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Why did Sir-tech go bankrupt?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Azrael the cat, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Azrael the cat
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    I've googled and searched the forums, but I can't find a topic that explains this. Usually the answer to 'Why did [good game developer] disappear?' is 'EA', and we all know about how Herve's own company went bankrupt, taking down the (also loss-making) publishing wing and the (consistently profitable to the bitter end) development wing of Interplay/Black Isle with it.

    But for life of me, I've got no idea what happened that sank Sir-tech. They had a very hefty back catalogue, licences that held international appeal and some superb games. I grew up on that stuff, and I don't remember any company-killing flop (I wouldn't have thought one flop would have been able to kill them anyway) - it was just that one year there were no more Sir-tech games.

    Any informed Codexer willing to enlighten us as to the last days of Sir-tech?
    Kz3r0 Brofists this.
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  2. Nickless Educated

    Nickless
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  3. Turisas Arcane Patron

    Turisas
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    Divinity: Original Sin Wasteland 2
    :lol:
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  4. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer

    Vault Dweller
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    They continued making hard turn-based games when everyone else moved to fun action games where something awesome happens when you press a button.

    http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/wizardry ... 33273.html

    If I recall correctly it took them almost a year to find a way to bring Wiz 8 to stores (which, of course, resulted in the game looking very "dated" and selling less). They made a deal directly with EB Games and got a one month only selling window.

    Also:

    http://pc.ign.com/articles/065/065299p1.html

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  5. Piety Shitpostin'

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    Codex 2012 Torment: Tides of Numenera
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  6. someone else Prophet

    someone else
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    Well, I'm glad I have an original boxed copy of Wizardry 8 and Jagged Alliance 2.
    Tagaziel Brofists this.
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  7. TalesfromtheCrypt Arcane

    TalesfromtheCrypt
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    :smug:
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  8. someone else Prophet

    someone else
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    I'm pretty sure I threw away the boxes though. :M
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  9. TalesfromtheCrypt Arcane

    TalesfromtheCrypt
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    :x
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  10. SimpleComplexity Arbiter

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    Cleve left, bringing ITZ upon them, that's why.
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  11. Cleveland Mark Blakemore Developer Übermensch

    Cleveland Mark Blakemore
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    We could approach the subject obliquely and allow you to draw your own conclusions.

    We aren't talking about a niche product here. Crusaders Wiz 7 was a megablockbuster that sold untold millions of copies. We are talking about some serious operating capital here. Sir-Tech was a big publisher. Their money constituted a massive store of profits from the Wizardry series.

    If you were producing a sequel to a game with this sort of legacy, would you allow a nobody like Directsoft in Australia, run by a guy who had never supervised the completion of a single game or software product in his life, to run the team and hire the staff?

    Until I went to work on Wizardry 8:Stones of Arnhem, it was an absolutely hopeless project. They had no source code, they had no design architecture, they did not have a single demo running despite months and months of "work," which I put quotes around because it consisted of a bunch of losers having meetings around a failed actor's table each week arguing trivia. Until I came to work for them, I gathered there wasn't anybody on the team who had the foggiest idea of how to develop a computer game.

    There was nothing running, nothing you could see and nothing you could play long after they had spent $100,000 on salaries, which is why when they hired me, they could not offer me anything even reasonable as pay. They had already spent nearly all their initial funding without producing anything of any kind that was tangible.

    Within weeks of my starting, I fielded my first demos of character creation and main menus. There was a quality there I would describe as resentment amongst the other idiots on the team as soon as this happened. They had a perfectly good dream going until I started to produce something real and spoiled it all for them. As far as I could gather, I was the only person on the team who had ever held an actual day job and worked like a grown man at an office. The rest of them had lived off the dole their entire lives, knowing little of the outside world and any responsibility for anything. They were like very evil children.

    Everybody who ever worked for Sir-Tech knows they had serious, serious management problems. Serious. I've been employed as a contractor for thirty years in software development and have never seen clowns as deranged or as sad as the Sirotek brothers. They were lost. They were complete no-hopers. I've never seen anybody in the twenty years since who was that pathetic, although a few companies have come close. The Sir-Techs were mentally checked out. Lights were on, nobody was really home. When I tried once to explain to them why it was necessary to get artists who knew how to produce 8 bit artwork, they stared at me like I was Albert Einstein. They had real trouble grasping why this might be important for an 8 bit game. They felt I should continue to hand edit all the artwork every time it was revised to clean up the pixels and convert it to the right palette, thousands of times each day. Every time the artists sent it over again, they sent it completely screwed up in 24 bit color.

    I believe the success of the series was due to D.W. Bradley and even after seven Wizardrys, neither of these two brothers knew a damn thing about organizing and managing a team of software developers. When they fell out with Bradley and his team over royalties, they were the sort of dopes who thought anybody could do this sort of thing. By the time they got desperate enough to try to find someone actually qualified, they were unwilling to spend any more, having already wasted it on the original staff.

    It was a joke. Just imagine me sobbing like the Comedian at this point in WATCHMEN before he gets thrown through the window. The Sir-Tech project I worked on was the most amazing comedy of errors you could humanly imagine.

    The Sir-Tech brothers blame "the big game publishers." Nobody who ever worked for them ever believed that crap. They had sales that most companies could only dream about and they had ten years before they could produce a sequel to Wiz 7. Ten years with a big full-time team, plenty of funding and a guaranteed market for the finished product.

    In all seriousness, Grimoire looked and played better in 1997 and was overall a better game, produced entirely from scratch by a guy who did it part-time after working all day at a full-time job, purely on his own capital and expense. I just decided it wasn't good enough and elected to rewrite and recommission nearly every element in it.
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  12. Hobo Elf Magister

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    Man, I can't wait to get my boxed copy of Grimoire. :bounce:
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  13. Malakal Arcane

    Malakal
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    Cleve explains it all (tm).

    But if its true then we know why they went under.
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  14. Serus Augur

    Serus
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    What a coincidence, i have a box for JA2 but not the CD... :lol:
    I still have Wizardry 8, box and cd.



    :thumbsup:
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  15. Blackadder Prestigious Gentleman Magister

    Blackadder
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    What gets me is the lack of any Cleve Blakemore on Mobygames, or just about any other site detailing who worked on what game.

    Does anyone have the old Wizardry manual's handy with the credits there?

    I have 6, 7 and 8. Cannot see any Cleve listed.

    http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/w ... -8/credits

    Nothing there. I am surprised they didn't list the toilet cleaner, yet no sign of Cleve.

    http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/wizar ... nt/credits

    Nothing in 7....

    http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/wizar ... ge/credits

    6, nothing...


    http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/jagge ... ce/credits

    Nothing in Jagged Alliance...

    I give up. Does anyone have a Clevian list of working titles?
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  16. Luzur Prestigious Gentleman Good Sir

    Luzur
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  17. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator Patron

    Jaesun
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    I just checked my Wizardry 8 Manual and no Cleve to be seen.
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  18. Melcar Arcane

    Melcar
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    Maybe he was using some sort of alter-ego or working undercover under an alias.
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  19. mondblut Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    mondblut
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    Their late games cost more than they could sell to the twitchcrowd.

    That, and also an attempt to go publisher with a bunch of piss-poor action titles nobody bought, just like IPLY. And no Zenimax to pour cash into them.

    Despair not though, were those action titles to succeed or a magical Zenimax saviour to appear, Sir-Tech of today would be no better than Bethsoft. So, I am glad they died in their prime without selling out and bending over to the great unwashed. Something Troika could learn from before signing up to make an FPS.
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  20. quasimodo Scholar Patron

    quasimodo
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    @Cleve: Who was responsible for JA2? In my opinion this is one of the best games ever made.
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  21. Awor Szurkrarz Arcane

    Awor Szurkrarz
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    Is Grimoire some kind of a vengeance on the world for your frustrations with working on Wizardry 8?
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  22. Black Arcane

    Black
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    1. Dumb mainstream.
    2. Weren't publishers greedy whores, like always?
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  23. Awor Szurkrarz Arcane

    Awor Szurkrarz
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    To be honest, Cleve's version sounds more probable.
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  24. ghostdog Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    ghostdog
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    Cleve's version ? You're talking about a man who claims he was a developer for Sir-Teck and yet he isn't mentioned anywhere. You're also talking about a man who claims he has developed a game since 1999 and yet no one has actually played or seen. All you can see is a bunch of 10 year old "screenshots" and promise that he is secretly polishing the game the last 10 years and that he and his "beta testers" are now at the gamma stage of testing. Apart from delusions of grandeur, a huge amount of trolling and a grudge against sir-tech I don't see anything else that is ...probable.
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  25. Luzur Prestigious Gentleman Good Sir

    Luzur
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    it is a very strange scenario, indeed.
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