The small team over at Squad has just taken a major blow as the majority of the development team quit to seek higher wages on a new project elsewhere. A reddit post by the lead creator states that low pay and regular requirements of extended hours are the primarily factors in the decision for the team wipe. The lead community program manager responded publicly thanking them for their hard work and noting that the team will continue working towards making KSP the best game on the market for a long time to come.
This follow up appears more like disaster management than a full guarantee of continued quality assurance and output from the newly crippled team. For reference, Squad’s dev team, based in Mexico, were earning far less than an expected salary for developers in other parts of the country. One source seems to indicate that the team was being paid about 200$ USD a month, which would place them above minimum wage in the country, but far below expected salary for comparable positions elsewhere (citation needed from source however). The difficulties came from the need to devote 40+ hours a week, eliminating the possibility of seeking supplemental income.
Kerbal space program is one of the best space simulators on the market, if not THE best. The realism, physics engine and technology that is fully modular allows players to feel like they run a small green man version of NASA. The game has been available on the market since June 24th, 2011 via KSP’s own web store, then made it’s way to steam in 2013 as early access and only recently pushed to full 1.0 in April 27th of 2015. As a result, the game has undergone massive patches regularly and implemented some impressive features and mod support, making the game into a full fledged title that holds up to the other gaming titans in the market.
Seeing an overwhelmingly positive review rating (at least 31,285 steam reviews) since release alone. The game is priced in the US currently on Steam marketplace at 39.99$, (although this price has fluctuated over the years during development) it’s tough to understand why budgets weren’t expanded to alleviate this walk out before it occurred, as the management team must have known it was coming.
Having said that, the gaming industry is rife with passion for the art coming before profits. “For the love of the game” rings true in circumstances like these, but it is sad to see development teams forced to take action and abandon projects they love due to income woes. After all, everyone needs to eat.
It is currently unclear what this means for the remainder of the Squad team, as there aren’t typically “full team walked off the project” manuals that exist, especially within small studios. Expect more news from the KSP team in the future regarding the future of the company and what this means for this exceptional game.
Let us know your thoughts below and stay tuned for updates as they become available.