I heard unfortunate news from multiple sources today that Bionic Games, the studio working with Capcom on the stylized Wii action game Spyborgs, had shut down due to a financial dispute with Capcom. These rumors, however, are absolutely not true, the company's president told me today.
"I am the president of Bionic and I assure you that the team is in the studio today fixing bugs and waiting for any requests from Capcom or NOA [Nintendo of America]," said Haller in an e-mailed statement. "You are invited to come over and see for yourself."
Maybe I will, but for now, I wondered why I'd heard the rumor it the first place. My sources were credible members of the industry. They may have been misinformed about the specifics, but they weren't lying about some major changes happening at Bionic Games. Haller admitted there was a reason I have heard something: layoffs.
"On Friday," he explained, "we began moving team members to other projects and laying off those for whom we do not have an immediate position. This is normal at every development studio that I am familiar with. This is probably what sparked the rumor."
I asked Haller to provide the exact number of folks laid off, but he hasn't clarified.
Haller did assure me Spyborgs is successfully nearing the end of development and categorically denied that Capcom was delinquent in paying Bionic Games. The reality is that Bionic Games could not sustain its full development staff.
"Last week, we completed our Beta delivery [of Spyborgs] to Capcom," he said. "We now only need a small team to handle any bugs that might pop up over the next month or so. The game is for all intents and purposes finished and delivered. Capcom has been consistent on all of their payments to us over the entire development period."
In fact, the studio is already moving forward with another project, Haller admitted.
"Indeed, we are six months into our next major game and we expect to begin building out the team again once our prototype is accepted," he said.
I'm thankful the original reports I heard about Bionic Games' future were not true, but folks were laid off as part of the studio's transition. Good luck to all of those affected.