Date: 30th October 2008.

After a number of Stern Pinball employees were made redundant yesterday, Gary Stern insisted today that the company is now well positioned for the future and has a good range of games coming up over the next twelve months.

The Stern Pinball factory
The Stern Pinball factory

Talking to Pinball News, Gary said that given the economic situation in the world and the relative strength of the US Dollar, they had to "down-size or right-size" the company "to adjust to the marketplace".

That recent strength in the Dollar has led to Stern's products increasing in price for overseas markets which make up 50% of the company's sales. When combined with the expected slowdown in domestic sales as nationwide redundancies and budgetary belt-tightening takes its toll, Gary Stern felt it was the right time to reduce the staff size.

Accordingly, some of the well-known names at the company were told their positions would be disappearing. Game designers Dennis Nordman and John Borg, software designers Keith Johnson and Dwight Sullivan and Director of Technical Support Joe Blackwell were believed to be among those leaving the company.

Dennis and John were the only in-house game designers who created games such as Pirates Of The Caribbean and Indiana Jones, while Keith was credited with producing the most comprehensive rules ever found on a pinball machine with games such as The Simpsons Pinball Party and Lord Of The Rings.

Gary Stern earlier this month
Gary Stern earlier this month

Scotching any suggestions of the redundancies foretelling the company's demise, Gary told Pinball News "We have every intention of continuing" to build and develop four new pinball machines a year. "Right now, we're going to make sure pinball exists", he assured fans.

He said CSI was currently on the line for production samples, while the next game is mechanically complete with the software part-way finished and the game after that was layed-out as well.

He refused to be drawn on where the design talent would come from for future games beyond those next three, saying it was possible some designers would come back in-house but he wanted to keep the option of using out-of-house freelance or contract designers, just as he had for recent games such as Batman, CSI and the upcoming 24.

Gary said he "wouldn't be doing it if he didn't see a future in it" and he intended to be in London in January for the ATEI trade show to promote CSI and possibly other products too.

"I'm doing it because I want to be here, because I love pinball and I want to keep at it."

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