Update: It’s now being reported that 38 Studios and Big Huge Games are no more. Entire staffs were let go today. It’s pretty sobering, especially when you consider the wild ride Big Huge Games had been on and then putting out a well received game like Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I wish everyone the best of luck going forward. I hope they find a more stable situation. Original post follows:
This week has seemingly been a low point for certain developers out there as more people are left without jobs.
We all remember the situation in Rhode Island with former baseball pitcher, Curt Schilling’s studio, 38 Studios. After releasing Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning this past February and working on their own MMO set in the same universe (Project Copernicus), the studio’s first loan payment came up on May 1. Turns out, the studio missed the deadline setting off a couple of day’s worth of panic. Ultimately, the studio managed to come up with the $1.125 million dollars owed and things seemed to balance back out. Early this week, we learned that wasn’t the case as Rhode Island governor, Lincoln Chafee, confirmed that there were layoffs at the studio. No confirmation on how many people or if current employees were being paid at all. Local developers, Avalanche Studios and Turbine Entertainment, are holding recruitment drives this week for those looking for work.
On a similar note, BioWare Austin also suffered through layoffs of their own this week. The studio recently put out the well received MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic. The good doctors, Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, wrote up a blog post on the Old Republic’s official site, confirming that the development team has been downsized. The update unfortunately is short on details, but they do mention that this is business as usual and the game will continue to grow over time. I’m not sure if that’s PR spin to paint a better light on the situation or if that’s really how MMO’s work. I’m guessing it relates more to the lower subscriber numbers. I’ve heard rumors that over 200 people were let go and that number extends past the contractors and into the full time employees. Again, just rumor.
As always, I want to take the time to wish those affected by these layoffs, all the best. I hope you guys get back on your feet quickly.