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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. 

Quick Take

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. 

Chris Anderson

Staff Writer

I've been playing games since I was just barely able to walk, and I never really stopped playing them. When I'm not fulfilling my duties as senior staff writer and tech reviewer, I'm either working on music, producing one of two podcasts or doing freelance work.

  • Galbador

    I actually liked the trailers, especially for the Exiles. That girl was crazy sexy and the whole thing reminded me to Pixar. However, in the end, it was just a sad, boring MMO and if you know one, you know them all. I believe this game would have been a great game for the consoles if they used this cartoon style in a game like Mass Effect (or even as parody).

    But again, this is sad to see that the vision of someone just fails to work. Guess no one likes MMOs anymore or no one can make them better than WoW (which is, of course, in the eye of the beholder).

  • Dindu Nuffin

    Wildstar tried to build its audience on the back of “traditional” World of Warcraft. The much-cited vanilla WoW. The problem is everyone misremembers what WoW was like, back before the first expansion. They have some idealised vision.

    I’ve played WoW off and on since the Nov 2004 beta. It has changed ENORMOUSLY. It is completely unrecognisable from the WoW of 2004, and thank fuck for that.

    Yes subs are down, but that’s more to do with it being over ten years old than with a decline in quality. It’s just an old game, with old mechanics, in a new world. A world where MMOs no longer matter and the MOBA reigns supreme.

    Wildstar didn’t stand a chance.

  • Dindu Nuffin

    People eventually stopped trying to find the “WoW killer” and discovered they didn’t even NEED to find one.

    They just created the MOBA and strangulated it from another angle entirely.

  • Galbador

    Nananah… the MOBA is just another click-measure contest for all the wannabe SF and CoD lovers, who think that Multiplayer will replace Single Player. And the result? Nothing but a nerval breakdown and an overblown ego.

    But you are right, there will be no WoW killer, because WoW is dying andnothing will safe it.

  • Travis

    Like most MMOs, playing Wildstar seemed like a really good idea until I remembered how much I’ve grown to despise the “kill six boars, collect gear, level up, repeat ad nauseam” philosophy of game design.

    I’m never doing the grind again. I have a Steam library a mile long of games I’ve never played. Some of them I don’t even remember buying. I have better things to do with my free time than run the MMO hamster wheel.

  • Chris Anderson

    The notion that MOBA’s are “killing” the MMO seems like stretching it a bit. Different genres, different skillset. Likening it to CoD also seems a bit out there.

    And WoW, while still having an active playerbase their competitors can only dream of is slowly on the way out because most people can’t play a game for 12 years and not get fed up with it at some point.

  • Kev Lew

    an action hotkey MMO, where dodging did not prevent “white” ranged damage and decided that those extra sometimes interesting quests can get split into 4 separate “paths” to “encourage” multiple characters.
    Got to mid level in the 1st month then dumped it for warframe, at least there I am allowed to avoid incoming fire if I move.