Carbine Studios has unfortunately had to let go a significant number of their employees. For those unaware, they are the American development studio that was started to develop and maintain the Wildstar MMO.
In an article about the subject on Polygon, writer Philip Kollar reports that more than seventy employees were let go, with additional layoffs possibly coming in the not too distant future. Due to the size of Carbine Studios, this round of layoffs amount to 40% of the workforce leaving the company.
A blog post on the official Wildstar forums sheds some more light on why these people were let go. Carbine Studios community manager Omeed cites the company’s decision to cancel the development for a localized version for the Chinese market as part of the layoffs, saying that the studio will focus on “operating and updating Wildstar as a live game in the US and Europe”.
These kinds of decisions are exceptionally difficult. The talented and passionate professionals who are impacted by these cuts have been valuable team members and respected colleagues. We wish everyone well for the future and will be providing severance and employment search assistance.
Wildstar got released in 2014 and didn’t manage to garner enough subscribers to be sustainable, which forced the developer to move to a free to play model in the last quarter of 2015 in hopes that this would attract more potential customers. It seems unlikely that this plan worked out the way they had hoped.
Always sad to see when something like this happens. Wildstar may not be the best game out there, but its beautiful aesthetics and extremely involved battle mechanics made it a game I really loved playing for a decent chunk of time when it released. Here’s to hoping that the people who were let go can find a place that allows them to use that creativity well and gives them a more stable work environment.