Developer of the great but chronically under-promoted Singularity loses staff. Anyone surprised?

If I were to write and perform a little play, starring only myself and my cats, and were to tell no-one that I was doing it, should I then expect an Olivier Award? Would I have the right, in fact, to be at all disappointed should no-one turn up at all? And would people potentially think ill of me were I to then throw one of my cats out of the house, following the failure of said cat's performance to recoup a sizeable amount of ticket cash for kitty litter and tuna?

No, no, and yes. Those are the answers. Because if I did those things, I would be mental. Hey Activision, listen up.

Singularity is a great game. Not a title that was ever going to change the world, but by God it was fun. It was packed with brilliant ideas, it had endlessly exciting shooting, its set pieces were fantastic, and although it was essentially a grab-bag of the best bits of other games, those best bits came from some of the finest FPS ever made. Half-Life 2, BioShock, F.E.A.R., it was all in there.

But here's the problem. It didn't have a huge brand name to back it up. In fact it didn't have any brand name. It was a new IP. And it didn't have a huge developer behind it either. It had Raven, who despite many, many years in development as a thoroughly likeable and solid team, and a lot of respect from those in the know, have never broken through into the top flight, at least as far as mainstream public perception goes. Basically, Singularity was just me and my cats.

So it needed a push. Not a Call of Duty-style media bombing, you understand. We just needed to be aware of it. See some posters out. See a few TV ads running in the weeks before release. Have the games press know just what a frigging awesomely imaginative and fantastically-paced hoot the game is. Hell, as a games journo I wouldn't have been able to not tell everyone to buy it. I eventually did, but it was all too late by then. Should have been easy to sort, Activision. You're the game's publisher. You own Raven. This is your job.

What did Singularity get? Not a poster, not an ad, and as far as the press went, we didn't have a goddamn clue.

And then it sold like ass. And now reports are stating that between 20 and 40 Raven staff have been laid off. Activision's official line is "With the recent completion of Singularity, Raven Software is realigning its workforce to better reflect the studio's upcoming slate".

Now I'm fully aware that jobs in this industry come and go as the scale of ongoing projects fluctuates. And now that Singularity is done, a few jobbing devs will of course probably move on. But this is the second time this has happened now, with up to 56 jobs having been lost at Raven back in 2009. So potentially that's nearly 100 of Raven's original 180 staff gone over the last year or so. Can you understand why I'm worried, Activision? And can you understand why I think a few posters wouldn't have been too much to ask?

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  • tacehtselrahc - October 13, 2010 6:34 a.m.

    That's a pity, it's a pretty solid FPS with good shooting mechanics and some cool weapons, especially the Seeker. It seems that the only FPS series Cacktivision is interested in promoting are the criminally over-rated COD/MW games.
  • The_Tingler - October 13, 2010 4:26 a.m.

    @TheBroodwich: Not outside the US it's not. For god knows what reason.
  • TheBroodwich - October 13, 2010 12:29 a.m.

    @irrkan Singularity is available on Steam.
  • elpurplemonkey - October 13, 2010 12:11 a.m.

    @ Matt Cundy: Jesus Christ that was sad.
  • nemesisuprising - October 12, 2010 11:14 p.m.

    @straygator me,during my life time I have had about 9, 2 still live with my grandma and 2I have 3 right now, the rest died :(
  • DevilDoor - October 12, 2010 9:14 p.m.

    I watched a bunch of youtube gameplay, and was really surprised how good it was. Ill definitely buy it. I mean its a mix of Bioshock and FEAR, whats not to like. But i seriously cant see the reasoning behind Activisons butchering of the staff.
  • Blasto - October 12, 2010 8:29 p.m.

    This makes me a very sad panda. Singularity was an awesome game.
  • irrkan - October 12, 2010 8:19 p.m.

    I would buy it if it was available on Steam (instead of just the trailer). What was the deal with that? Did Activision WANT this game to fail...?
  • ThatGuyFromTV - October 12, 2010 7:59 p.m.

    This game is on my "buy when the price drops" list. I figure it should drop any time now. Speaking of which, when the hell is Metro 2033's price drop?!? I've been waiting for that one to drop for months!
  • Heyexclamationpoint - October 12, 2010 6:50 p.m.

    Once again Activision shows that it really can't buy a clue.
  • OriginalJonty - October 12, 2010 6:32 p.m.

    I borrowed Singularity and had fun with it. I will buy it eventually just so Raven get some money.
  • Brutalicus - October 12, 2010 5:40 p.m.

    Based solely on the number of "Singularity is awesome" claims on GR, I watched the trailer. It certainly looks awesome. Will be buying it if it ever goes on sale on Steam. Too bad about the developers, no justice in the games industry these days. A new Madden or CoD is shit out and people fight to lick it up, and something new and fun is left by the wayside.
  • Clovin64 - October 12, 2010 5:01 p.m.

    *edit* Sorry, that should be SITE. My spelling sucks. :(
  • Clovin64 - October 12, 2010 4:59 p.m.

    I've barely heard of this game, save for a few mentions on this sight. Never seen a poster, never seen a TV ad. Quite sad.
  • JayLin22 - October 12, 2010 4:38 p.m.

    That's a shame... While I didn't mind the new Wolfenstein, Singularity sits proudly on my games shelf - I really had a lot of fun with it. If you're undecided about getting it and are after a smashing single-player game - go grab it now! Shame on you, Activision!
  • RabidCabbage - October 12, 2010 3:59 p.m.

    I bought this game, so I can feel smug. I had to restart the game 3 times though, so I got rather sick of Nolan bloody North.
  • Eaxis - October 12, 2010 3:31 p.m.

    Thats's too bad. I was convinced to buy it after listening to talkradar uk, so thank you guys. I enjoyed it a lot, but i'm also very interested in time travel, and science fiction so it was a perfect match. Raven stepped up their game with Singularity, and it deserved to sell more.
  • db1331 - October 12, 2010 3:30 p.m.

    @GamesRadar_MattCundy I has a sad :-(
  • wwfmankind - October 12, 2010 3:26 p.m.

    I purchased it based on multiple reviews... and to be honest I was NOT disappointed. You said it perfectly "Singularity is a great game. Not a title that was ever going to change the world, but by God it was fun." Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I've ever seen a commercial or ad for the game... really sad. I loved slowing time, walking around the bullets for a really up close and personal “head shot”.
  • Matt Cundy - October 12, 2010 3:25 p.m.

    @StrayGator I had an amazing ginger tom called Mr Jibbs (aka The Prince). He was one of my best friends. But he got ill and I had to take him for the sleepy injection. That was a couple of years ago. I still miss him.

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