NCSoft layoffs claim 60 from WildStar dev - report

Is Carbine in trouble or is this MMO business as usual?

There have been layoffs across Western NCSoft studios, the company has revealed, but we don't know exactly where and exactly how many people have been let go.

We do know that Guild Wars developer ArenaNet is unaffected. WildStar developer Carbine, on the other hand, isn't. And it's there the spotlight shines.

Polygon heard from a source that as many as 60 people, from "a few hundred", had gone from Carbine. But this number remains unconfirmed.

An official post on the WildStar forum mentioned "several colleagues" being affected, and studio creative director Chad Moore mentioned "WildStar teammates who were affected today" in a tweet.

NCSoft's buttoned-up, proper response was:

"Today we announced a restructuring of key operations within NC West. As a result of this restructuring, we are implementing staff reductions across our Western operations with the exclusion of ArenaNet. While decisions like this are always hard, they are necessary as we begin the implementation of a new strategy designed to strengthen our footing as a leader in global entertainment.

"Moving forward, we will continue to focus on our core development capabilities and the intellectual properties (WildStar, Aion, Lineage, and Guild Wars franchises) that have made NCSOFT what it is today. However, we are looking to move into new business segments like mobile and tablet games as well as explore emerging technologies.

"Again, the decision to reduce staff was not an easy one, and we sincerely wish everyone well in their next endeavours."

That Carbine should shed staff a few months after WildStar launched isn't an unusual going-on in MMO land. Teams are bulked up like a carb-loading bodybuilder as MMOs approach launch, then are cut down into lean live-game teams thereafter.

But it's against a backdrop of some discontent in WildStar that these layoffs are announced, suggesting deeper problems are afoot. Carbine cancelled Halloween and Christmas seasonal content - a long-running trend in MMOs - so it could double-down on more important fixes and content.

There was also a server-merge of sorts, suggesting the many people who tried the game around launch, left - in turn leaving once busy servers empty.

Speculation, then, or a worrying sign of things to come? NCSoft has the answer but whether we'll hear it, we'll see.

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About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer  |  Clert

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


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