It begins with 20 or so employees in the Toronto branch of the company being laid off and replaced with Rockstar New York staff. The company brought in someone by the name of Jeronimo Barrera to do the layoffs, and afterwards, he took over as replacement producer on The Warriors.
During the month of November, Mr. Barrera was brought in to the offices of Rockstar Vancouver. It is worth mentioning that R* Vancouver used to be Barking Dog, producers of Treasure Planet, Homeworld: Cataclysm, and Global Ops. Since being bought out by R*, they have put out nothing at all. They were working on the follow-up to SpecOps, but after E3 last year, the entire Vancouver team were suspended from their projects and put to work on Bully.
On Thursday, December 8th, 2005 (barely a month after Barrera was sent to Vancouver), four members of the original Barking Dog development team were surreptitiously told they weren't a good "fit" for the company. They were told one by one in isolation, led from the building, and informed that any personal belongings from their desks would be delivered to them later on. All of their positions have been filled by members of the Toronto team. An e-mail circulated around the offices of R* Vancouver after they were terminated states:
"We fired the individuals because we felt they were not contributing to the project or the team. As we continue to work on Bully and continue to build the studio we will need to make tough choices. I know that they are your friends and it's hard to accept when anybody is let go but we felt it was time.
This isn't a start of a layoff. If you are worried please come talk to me.
It may be speculative, but when a company fires 20 members of a development team, then a month later sends the same hatchetman to another city to repeat the performance, it seems very much like executive decisions regarding team size have been made. Take Two has been losing a great deal of money since the Hot Coffee scandal; is this perhaps a sign of the times for the company?