Tough Times: Petroglyph And NCSoft Layoff Staff

By Craig Pearson on December 5th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.


Bleak news. Eurogamer is reporting that End of Nations developers Petroglyph are letting around 30 employees go. Their reported rumour was confirmed on Twitter, when writer and game designer Adam Stevens confirmed he’s one of those who’ll be losing a job over the holidays, posting: “Well, it appears this winter break will be extended indefinitely.” And is response to an inquiry he confirmed: “Lay-offs at Petroglyph. Looking like I’ll be Leaving Las Vegas.”

Meanwhile PC Gamer are reporting that NCSoft Seattle are losing an undisclosed number of staff in a ‘realignment’.

This time of year must be a horrible period to lose a job, so my sympathies are completely with the staff affected. The Petroglyph’s troubles were subtly signaled a week ago when the open beta to their free-to-play MMORTS, End of Nations, was indefinitely postponed. Though publisher Trion aren’t saying it’ll be cancelled, they are in the process of refunding people who paid for special editions of the game. It’s expected it will eventually see the light of day sometime in 2013.

NCSoft’s layoffs are surprising, given the rude health of recently released Guild Wars 2. But despite the impressive launch, the gargantuan Korean publisher suffered a $6 million loss this year.

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22 Comments »

  1. thristhart says:

    My understanding is that MMO developers often transfer from a “development” team to a “maintenance” team once the MMO has been released and made available to the general public. Could that be the case here, with GW2?

    • ShrikeMalakim says:

      Does not appear likely, since GW2 development and maintenance are handled by ArenaNET in Bellevue, not in Seattle. The NCSoft Seattle office appears to handle the US operations of Lineage, Lineage II, and Aion.

      • marilynwilmoth15 says:

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    • Bilateralrope says:

      It can’t be the case because nobody is being fired from ANET.

  2. aliksy says:

    I irrationally blame NCSoft for the item grind added to GW2, so I have a lot of negative feelings for them. Also Nexon.

    Sucks for the individuals who didn’t do anything but work hard, though.

  3. SirKicksalot says:

    Wasn’t every Petroglyph game since that shitty Star Wars RTS a massive bomb?
    I liked Universe at War but everything else was rubbish. I’m surprised they’re still alive.

    • LionsPhil says:

      My finger of blame, and coldest of possible British Stares, points firmly at EA for chopping up Westwood. That the part of the mangled corpse that flew out of the massacre can barely hobble around on its one remaining stump of what was once a leg is just the continuation of a tragedy started long ago.

    • Panda Powered says:

      Its the best Star Wars RTS made. Until you play a ground mission.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        And yet, Star Wars: Warlords (mod for Homeworld 2) or one of the SW mods for Sins of a Solar Empire soundly beat Empire at War.

        If only because they have no dreadful ground missions.

      • DK says:

        It really isn’t the best Star Wars RTS, nor was it ever. Star Wars Warlods for Homeworld 2 was out long before Empire at War and had it beat in literally every category, from gameplay to graphics.

        Petroglyph can’t make games, fires game designer. Won’t solve the problem that they’re missing decades of RTS development.

  4. Brise Bonbons says:

    I’m very surprised about the Petroglyph news, as everything I’d seen about End of Nations indicated it was progressing pretty well and had the potential to be a solid effort. Did I miss something?

    NCSoft on the other hand seems to be doing nothing but flounder these days, so I’m not very surprised there.

    All things considered this is a horrible time for downsizing to happen, and it’s reprehensible that these huge corporations felt compelled to jettison workers 3 weeks before Christmas. That extra month of salary for a few dozen people must be vital for their business operations. /sarcasm

    Good wishes to all those impacted by this ridiculously shit timing.

  5. Hirmetrium says:

    Do a Planetside 2 and get the goddamn beta out and get the game finished.

    Graphically, the screenshots for EON look great but ingame its an arcadey mess – The UI is terrible and the effects leave a lot to be desired. Frank Kelpacki’s music is still great though.

    The game seems to be designed around progression and credits, and very little of it is actually usable or purchasable.

    I knew things were bad when Warface was being pushed instead of EON, especially since its shown no signs of life. Disappointing really.

  6. wodin says:

    I think game developers and those who work on games should be considered self employed and they get contracts to work on games…similar to other jobs in the world of IT etc..that would shake the industry up and at least people will know where they stand..

    • JD Ogre says:

      No. They should be counted as full time employees instead of contractors so that they have rights…

      • wodin says:

        I’m not saying it should be like that..however it would change the way people view the job and they will know it isn’t a job for life at one company..I know a few self employed people in IT and they do pretty damn well out of their contract work..

        As long as the pay is good.

        I think most people who get laid off in the industry just go on to another company and it doesn’t seem to me anyway that they are out of work for long..though I could be wrong on this..I just haven’t heard about lots of people not finding work and there being loads of trained IT professionals out of work for long periods of time. The industry does seem to carry out business as if everyone is on contract work rather than employed for life.

    • Apolloin says:

      That’s very much like saying that Game Development staff should have a collar affixed and be clapped in irons because that way they’d know they were slaves and wouldn’t have false expectations.

      I have to say that I’ve never worked for a company where decisions were made to let skilled staff go just because the end of a project had been reached. The next project is ALWAYS in the pipeline. This is game development, not fruit picking.

      Unfortunately if something happens to jeopardise a company’s revenue stream, then costs have to be cut and the largest cost in every studio is staff. It sounds like their project is in difficulties and that money is running short.

  7. tsmike says:

    Everything Petroglyph has made has been a bit “meh”, so I’m not that suprised. Universe at War would have been decent if it wasn’t a horrible console port.

    Honestly, all Petroglyph have to do is make a spiritual successor to Red Alert and buckets of cash will be made.

  8. Panda Powered says:

    Some executives are surely getting a visit from the christmas ghosts for this one…

  9. Shralla says:

    If NCSoft is hurting for money, they should just retool some of their old, unsuccessful subscription MMO properties into free-to-play games and release them to market. The monetary investment in the conversion can’t be that significant, and from there it only goes up.

    Personally I would kill to play Auto Assault again.

    • Therax says:

      Given that they just shuttered a formerly-subscription free-to-play MMO that was, by all accounts, reasonably successful, that seems unlikely.

      If they’re really strapped for cash, maybe they could, y’know, sell off the IP for said reasonably successful title.

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