The studio developing PS3 spy MMO The Agency, Sony Online Entertainment Seattle, may be closed today. Will The Agency be cancelled as a result?
Duke Nukem creator and 3D Realms co-founder George Broussard broke the news on Twitter.
"Word that Sony Online Entertainment Seattle is having lay-offs and that studio closure is possible," he tweeted last night.
"To be more clear, the lay-offs may be SOE wide and not just limited to Seattle. So, Austin, San Diego, etc..." he clarified.
Hours later, Broussard added: "SOE Seattle and other studios (Denver is rumored) will be closed tomorrow. Good luck to all impacted."
Following a recent delay, The Agency was given a new release date of late 2011. Eurogamer spoke to Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley in January who insisted that "late this year" was still very much the launch plan.
Smedley elaborated, telling us there were slightly under 115 people working on the spy-themed MMO, and 50 were to be reserved for post-launch development and patches.
MMOs are notoriously expensive games to make and, ambitiously, Sony Online Entertainment has (had?) more than one in development: PlanetSide Next, EverQuest Next and The Agency. SOE also has the upkeep of Free Realms and DC Universe Online to see to.
But they were successful, weren't they? DC Universe Online became SOE's fastest-selling game ever, according to a John Smedley tweet earlier this year. Free Realms, meanwhile, enjoys 17 million registered accounts and has just welcomed a PS3 version across North America (European launch forthcoming).