The Murdered: Soul Suspect developer Airtight Games appears to have shut down after a visit from Geekwire to the developers headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
Airtight Games had launched what could be the company’s last game, Murdered: Soul Suspect in a multi-year development cycle with publisher Square-Enix, known for the Final Fantasy series and the properties under the Eidos brand such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Tomb Raider.
According to Todd Bishop from Geekwire,a visit to the company’s Redmond studios revealed that the equipment was for sale under heavy discount from their 15,000 square foot office. Pictures of PC dev kits, various awards and badges from E3 are visible in the Geekwire story that were left behind when the studio closed.
We have reached out to the executives of Airtight games for comment and are keeping an eye on their social media outlets for any official statements. However as of this writing there has been no official word if the company is gone for good or simply in an extreme restructuring phase after the lackluster performance of Murdered: Soul Suspect.
Perhaps the writing was on the wall back in April when IGN‘s Mitch Dyer reported on a 14-staff member layoff from the independent developer.
Jim Deal of Airtight was quoted as saying, “”This restructuring is part of the normal ebb and flow of game production. Existing projects are on schedule and Airtight Games is actively seeking partners for exciting upcoming projects.”
Kim Swift, the co-creator of Portal, went to work for Airtight Games helping develop Quantum Conundrum. Other games the studio has developed include Dark Void and a handful of mobile titles as well as one Ouya game, Soul Fjord. Kim Swift left Airtight games prior to the April layoffs to work at the newly formed Amazon Games Studios.
Murdered: Soul Suspect was also not a financial success for the company, having launched in early June, less than a month ago. The pitch was originally from Square-Enix, who was hoping to appeal towards the western market. The creative director of Square-Enix, Yosuke Shiokawa pitched the idea to Airtight Games who came back with what Airtight’s CCO described as “almost Superhero stories.”
Development was troubled from the beginning due to both a language and cultural barrier that existed in the way the two sides of the Pacific viewed ghosts. In an interview with VentureBeat from February, Mr. Bruner stated, “The process of melding a Japanese sensibility with a western sensibility about a ghost story was kind of rough, to be honest with you. There are a lot of assumptions that we weren’t even aware of, that we were making on both sides, about how to fictionally support who you are as a character in this world. It took us, I would say, a good year and a half of constant back-and-forth to get that sense of, “What, really? Oh, so that’s what you’re talking about.”
Murdered: Soul Suspect developer Airtight Games closed with mixed reviews on their last effort averaging just above 60% on the industry review aggregate Metacritic. Layoffs and restructuring are a normal occurrence within the game industry as many staff are hired on in a contract basis as development ramps up are the staff is then redundant once the game is finished. As with all situations like these we wish the staff affected by this the very best and hope that they find themselves on their feet sooner rather than later.
Image Source | Airtight Games