Rockstar Vancouver Shuts Down

Written by Taher M Siamwala on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 8:17 PM

In the wake of Radical Entertaiment's unfortunate closure comes another shock. Rockstar Vancouver, makers of the critically-acclaimed Max Payne 3, have also gone defunct.

This was not foreseen by GD or Game Analysts but as it stands, Rockstar Vancouver has been officially closed down. Wait, with this comes the opening of a new studio in Oakville, Ontario to become part of Rockstar Toronto...

But as they say, when you loose something, you gain something bigger. In this case, the unfortunate developers of the studio are in fact fortunate to have been given jobs by Rockstar in their other, more popular Canadian studio, Toronto. 35 is the number of talented developers who are now going to part of Rockstar Toronto while the others will start afresh in Rockstar Oakville. Both are Canada-based studios and will most probably work on future prospects together.

Jennifer Kolbe, Vice President for Publishing and Operations for Rockstar said," We believe a single Canadian team will make for a powerful creative force on Future projects. We plan to add more than 50 new positions to our combined Canadian team, and are pleased to be entering into this strategic partnership with the Ontario Government."

But what is the reason behind the shutdown? GD feels its got something to do with Max Payne 3. As you can check from our review of the game, it is a fabulous project with few shortcomings. So what's the problem, you might ask? Well, as successful as Max Payne 3 is critically, the same cannot be said about it's commercial performance which is okay, at best.

If you flex those muscles in your brain, you will recall that this game released alongside Diablo III which was, in our view, more anticipated. And as sales figures started pouring in, we were not surprised to see Diablo III totally outperform Max Payne 3 by a mile. Not to forget is the fact that Diablo III was a PC-exclusive to Max Payne 3's Multi-Platform status, which put Rockstar in a terrible fix, than it already was. This might be the next-best reason for the studio's ouster after Rockstar has it's say.    

R* Vancouver down and out.

So what does this mean for the dame-dork-drunk Max's future? Well, your guess is as good as ours. Rockstar themselves inherited the franchise from Remedy Entertainment, who moved on to Alan Wake. There was hope that this beloved franchise would move on post-Max Payne 3 but it's future seems bleak. A shame for their 8 years worth of hard work. On the sunnier side, hopes have risen for another dormant franchise...

Bully 2. There's been long-calling by fans still invested in this game. Rockstar Toronto, popular as they are, haven't a lead a game in sometime. With reinforcements from Vancouver and another 50 developers promised by Rockstar with the help of the Ontario Government, will they start work work on this game? Time will tell. Though, Rockstar did say about working on Bully 2 after Max Payne 3 shipped, so there!

In any case, our thoughts and wishes go out to those unfortunate developers who couldn't find a place at Rockstar. Hope you guys get recruited by some other reputed publisher who rightly put your talents to use.

Was this a boon-or-bane for the Rockstar team? What are your thoughts on Max Payne's future? Will a 'Bully' game suffice for the loss? Do share your thoughts below.

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11:10 Jul-12-2012

I don't get why you all can't understand game studio are being cancelled.
1)people don't buy games because they DL demo/pirated ver. and get disghusted or bored, so they don't buy it
2)publishers wanna have much money of "good sounding" game so the always try to ruin developer studios
3)often developer studios just make "restart", rename and still same people work there
4).....you can add GDers :-D

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15:16 Jul-15-2012

1) Developers don't get closed down because of this. They close because their games under-perform in the marketplace. While piracy is obviously a concern, it's not bad enough to destroy the video game industry as a whole. If that were the case, there would be NO new games coming from any studio since publishers' investment dollars would yield a higher ROI in another business altogether. Companies like Activision and EA are still making plenty of money making games.
2) I think you're trying to say that publishers only take financial risks on "good ideas." Well... yeah! Wouldn't you? If a developer comes up with a terrible game idea, they do not deserve the production capital.
3) Yes, many talented developers have left the relative safety of big-name publishers and have created their own "empires." Sometimes this works (Infinity Ward) and sometimes it does not (Ion Storm)

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17:27 Jul-15-2012

1) I know where you are coming from, but for the PC-only platform, things don't quite..shine. There's a cycle here IMO.
--PC(only)games ship-they underperformance/bomb- developers liquidate. OR
--if they succeed- get pirated to the "T"- Publishers either stop making PC games or give us the short end of the stick.
So, publishers making money like that is historically, not awesome.
2) I totally agree.
3) I'd name them "kingdoms" who are always overruled by "empires", for better or worse..

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17:39 Jul-15-2012

Oh, I totally agree that the PC-only marketplace has problems. Unless your name is Blizzard, Sid Meier, or Gabe Newell, it seems like you're destined for failure. The problem is the market has become so console-driven that publishers are afraid of taking chances on a PC-only audience, unless it already has a history of success (see: Blizzard, Sid Meier, Gabe Newell). I have no problem with this model as long as publishers show the proper respect in bringing console games to the PC (such as the case with Max Payne 3, Batman: Arkham City, Battlefield 3, and others). What the general gaming populace does not see is while they're waiting for the next generation to arrive (Xbox 720, PS4), the next generation is already here if you have a halfway decent gaming PC. I don't need an Xbox 720 to play Watch Dogs and Star Wars 1313; I could play them today if they were available.

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17:43 Jul-15-2012

But even a medium-quality gaming PC still costs more than an Xbox 360 with a 320 GB HDD and Kinect (blech! on Kinect), and that's where the real problem lies. People can spend $300-$400 on that Xbox 360 package, and play in 1080p on their HDTV and be completely satisfied. Plus, the rental market for console games is very cheap and convenient. Although I would argue that the far lower prices for PC titles (especially slightly older catalog titles) really helps to make up a lot of that up-front hardware cost for a nice PC. If PC publishers want to take a crack at winning over console fanboys, now is the time. The Xbox 360 and PS3 are really teetering on the verge of obsolescence, and I think gamers are beginning to grow bored of them.

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15:36 Jul-15-2012

In the case of Rockstar Vancouver, it's not really about a poorly-performing studio as much as a consolidation by the ownership. While there have been a lot of studio closings recently due to poor sales and lack of product interest, it is not the case here. Rockstar is simply reorganizing and realigning this branch into other areas.

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16:12 Jul-15-2012

yep, but the game-designers remain and that's good :D

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16:59 Jul-15-2012

I agree 100%... it is always a shame to see a studio whose games you like close down (Bizarre Creations, Team Bondi, 3D Realms, GRIN, Pandemic, etc.). I'm happy that the talented dudes and dudettes at Rockstar Vancouver are not out of work. The next thing they need to do is start work on Max Payne 4, and bring him back to his "Noir York" origins. For me, the best parts of MP3 were the New Jersey flashbacks!

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20:17 Jul-15-2012

***dudettes :D:D:D

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10:22 Jul-17-2012

what a reply...
speechless...
then. . . . lol

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10:47 Jul-17-2012

LoL why you all write so long replies :D:D

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12:58 Jul-17-2012

it's you who started it in the first place...
don't blame me, i don't type long replies, i'm not as smart as gregsuarez...
lol

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13:03 Jul-17-2012

anyway it's good that people have their "view" on the matter :)

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18:54 Jul-18-2012

I love GD &#603

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19:17 Jul-18-2012

so cute:)

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19:33 Jul-18-2012

kawaii ne...

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21:44 Jul-11-2012

Rockstar simply MUST make more Max Payne games. I was a huge fan of the original, and the sequel consumed much of my life in late 2003 when it came out. Playing Max Payne 3 was like a big gulp of cool water in a long, dry desert. Even though I never really liked the whole shift to the Brazilian setting, hearing James McCaffrey's dulcet tones among hails of gunfire brought me back to a place of sheer gaming nirvana.
Here's what needs to happen: Remedy needs to get over their Alan Wake fascination, because, really, that game is weak. AW is too repetitive, and the story gets up its own ass way too much. They've had almost a decade break since they've last worked on a Max Payne title. They need to immediately start work on MP4 (using the tasty RAGE engine MP3 was built on), and bring Max back to the dark and seedy streets, nightclubs, tenements, and office buildings of New York.

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22:46 Jul-11-2012

As cool as this sounds, its never gonna happen. Tough luck, my friend..

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00:12 Jul-12-2012

I know... but a girl can dream ;-)

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03:39 Jul-12-2012

Yea..they're good at it ;)

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05:28 Jul-12-2012

The funny thing about MP2 is that it came out two days before I got married. It was an awesome distraction to keep me level-headed during all of the whirlwind of activity leading up to the big day. The problem was when my wife and I went on our honeymoon, I really wanted to keep playing MP2. Yes, I'm a big shameless nerdgeek, but she knew that before she married me...

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05:52 Jul-12-2012

Lucky you... :D

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21:57 Jul-16-2012

Ahahahaaa :D

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21:32 Jul-11-2012

So... There's not going to be another Max Payne game in future ?? :(

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21:45 Jul-11-2012

Bite your tongue! How dare you suggest such blasphemy!

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05:50 Jul-12-2012

hahaha... :D

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10:05 Jul-12-2012

ahahahahha sorry sorry :D

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21:31 Jul-11-2012

Just hope the better future with R* Toronto...

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21:10 Jul-11-2012

And life goes on :P

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21:18 Jul-11-2012

Sure does :)

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