In February 2012 we reported that Luma Arcade was shutting down its Joburg offices – which lead to some speculation as to why this happened, and how it would affect the local game dev team.
Local studio director, Luke Lamothe, remained silent on the issue – however, Luma Arcade’s general manager, Sam Williams, answered a few of our queries, clarifying the process and the decision.
“We made the change with great care and respect for everyone involved,” he said, “We did have to do some restructuring, and that is never fun, but it is the nature of the beast in game development. Very few studios, even the massively successful ones, have ever had a perfectly smooth ride to the top.
“This industry changes incredibly quickly, and that creates both massive opportunities and a need to adapt very quickly on a regular basis. Our goal is just always to treat everyone we work with fairly and ethically, no matter what happens on the business front.”
According to Williams, the idea that Luma is pulling out of South Africa is not true, as they “haven’t closed operations in South Africa.”
“The team in Joburg will remain in Joburg – we really like working in South Africa and intend to for as long as we can. In fact, we hope to grow the team there again,” he continued.
The Johannesburg dev team has been working on the iOS game, Bladeslinger, which was pegged for a late 2011 release – a date that it missed, with no follow-up date announced.
There has been speculation that the delay was due to Epic’s Infinity Blade releasing around the same time – however focus shifted to internal struggles, after the Joburg office closure was announced.
“The decision not to release Bladeslinger in late 2011 was simply to ensure that it will be the best game possible,” assured Williams, “The team has been cranking away on it non-stop.”
“Game schedules can change based on industry dynamics, technology growth, and many other variables – including good old mis-estimation. We are really pushing the envelope with Bladeslinger, and so we’re giving it as much time as it needs to bake and come out a great experience for players,” concluded Williams.