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More Holiday Layoffs Hit Several Online Game Developers

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 2012 by Martuk

Joining the other seemingly growing number of layoffs just in time for the holidays, Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) developer Square Enix, Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier Developments and Richard Garriott’s Portaliarium studio have all reported layoffs this week. There’s nothing like losing your job so close to the holidays to dampen your festive spirit.

Square Enix Senior Director of Public Relations Riley Brennan confirmed their round of layoffs at the publisher’s Los Angeles office to Massively after rumors began circulating over the weekend. Brennan also confirmed that the move will have no impact on their MMO titles or the upcoming FFXIV: A Realm Reborn launch.

Cambridge, UK-based developer Frontier Developments, who currently has a Kickstarter for their upcoming space trading and combat game, Elite: Dangerous, confirmed to Eurogamer that they have reduced their staff by 14 this week. The Kickstarter currently sits at a little over half of its £1,250,000. Of course, layoffs may not help inspire more donations despite the developer's confident optimism.

"Frontier regretfully has given a total of 14 people (from a staff of 233) notice that their roles are redundant, across art (9), animation (3) and audio (2) disciplines. This is due to the changing mix of skills requirements for our current and future projects - it is not a reflection on the company's prospects, which remain healthy, Frontier Managing Director David Walsh told Eurogamer."

The last company aiming for a lump of coal in the stocking is Richard Garriott’s Portaliarium studio. Rumors of the layoffs began circulating like others over the weekend when Paul Evans revealed that he had been laid off from the company. The news was confirmed by a Portaliarium spokesperson to Gamesindustry International that the developer had laid off an unspecified number of staff this week as well.

"We are reducing staff to the appropriate levels to support and grow our recently launched products, as well as continue development of Richard Garriott's Ultimate RPG."

It’s a wretched time to lose a job, especially so close to the holidays when you should be taking some downtime to spend with family and recharge your batteries from all the year’s hard work and other nonsense. Unfortunately, those chosen to join the ranks of the unemployed will instead be shadowed by the need to suddenly find new work.

As always, our best wishes go out to those affected by the ill-timed layoffs.

Sources: Massively, Eurogamer, Gamesindustry International


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