jobs could vanish at any time. If even such a big studio as Rockstar Vienna …

    Enjoy your summer.

    PS : Good job of informing everybody.

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 12:00
  16. Ady Garrett wrote:

    Ah gee, this makes really sad reading particualry, as I’ve had a few beers. I worked there until jan this year, when I quit and left for Oz. I am increasly pleased I did that now and managed to leave the sinking ship with dry feet… All good.

    I’m working down here in Australia at BlueTongue, we’ve got some good base tech going on and I have no problem saying the world definitely is a better place for the products we make, if you’re 12!

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 12:56
  17. florida_mike wrote:

    That is a horrible story. Especially the way how Take 2 closed the office down.

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 13:03
  18. Kazroth wrote:

    This news really scared me.
    As Willem allready said : It reminds us how hard the industry sometimes can be.

    I really hope you guys get yourself some new and interesting job, no matter if it’s in the game industry or not. Hopefully you’ll find somethin more stable and more satisfying than you’ve found with T2/Rockstar

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 13:05
  19. Alice wrote:

    Hoi, Jurie! Shocking news. Stupid T2, callous, immoral.

    Come to London :)


    Posted 12 May 2006 at 13:19
  20. Jurie Horneman wrote:

    Thanks Alice :)

    But you’re going to LA! :P

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 13:36
  21. Jurie Horneman wrote:

    Officially confirmed now by Take 2:

    And that’s all true from where I’m sitting.

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 14:07
  22. Jarek Kolar wrote:

    Hey, Take2 has always acted badly. Due to their approach our team Pterodon (Vietcong, Vietcong2) had to be cancelled just last autumn. So I can understand how you feel. But the idea of resigning from the games industry is not right. I am working 14 years on games and I wouldn’t give up so easily. Making games is great.

    Most of Pterodon including myself have moved to Illusion Softworks and it’s not bad. The company is still looking for more people. I would like to welcome some skilled ex-rockstar developers here. Illusion office is in Brno just an hour drive from Vienna. So if you want to work in the industry without moving check it out.

    Illusion has always done interesting projects and those next gen ones we are doing now are good. The team structure is ok, quite big for me, but it’s next gen time, there are english producers with big experience and talented guys, mostly from Czech and Slovakia, but also Italy and France.

    If you want more info about this, we can chat. Contact me on

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 14:21
  23. Michael Raasch wrote:

    hey Jurie

    just read about the shut down on a German website. Blimey. Sometimes I reflect our heydays at Thalion and would love to be back in the gaming industry. Heads up. As some poster mentioned above. Come to London. Marc should give you a job.

    Bye from Tower Bridge

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 16:55
  24. Nikolaus Heger wrote:

    While something like this is unheard of in Austria, it’s pretty normal in the U.S. I have been walked off Apple’s campus by security guards, along with the 20+ other people on the team.
    The official reason was to ensure that ex-employees with a grudge don’t do any of the following: Steal stuff, steal data, sabotage things (like making your code totally unreadable or something like that, implement back doors, easter eggs, etc. I must say I can kind of understand that.
    The difference in the U.S. is that the company has every right to stop paying your salary _tomorrow_. Most reputable companies offer compensation packages (as did Apple) but they don’t have to.

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 17:09
  25. Hamfist wrote:

    This comes as a terrible shock, you guys all have my sympathy. Given that this is pretty much how T2 recently dealt with Indie Build I guess that’s going to be their modus operandi in the future. yipee. Feel the love.

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 18:20
  26. Jurie Horneman wrote:

    Yes, this is how it’s done in the US. It’s surprising to see it done in Europe. Not to mention the waste of it all…

    I’ve always been a bit paranoid and have kept my personal and company stuff well separated. This should make things a bit easier when I’m allowed in to grab my belongings. Still… it sucks.

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 18:33
  27. Steve wrote:

    Sorry to hear about the situation there – I was lucky to leave a terrible company a while ago just before it imploded due to Spidey Sense and writing on the wall stuff which you’ve talked about, though to suddenly be fired like that must be a terrible situation.

    I’m working in Midway Newcastle at the moment and there are plenty of job openings here for anyone willing to relocate. Go to the Newcastle section of and see if anything floats your boat. Hopefully some good can come out of this horribleness.

    Best wishes and good luck with the job hunting!

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 18:35
  28. Jurie Horneman wrote:

    Some people got confused over who wrote what comment: I’ve tweaked the CSS to hopefully make it a bit clearer. The comment info is under the comment. I’ve been wanting to redesign this site, now I have time for it… but not right away.

    I’ve resisted the urge to add Google Ads to this site :P

    Posted 12 May 2006 at 19:43
  29. Twisted wrote:

    I was an employee at Indie Built, a 2K Dev studio in Salt Lake City. They did exactly the same thing to us two weeks ago and it was quite a shock. I empathise with your situation.

    I think Take 2 could have handled it a little more tactfully, I was at Microsoft Game Studios when they laid off 40 people and although I was not affected I though they handled it badly, with hindsight they handled it very well compared to Take 2.

    Posted 13 May 2006 at 1:06
  30. Jeffool wrote:

    I hope all goes well, good sir. Be it this industry or another, I hope your next job is one that fuels that fire within you that seems to want to contribute so meaningfully.

    Posted 13 May 2006 at 6:50
  31. kp wrote:

    There is always Linden Labs, sounds like you have the right attitude for them.

    Posted 13 May 2006 at 7:19
  32. Roman Pfneudl - vertex4 wrote:

    Hey guys !

    Sorry to read about that. I had my eye on neo from the first time i heard i about them.
    Vertex4 is really seeking 1-2 good c/c++ coders for skirmish ai / GUI stuff, and maybe
    also some map scripters. The position(s) are probably for 2-3 months from now on. So if
    some of you guys is interested, pls write me:

    Posted 13 May 2006 at 10:07
  33. spoofi wrote:

    good luck !

    Posted 13 May 2006 at 13:05
  34. brbnz wrote:

    Sorry about your job loss.

    Posted 13 May 2006 at 16:55
  35. Scott Miller wrote:

    You wrote: “This may seem strange. Rockstar Games! They have the hottest brands in the industry.”

    Oh really?! Other than GTA, a brand Rockstar did not invent themselves (they bought the IP from DMA), what have they created that’s truly a hit? Manhunt? Nope. Warriors? Nope…not a huge hit, and not their home grown brand. Max Payne? Nope…that’s 3D Realms and Remedy’s IP, later bought by Rockstar and stuck in a dark, forgotten hole (they should have had a Max Payne launch title for the 360–a serious oversight).

    2K Games is becoming the powerhouse of Take2’s divisions. GTA will always be among the industry’s super-IPs, but Rockstar so far is no different than Eidos, in that they’ve had one success and everything else is on par with the same-old-same-old the rest of the industry puts out.

    Posted 14 May 2006 at 20:57
  36. David wrote:


    Though I never worked in the game industry myself, I do know how it feels to be forced to let go of years of development. But please don’t leave because of this! Start up your own business and make it work your way! There are always opportunities, and change is never all bad. I’d love to see some inspired studios pop out of nothing in a few months from now, right here in vienna! Maybe you get going just by selling a “GrandPublisherWipeout” adventure or a “PublisherPunisher” shooter to fellow developers around the world… *eg*


    Posted 14 May 2006 at 22:39
  37. yo wrote:

    Take2 sucks…

    Lo siento, y mucha suerte para ti :)

    Posted 15 May 2006 at 9:02
  38. niNo wrote:

    Hey guys, My sympathy goes to all of you ex-Rockstars.

    I’ve never worked with the Gaming Industry, but I’ve had an interview with Rockstar Vienna sometime in late august last year. To be honest they promised me alot and it took them almost 4 months (December) to clarify that they actually found someone for that position internally. Which kinda explain the cock-ups today. This was enough to cost me the Job offered by Blizzard Ent. in Paris, (yes, I rejected Blizzard). I dont hold grudges, and I am glad it went this way.

    I work now with the world’s biggest online recruitment company (not saying names:)) at a development centre of more that 300 people in Prague, ( I made the move from Vienna to Prague)
    IF any of you need any help with a new job, willing to relocate to Prague and if I can help. Then dont hesitate to write me at my hotmail address ( with a short description and I’ll see how I can help.


    (to the owner of the blog: I hope you dont mind me writing this)

    Posted 15 May 2006 at 10:42
  39. Perfect wrote:

    Boy, that’s really sweet. You lose your job and Scott Miller does a driveby telling you how stupid you are.

    How can the world not love that man?

    Posted 15 May 2006 at 14:44
  40. mahtiaivo wrote:

    long live capitalism! \o/

    Posted 15 May 2006 at 21:50
  41. Canadian Goaltender wrote:

    To former R*V’s

    Well, it totally sucks that this happened. Like Steve, I totally saw it coming and luckily got out of there before the hammer dropped. What was frustrating about my time there was that everyone with industry experience knew what was wrong but they weren’t listened to…or when they were…the powers-that-be took it personal and got upset. Porting a game is one thing. Developing one from scratch is completely different. R*V needed people with experience developing a game to run the show. Instead, time was wasted with bureaucracy and making sure everyone logged how many hours one spent in meetings during the day. Relaxed atmosphere it was not. Having said that, it was still a great experience for me and I am still glad I went there.

    Most of the people I worked with were great and talented. It’s too bad all that effort has gone to waste. I sincerely hope everyone finds work elsewhere soon…there are a few I would certainly vouch for if they wanted to work here in San Diego(…if you want to get in contact with me, you can reach me on LinkedIn…

    Posted 15 May 2006 at 23:37
  42. Martina Vergeiner wrote:

    Hi guys,
    sorry to read about all that!
    If you are now looking for a much more stable environment, have a look at
    We are an austrian company with offices in Vienna + Boston.
    The product development is done exclusively in Vienna and we are going to hire 10 strong C++ Developers in order to expand our teams.

    Let me know if you are interested!

    Posted 16 May 2006 at 10:20
  43. glenneroo wrote:

    what a bummer! aber so ist das Leben… voll mit Überraschungen *g*

    g’luck on the soul searching and job hunting… but make sure you all enjoy your summer first!! :D

    it was funny too, right before this happened, i was gonna ask about doing a fun R*V fotoshoot, knowing how cool you kids are. a wee bit late for that now i guess :/

    Posted 16 May 2006 at 15:10
  44. Jurie Horneman wrote:

    Hi Glenn :) Wow, long time ago… You can still do a photoshoot you know – we just won’t be wearing the cool R* T-shirts anymore :D.

    Posted 16 May 2006 at 15:24
  45. Kathy Gibson wrote:

    I’m really sorry to hear of the Vienna closure. If you or anyone viewing your site is interested in Beautiful Vancouver, Canada & Threewave Software { } please feel free to e-mail me directly. Best of luck to everyone this closure has impacted.
    Kathy Gibson, Director of Human Resources

    Posted 16 May 2006 at 20:28
  46. clark wrote:

    We’d like to do outplacement for those talents potentially interested in Los Angeles (Westwood/Bev Hills)

    we have been lucky enough to never yet have had a layoff and we are growing year over year 35%

    Posted 16 May 2006 at 21:14
  47. Rob at Seapine wrote:

    Hello Jurie and all of the former Rockstars.

    We were shocked at the news of the closing and wish all of you the best of luck. If you are looking to relocate to the boring town of Cincinnati, check out our job postings on or go here: I know that the world of development tools is not as exiting as games, but as Martina at Altova implied, stability is also nice. I am glad to hear that Jeff is in sunny San Diego although I am not sure how much goaltending he can do there… I know that his old team could have used him this year.

    I do wish all of you the best of luck and success for your futures. Those of you I got to meet thanks for support our tools and giving us ideas for improving. For many of the other posters, thanks for continuing to use them. Let me know if I can help in any way – such as references for employment opps at Seapine.

    Rob at Seapine

    Posted 17 May 2006 at 11:30
  48. George Nimeh wrote:


    Bummer. Very sorry.

    Positive things:
    1) I think you’ve wanted to leave for a while, just not this way.
    2) Summer in Wien is lovely, and now you can enjoy it.
    3) Glenneroo wants to take your picture.
    4) Your blog is gaining in popularity. (You might wanna add some ads.)
    5) We have a guest room in London. Stop by. :-)
    6) This list could go on and on, if you think about it …

    Talk soon,

    Posted 18 May 2006 at 14:34
  49. Harald Seeley wrote:

    Sorry to hear about the layoff, everyone who’s worked in this industry for any length of time has probably been through it. However, RS Vienna was not the only big Euro studio, and we here at Crytek in Frankfurt, Germany have a number of openings we are trying to fill, and in case we don’t have an opening posted that fits, we have other open positions that have not yet been announced… particulary we are looking for experienced programmers, animators and concept and texture artists. You and your former colleagues can go to our website at or, or, if you or they don’t see something that fits your job skills, send me your resume directly… ;) Best part is, we also work on our own original IP, which seems to be getting a lot of good press since the GDC…

    Good luck to you and the rest!

    – Harald
    Crysis Dev. Dir.

    Posted 19 May 2006 at 15:02
  50. Jurie Horneman wrote:

    Thanks Harald. I didn’t know Crytek was so big already, or that you’d moved to Frankfurt :). I’ve forwarded the info to our bulletin board.

    Posted 19 May 2006 at 17:40
  51. Garreth Gaydon wrote:

    Hi, I would just like to offer our services to anyone affected by the closure of Rockstar Vienna,
    We are a games industry recruitment agency based in the UK and currently have a number of urgent positions that need filling.
    If you would like to know more information please do not hesitate to get in touch.

    Good luck to everyone and I hope this does not put you off in working in the best industry in the world.

    Kind Regards

    Posted 22 May 2006 at 13:25
  52. Garreth Gaydon wrote:

    Sorry everybody forgot to post my e-mail

    Thanks to everyone who has got in touch so far, i have been amazed by the high standard of work and im sure i will have no problem finding you new positions within the industry.



    Posted 22 May 2006 at 16:39
  53. Cicele Aitken wrote:


    I’m very sorry to hear about the layoffs. If you or any former Rockstar Viennas are interested in hearing about opportunities at EA or perhaps just interested in an introduction, please feel free to contact me. In the meantime, best of luck to all of you and feel free to connect with me on linked in for networking purposes.

    Warmest Regards

    Posted 24 May 2006 at 0:30
  54. Michael Knapp wrote:

    New job, new luck :-)
    For everybody interested in a job in the field of medical software.
    Currently we are searching highly motivated Java developers for our
    radiology software at our location here in _Vienna_.
    Please contact me (e-mail) for questions or further contact information
    directly or send your application directly to
    the address in the official job description below.

    Best regards,

    Posted 26 May 2006 at 23:46
  55. Matthias Pokorny wrote:

    Devastating news that Rockstar has closed…

    I had my eyes on them ever since I started to work here at SCEE Liverpool. Now when I’m actually ready to return to Austria I hear this!!! Any rumours that the core company (NEO) will regroup and start something new?

    Uprisin’ Junior 3D Artist

    Posted 30 May 2006 at 15:58
  56. Chris Wells wrote:

    Hey Jurie,
    I just heard about this from Alan who actually was reassigned to Toronto a few weeks before all of this. I found your blog and wish you all the best. (PS. I saw you in the Spar on Praterstrasse about a month ago but I was stuck in queue and you were on your way out the door). Anyway keep in touch!

    Posted 06 Jun 2006 at 12:31

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 9

  1. From codemonkey uk from Hulver's site on 12 May 2006 at 0:44


    I guessed if I gave it a bit of time someone would save me the bother of actually writting about it myself: Rockstar Vienna, Fin. Meh. Blah.Anyone need an experienced programmer and of team lead?

  2. From Eyeweiss on 12 May 2006 at 9:36

    Take2 closes Rockstar Vienna …

    Take2 closes Rockstar Vienna in a surprise combo attack!

    It remains to be seen what T2’s reasons for the rather unorthodox timing where, but one thing it clear: the 97 employees that where kept from entering the site will most likely not finish an…

  3. From Der Blog um alles und um nichts on 12 May 2006 at 12:07

    Der sterreichische Spieleentwickler sperrt zu

    Wie ich ber gerade mitbekommen habe schliet Rockstar Vienna. Das an und fr sich ist ja nichts ungewhnlich. Die Konkurrenz ist hart und so gro ist die Br…

  4. From Kotaku on 12 May 2006 at 12:45

    100 Rockstar Vienna Devs Fired

    The offices Rockstar Vienna the wispy-mustached lederhose subsidiary of Rockstar Games that was responsible for porting the Grand Theft Auto games to the XBox (and somehow managing to make them look more detailed than the PC versions) as well…

  5. From Quicklinks on 12 May 2006 at 16:48

    Rockstar Niederlassung in Wien macht dicht

    Rockstar Vienna existiert wohl bald nicht mehr. Hier schreibt ein (nun wohl ehemaliger) Mitarbeiter von der Schließung. Noch gibt es keine offizielle Stellungnahme seitens Rockstar oder des Publishers. Sehr überraschend und nicht auf die feine europäische Art …

  6. From BDGamer on 15 May 2006 at 9:54

    Rockstar Closes Vienna Studio

    In a post to his blog, developer Jurie Horneman, an employee at Rockstar Vienna revealed that the Austrian game development studio was shut down, leaving more than a hundred employees jobless.
    This was confirmed by Rockstar later; the company said that…

  7. From Guardian Unlimited: Gamesblog on 16 May 2006 at 16:34

    Rockstar Vienna: blogger reveals the consequences of closure

    Last week, Take Two confirmed that it had closed its Rockstar Vienna studio, promising that staff would be re-located to other offices ‘where possible’. This was hardly one of the company’s flagship developers – previously operating as neo Software Pro…

  8. From Gamerz World Network on 19 May 2006 at 4:50

    Rockstar Vienna shuts down!

    A developer at Rockstar Vienna has blogged about what happend. You can find the post at Intelligent-Artifice

  9. From Artistic Merits of Violence in Games « Berzerk Raccoon’s Blog on 28 Nov 2009 at 16:55

    […] in games. You heard me right – the artistic merits of violence. Jurie Horneman, a former Rockstar, is going to try and find some value in the use of violence in games, while keeping in mind that […]