Why it matters: It’s been far from smooth sailing for the Atari VCS. The retro console has already experienced several delays, and now it’s been reported that its lead architect has left the project, claiming he hasn’t been paid in six months.
According to The Register, Rob Wyatt, a founding member of the team behind the Xbox, has resigned as architect of the Atari VCS project. He says Atari hasn’t paid invoices to his design consultancy, Tin Giant, going back six months.
"I was hoping to see the project through to the end and that it wouldn't come to this, but I have little choice other than to pursue other opportunities," Wyatt said in a statement.
The Atari VCS raised over $3 million from backers on Indiegogo, though the company is now using traditional preorders that range from $250 to $390 depending on the hardware and controller options. There have been several delays and revisions, including switching to AMD’s Ryzen platform, but the company says the machines will be available in March next year.
While the Register writes that Wyatt’s departure could throw the entire project into doubt, Atari has posted an update on the machine on Medium. It writes that the VCS will operate more like a computer than a fully functional game system and that it will play games “beautifully” through a standard Linux or Windows installation.
In a statement to Gamasutra, Atari assured people that the project isn’t at risk of collapse. "It is Atari’s policy not to comment on an isolated matter under dispute, only to say that the Atari VCS project has always been a team effort and its success has never been and will never be dependent on any single individual or partner.”
"We remain confident in the Atari VCS as the entire team works diligently to bring forth its vision according to plan, and we will continue to communicate accordingly over the coming weeks and months, including hands-on presentations to key media and partners planned for later this fall."