It’s being reported that developers at Californian studio Red5 were not paid their regular salary over the holiday period. And while we’d love this to be a feel-good story where we reveal they were paid a hefty bonus… the studio instead woke up to an empty bank account on Christmas morning, with the company seemingly not paying staff.
The news spread via Facebook, where employees compared stories after not being paid, with some staffers receiving the following statement:
I regret to inform you that Red5 currently does not have the funds necessary to meet our payroll scheduled for today Friday, December 25. Due to this, there will not be payroll paid this week.
Red5 and The9, our parent company, is currently working to resolve this, during the holidays, as soon as possible. We are hopeful we’ll be able to resolve this and will update the team immediately.
The developer, best known for creating MMO shooter Firefall, was hit with significant layoffs in November (some sources claiming up to 25% of the workforce were let go) with the company claiming “strategic modifications”, but this is still an unexpected development.
The latest update from the studio is that the team will be paid by direct deposit on December 30th. After that, there’s some uncertainty over when the next cheque will arrive, as the studio contemplates switching to a monthly payment plan. Administration has also claimed it will take legal action against anyone who posted the “we have no money” email on social media.
Please remember that staff members are still going to work despite not being paid, in an atmosphere described by one dev as “unbearable”.
However, my friends, ’tis indeed the season for goodwill and good thoughts. A GoFundMe campaign hopes to give Red5 employees a bit of Christmas, by asking everyone – gamers, developers, Firefall fans – to chip in a few bucks.
It’s been started by Cher Stewart, a Software Engineer at Blizzard Entertainment (located just a stone’s throw from Red5’s Irvine headquarters). She says:
As someone who has worked as a contractor and in start ups, I know how hard it is to struggle through a missing paycheck. We are all family and I can’t imagine struggling through this through the holidays, not knowing if or when I would be paid again, or if I even was going to remain employed at all.
The crowdfunding campaign has set a (somewhat lofty) goal of US$100,000, which Stewart points out will give every Red5 employee around $2k to “cover the costs of the holidays and hopefully some hope for the future”.
…in the meantime, we’re told to get very excited for the launch of Firefall v1.6 in January – because if that flops, the company’s probably doomed.