Despite the fact that things are in the very early stages, Unorthodox Entertainment just completed the ‘first quarter’ in its existence. In honour of this milestone (if you want to call dealing with taxes and accounting a milestone), I’d like to share some general information on how the company came to be.
Before founding Unorthodox Entertainment in April of this year, I worked for the well known game developer, Electronic Arts. This is mentioned briefly on the About page, but I’d like to expand on this slightly with a bit more history below:
I was one of the first employees to join EA Montreal back in February of 2004. Since that time, EA Montreal grew and expanded to include EA Mobile and Bioware Montreal. Over my time with EA Montreal, I had the pleasure of working on a large variety of titles with different teams, pipelines, and engines. This was a great experience and one that I’m very thankful for. The downside, was that most of those titles didn’t meet critical or financial expectations. In the fall of 2009, EA Montreal changed their identity and became Visceral Games Montreal. Aside from a small portion of the studio assisting with development on Deadspace 2 and 3, Visceral Games Montreal floundered. In late February of this year, Visceral Games Montreal closed it’s doors before its last game (the critically panned Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel), was even finished. Approximately 150 experienced and talented game developers were laid off, including myself.
At some point in the future, I would like to share some of my experiences regarding my time with EA and some opinions on why EA Montreal failed. For now, I will simply say that I am thankful for my time at EA. I most likely would not have been able to follow my dream if things did not work out the way they did. I only hope that others affected by the layoffs were able to land on their feet as well.
After being laid off, there was a bit of panic that set in. I’m married, own a house, and have a beautiful 16 month old daughter. In other words, I have a lot of expenses to deal with, and the initial thought of not receiving a regular paycheck was quite scary and unsettling. There’s also a ‘low’ feeling that you can typically get after working for so long and hard on a game. It’s like sprinting into a wall. Thankfully for me, I’ve worked on enough games and for quite a few different companies that went under so I feel I was more ‘prepared’ for it this time around.
In hindsight, being laid off by EA was the best possible scenario for me. My last few years at EA were not nearly as enjoyable as I would have liked, and I simply wasn’t happy there anymore. I’ve wanted to create my own games for about as long as I can remember playing them, so I decided to embrace an opportunity I knew I couldn’t pass up. The experienced gained from this venture is priceless, and regardless of the company’s future success or failure, I am enjoying every second of it.