I’m starting to believe that maybe something is in the water. For whatever reason, 2013 has easily been one of the worst years for closures and layoffs in this industry. We’re only 2 months in and I’ve seen more posts, tweets, and coverage about layoffs or studio closures than I can remember. It’s not even March yet and we’ve already lost studios like Junction Point, THQ, Vigil Studios, seen layoffs at Gas Powered Games, Treyarch, Valve, and Codemasters to name a few. It’s with the utmost sadness that yesterday, after an exciting and fun-filled day where Sony revealed it’s new console, that we’ve lost even more. Maybe that’s karma trying to balance out.
The first blow came from IGN and it’s new parent company Ziff Davis/j2 Global. Just a month after being acquired, the heads are starting to roll. It was especially unsettling to many people as it resembled the gutting that occurred to 1Up back in 2009. The major news this time around is that 1Up, Gamespy, and UGO are all being shut down so the company can focus squarely on their two major brands, IGN and AskMen. The grim news also hit IGN proper as teams restructured resulting in many departures of popular staff like Ryan Clements.
Sadly, that’s not where it ends. Later in the day, EA confirmed that it had restructured as well laying off developers from their LA and Visceral Montreal studios. That’s right, the team that is currently working on the unreleased Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel game. At the time of this post, the extent of the layoffs isn’t known. I’ve seen reports that only a few were let go while the rest were reassigned to other reports stating that the entire Montreal studio has been shut down. I’m not sure if that speaks to EA’s confidence level in the upcoming Army of Two game but from what I’ve read, the Montreal team seemed excited and talented going in so this is certainly surprising. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a strong Pandemic feeling from all of this with how their final months went leading up to The Saboteur’s release.
Oh and if that’s not enough, we also lost the very creative Kenji Eno to heart failure. He was a young 42 years old.
What a day…
Still, with all that negitivity, it’s truly inspiring to see the gaming industry and community come together to help those affected through various sources like Twitter. I wish all those affected only the best, and ask that they remember when one door shuts, another opens. Sometimes these things can lead to greater opportunities so keep those chins up.
Alright Karma, time for that upswing now. There’s a lot of balancing that needs to be done after everything that went down.