On Friday, WildStar [official site] publisher NCSoft announced that a “reorganisation” of Carbine Studio’s “operating structure” had resulted in staff layoffs at the developer. While there’s been no official mention of exactly how many folk have been made redundant, reports suggest more than 70 employees were shown the door – as much as 40 percent of the studio’s total staff.
The official statement, which also states plans to launch the fantasy MMO in China have been scrapped, was posted on the WildStar forums:
Earlier this morning, Carbine Studios completed a reorganization of its operating structure. Moving forward, the studio will focus on operating and updating WildStar as a live game in the US and Europe. As part of this change, the studio has canceled its plans to bring WildStar to China.
Unfortunately, as a result of these changes, we’ve had to reduce staff. These cuts are directly tied to WildStar’s evolution from a product in development to a live title, to the cancellation of work to bring WildStar to China, and to the overall performance of WildStar since launch in 2014.
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.
The statement goes on to stress NCSoft’s ongoing commitment to WildStar and that a “significant update” is expected in the “next few weeks and months.” According to reports from unnamed sources obtained by Polygon though, more than 70 people have since departed Carbine, a figure which makes up as much as 40 percent of their team. Furthermore, the same sources suggest the remaining staff have been told to expect further layoffs in the months ahead.
Last September, WildStar made the jump from a subscription-based model to free-to-play – something Angus Morrison argued was a good thing at the time. It was also announced back in February that the game would be coming to Steam and would get a new area (currently available through the public test realm), which is maybe the “significant update” mentioned above. At the same time in February, the game’s PvP servers were closed for being under-populated and their users were merged with two remaining PvE servers.
We’ve reached out to NCSoft for comment and will update in the event we hear back. Good luck to those who have lost their jobs.