I originally posted this on Thursday night, but I forgot that some people in Lyon might read this before the company meeting where all was explained, so I took it down for a while.
This evening I noticed three industry friends twittering about being sorry for their friends' loss. I was worried - what was going on? Was this referring to people I know? As it turns out, yes: I just found out that Electronic Arts has announced massive layoffs.
As you may remember, the project I am working on at Arkane Studios in Lyon is being developed together with Electronic Arts. And from what I hear, that project is being heavily cut down. Which means that people I have come to know and like and admire at EA are being laid off. (Some of those people are in Lyon right now. Some of them are on holiday here.) And people I have come to know and like and admire at Arkane are probably going to be in a difficult situation. Nobody knows exactly what will happen, but it can't be good.
(For what it's worth: I don't blame EA. That's like blaming the weather.)
Naturally, this affects me as well. I have only just found out about this (at 9 PM) and so have not had an opportunity to discuss exactly what this will mean for me, but right now the most likely outcome is that I will be staying in Vienna, and will be available for free-lance work again in the near future. Luckily I am a fairly cautious person and have not made too many irreversible decisions yet.
Oddly, I felt pretty neutral about this until I started thinking about the people I've been working with, and until I got an email from a friend and co-worker at EA. Then it hit me.
I wish everyone affected a lot of luck and strength, particularly Raf, Arkane's CEO, who will have to deal with this crisis. If anyone can do it, he can, but it won't be easy.
I am going to start clearing out the fridge of my little hotel room, starting with the beer.
Update: Well, I should be back in Vienna on November 10th. I got the chance to see a few EA (in one case, now ex-EA) people before they left. In general, today was a bummer. I've really grown to like the people at Arkane, and Lyon as well.