For the past two weeks, action MMORPG Firefall developer Red 5 has suffered extreme financial difficulties, so much so it wasn't able to pay its employees their biweekly salary back on December 25. The company has finally raised the income to compensate them, but in the wake of laying off 40 members of the staff, including senior members, back in November, it would seem the studio is in dire straits.
Red 5 has been troubled for a long while. Back in 2013, Chinese publisher The9 acquired the studio and released members of the executive board, including World of Warcraft veteran Mark Kern, as well as10% of the staff.
After the layoffs of 40 people, Red 5 issued this statement: "Hi Team, I regret to inform you that Red 5 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. Red 5 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 deposits were never made on time.
Stranger yet, the studio has beenof spying on its employees' closed Facebook page, with a post stating, "I've come to find out the group was started by Steven Na (Red 5 marketing guy), under direct orders from CEO Zhu, as a way to spy and keep tabs on all Red 5 employees and those let go. They are looking for information here. Do not trust this FB group and be very very careful what you post there." The page is used for employees and ex-employees to find work elsewhere.
It has gotten so bad, a GoFundMe campaign was launched to help the unpaid employees should they be laid off or not paid in the immediate future. The campaign has been suspended with the pay today, but the founder of the crowdfunding drive states she will give the money to those employees who need financial assistance due to non-payments.
Firefall is a free-to-play third person MMO shooter, which has undergone radical changes throughout its life since its announcement in 2012, including aand ditching PvP.