Target U.K. Shuts DownAuthor: The Miniatures Page © 2000 | url
21 January 2000 - page first published
22 January 2000 - further details
26 January 2000 - clarification of rights
It appears that the last hopes for saving Target U.K. (the adventure gaming/miniatures division of Target Games) are expiring.
All staff in the UK Edinburgh office have been laid off. According to our sources, "Nobody will be paid the January wages, as the bank is empty." The UK Edinburgh office was where the editorial and marketing staff for the miniatures unit were located.
In addition, the factory in Ireland where the miniatures were produced has also closed. We´re told those employees had not been paid for the past two weeks.
"An awful lot of people have been kept in false hopes," is what one former U.K. staff member told us. Last week, there were reports that the Adventure Games Division (Target U.K.) was being transferred within the greater Target family of companies:
"I´m not in a position to be privy to everything that is going on," said Mike J. Murtha of U.S. Operations, in a post to the Warzone forum on January 18th. "What I can offer is part recap and maybe for those of you who have not been here for the "Long Twilight Struggle" some "official" news on what´s happening with the company.
"Target Games AB is the parent company that has several divisions under it. This company is undergoing reconstruction, which seems to be similar to Chapter 11 in the US (they are based in Sweden). One of the divisions is the Adventure games division which makes Warzone, Chronopia and hopefully soon Empire. Another is the Interactive division which was spun off into a separate company called Paradox entertainment. Since our copy of the press release was in Swedish we don´t know the details yet over in the US, but Paradox is buying the Adventure Game division."
Patric, an employee of Paradox, followed up with further information on January 21st: "Paradox has bought Target Games adventure, which consists of three companies: TGAUK, TGAUS and TGA EIRE, as is less than a month ago and I know that the management of Paradox is trying to solve the problems. I can´t answer more than this but I´m positive that they´ll manage to keep the operation going one way or another."
Unfortunately, the introduction of Paradox into the situation did not prevent the shutting down of Target Games operations in Ireland and Edinburgh. As one laid-off employee told us: "At this time, we have no sculptors, no production facilities and nobody to work on anything, so it is simply impossible that they can produce anything... apart from the fact that they are not going to pay us!"
"They may not want to hold onto Adventure forever," said a company shareholder. "since it is not in their core-business, They may sell it or license the rights to Warzone etc. at a later date." (Our understanding is that the intellectual property is owned by Target Games, with Paradox holding the license to at least the interactive rights.) On the other hand, with Warzone Online in development, it might be in Paradox´s best interests to keep the miniatures game alive and on the shelves.
The closing of the factory in Ireland could be part of a move, first discussed in Target´s annual meeting last October, to relocate the factory closer to the rest of the company. However, the closing of operations in Edinburgh casts doubt on the idea of the adventure games unit remaining as an active enterprise.
Target was the manufacturer of two popular miniatures games - Warzone (science fiction) and Chronopia (fantasy). What will become of them? A gamer who lives in Edinburgh reports that "master moulds will be sold to highest bidder and the minis side is being liquidated," but we have not been able to confirm this. The future of the product lines depends on who the purchaser is, as the intent could be either to continue the products on the market or to eliminate a competitive product line.
According to Mike Murtha, the U.S. branch of the adventure games division is still functioning for now. "I am not a financial officer of the company or are any of these comments official company statements. I can only comment with any degree of surety on the US operation, Lance, Tara, Tommy and myself along with Herd and Barb are still here, we´re receiving new releases, casting, packing and shipping to our direct accounts, distributors and mail order customers. We´re still holding down the fort, plugging away and hoping for the best from the future."
We have contacted both Paradox and Target Games, but understand that the company does not wish to make a public statement at this time.
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