…Or if they find a cure for deja vu…
Fans of popular Trion Worlds games like Rift and Defiance may be shocked to hear of another massive round of layoffs. Many will recall the first round of layoffs that took place late last year, where about 30 people were laid off from the San Francisco office and another 30 from Las Vegas-based Petroglyph which had previously been working on MMORTS End of Nations for Trion Worlds. Early numbers from this round came in somewhere between 70-80%.
Now, updates from Trion state that these numbers are “exaggerated,” but there has still been no official word confirming details of the layoffs, and it appears that the numbers may still be high, if not quite as high as rumors say.
From a live stream by Trion Worlds today, it looks like the last round of layoffs already trimmed down as much of the Rift team that Trion was willing to lose (they lost a full third of the team during the holidays) and now the corporate laser is beaming down hard on the Defiance team. The Rift team was left “100% intact” which matches reports that most of the layoffs were at the San Diego studio where Defiance the MMO was developed.
Rumors have been flying around that staff were being escorted out of the studio and that senior leaders would lose severance pay, but Trion vehemently denies any of these claims.
Nathan Richardson, Vice President of Development, states:
“To best position Trion in a rapidly changing industry, we have reorganized our teams and are expanding our free to play offering. With Defiance, we delivered a great game that more than one million gamers registered to play and continue to enjoy. As we progress from launch to ongoing development of the game, we are adjusting our staffing levels to deliver new content and improved features. RIFT, and our other titles in development, were unaffected by these changes. We are very much looking forward to the free to play release of RIFT and are excited by the other new titles currently in development.”
Whatever you say, Trion Worlds. However you like to put it, Defiance is not at 100% and won’t be for a while. As a player with a preorder for Defiance, it took me nearly a month after release before they released a patch that allowed me to install the game in full. All that time, I received automatic customer service that beat even EA for its levels of unhelpfulness.
That experience did not endear me to the game. The fact that it is still essentially in beta and not nearly as finished as they wanted fans to believe several months after release, doesn’t help the matter either. What I think the crux of the matter is, call it the usual kind of restructuring if you want, but successful games generally add to staff, not bleed them away. From the looks of it, Defiance is just not doing as well as they had hoped it would.
The future is not looking too good on the Defiance content update front.