Eden Games Strike
Eden Games is a game development company in Lyon, France. It was founded in 1998, but operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Atari since 2002. It has produced the popular V-Rally game series as well as Test Drive Unlimited and Test Drive Unlimited 2.
In the spring of 2011, Atari announced a round of redundancies that would cut the 80 person studio by 51 positions to 29. The employees at Eden Games responded negatively to this announcement and released a statement to Gamasutra: Atari's Test Drive Unlimited Studio Goes on 'Symbolic Strike Day'. In this statement Eden workers accuse Atari of years of mismanagement and said this was just the latest round of restructuring efforts that never seemed to improve the studio.
In protest the entire Eden Games studio participated in a symbolic one-day strike on May 11, 2011. According to the statement sent to Gamasutra, Eden's demands to Atari management were to have a meeting with Atari CEO Jim Wilson, gain a stronger voice in the restructuring plan, and ensure that remaining Eden Games employees receive the same compensation as Atari employees.
No response from Atari was reported upon. In a follow-up Q&A which Gamasutra published alongside their original story, an Eden Games representative said that they had been attempting to negotiate with Atari for two weeks prior to the strike, with no response.
Additional News Coverage:
- May 11, 2011: Matt Martin gameindustrybiz: Redundancies spark strike at Eden Games
- May 11, 2011: John Walker Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Eden Games goes on strike against Atari
May 11, 2011: Robert Purchese Eurogamer: Test Drive 2 dev Eden goes on strike
The Closure of Eden
Following the one-day strike, the conditions did not improve at Eden. One year later on May 11, 2012 Eurogamer reported that according to Atari's financial reports, Eden "has been accounted for as 'Discontinued Operations' under IFRS 5, as the Company has started a divestiture process of the studio". Atari issued a statement indicating that this did not mean the studio was closing and they would continue to support the console and PC games of Eden. However, one year later on April 12, 2013 Eurogamer reported that the studio was placed into a state of liquidation in January, 2013 and was now closed.
Additional News Coverage:
- May 11, 2012: Own Good Kotaku: Atari kills the ignition on Test Drive's studios
- April 12, 2013: Alexa Ray Corriea Polygon: Atari subsidiary Eden Games shuttered
- April 13, 2013: Nathan Garyson Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Paradise Lost: Test Drive V-Rally Dev Eden Shut Down
- April 17, 2013: Tarun Iyer Tom's Guide: Atari closes down and liquidates Eden Games
The Future of Eden Employees
On July 5, 2011 the founding of independent studio Blossom Minds was announced. In a follow-up interview the next day with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, developer Jerome Braune said that the ground work of founding the studio was laid by a few former Eden devs who left before the restructuring took place. So following the restructuring in June, 2011 a number of displaced Eden devs went straight to Blossom Minds. In all the studio has 10 former Eden employees.