BioWare Austin Cuts Workforce

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BioWare Austin Cuts Workforce

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BioWare Austin, the studio behind Star Wars: The Old Republic, is laying off staff.

Details are very thin at this point but a message posted by Greg Zeschuk in the Star Wars: The Old Republic forum this morning revealed that a number of employees have been laid off following "restructuring" at BioWare Austin.

"Sadly, we are bidding farewell to some talented, passionate and exceptionally hard-working people who helped make SWTOR a reality. Impacting people's lives this way is always very hard, but we're ensuring the affected people are treated with dignity, fairness and respect," Zeschuk wrote.

"We still have a very substantial development team working on supporting and growing the game, and we feel we are in a strong position, with your continued involvement and feedback, to continue to build Star Wars: The Old Republic as one of the most compelling and successful online experiences in the world today," he continued. "Rest assured that we remain dedicated to delivering a high quality service in SWTOR to you, our fans, and we will continue to support and grow Star Wars: The Old Republic over the weeks, months and years to come."

Shortly after it launched in December 2011, Electronic Arts said Star Wars: The Old Republic was the fastest-growing subscription-based MMO of all time, with 1.7 million users in February. But in May, that number had slid to 1.3 million, a drop sharp enough to make even the most optimistic fan nervous.

According to a statement from Electronic Arts, some BioWare Austin employees will be offered jobs with other projects at EA, while others will simply be let go. "These are very difficult decisions, but it allows us to focus our staff to maintain and grow Star Wars: The Old Republic," a rep said. "BioWare Austin remains a large and important part of BioWare and EA."

BioWare has not yet revealed how many employees have been laid off or from what departments, so we'll update when we find out more. As always, our best wishes go out to everyone affected by the cuts.

Permalink

A long time ago, in a launch far far away...

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.335337-BioWare-Stays-Focused-on-The-Old-Republic#13539647

"Unlike a lot of other game companies that, once they launch a game, downsize their teams radically, our plan is to keep the team together and continue to focus on building content," he said. "We're very much focused on Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars for the foreseeable future."

I always wondered how long "the forseeable future" was. Guess it's about 6 months.

On a slightly less snarky note - this is not a good sign. Looks like EA are pissed that it's not performing to their best expectations and are downsizing it into a b-list project. Their mismanagement of this entire venture continues to amaze me.

Sixcess:
A long time ago, in a launch far far away...

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.335337-BioWare-Stays-Focused-on-The-Old-Republic#13539647

"Unlike a lot of other game companies that, once they launch a game, downsize their teams radically, our plan is to keep the team together and continue to focus on building content," he said. "We're very much focused on Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars for the foreseeable future."

I always wondered how long "the forseeable future" was. Guess it's about 6 months.

On a slightly less snarky note - this is not a good sign. Looks like EA are pissed that it's not performing to their best expectations and are downsizing it into a b-list project. Their mismanagement of this entire venture continues to amaze me.

I think that they completely expected SWTOR to go the way of World of Warcraft. I feel sorry for the people who lost their jobs, but not so much for Bioware on it's own. That company needs a butt whooping.

In SWTOR related opinion, it's a fun singleplayer game,but loses all appeal after you played through all the stories.

Oh snap. Three called issues in a week and its only Tuesday. Cuttign the snark for now, this is gonna be bad. Bad for Bioware, Bad for ToR, and bad for EA. But mostly bad for Bioware employees worrying about when they will be marked expendable. I mean c'mon, that heel turn had to come with morale whiplash. " We are a success! The Old Republic is profitable!" and everyone cheers, "you lot are fired pack up a GTFO.", its jarring to say the least.

I thought about that "keeping the team together" thing too. It's easy enough when things are going well, but if the wheels come off - and I'm not saying they're off yet, but it's starting to look a little wobbly - then sooner or later, reality must intrude. And when it does, the results tend to be ugly. It's really a shame for everyone left without a job, for gamers, and even for BioWare, which I think is only now starting to look like just another EA branch plant.

It's a damn shame, but to think that there is actually people out there who believe that just about every conceivable position in a company are not expendable... well they tried that route in the US back in the 70's. Gave people ridiculous amounts of money to do jobs and told them they will be allowed to retire and be taken care of by our ever soaring profits. That was a lie, as is the belief that you are not expendable.

It's a damn shame when people lose jobs, I don't want to sound crass. But to expect jobs to be permanent for any length of time is just not in alignment with reality. And it doesn't really matter what the company says. I mean, it sounded absolutely fishy that those claims were made at all. Especially in these still quite uncertain financial times.

The problem with all MMOs is that the fan-base tends to grind through the content at a fevered pace (I'm not sure why; they're just rushing to become bored). As a result, the early life of an MMO is always meant with a drop-off in subscriptions as players lose interest. The only remedy is to devise more content and fix game design and implementation issues that have come to light. However, this becomes impossible to do effectively if you keep laying off your staff, EA, like you did to Mythic with Warhammer Online.

nooo don't downsize!

just make TOR an f2p mmo :)

*goes back to biding time in the shadows*

Andy Chalk:
which I think is only now starting to look like just another EA branch plant.

That's being a bit generous. The ME2 Dr Pepper DLC and the entirety of DA2 didn't set off any warning bells?

A very dear friend of mine was part of the group laid off, and I heard the news from her not 15 minutes ago.

Regardless of people's feelings about SWTOR, I hope it can be recognised that it's a very sad circumstance for the developers.

Within a year or two, Bioware will just be another developer crushed under the grinding, incompetent gears of Electronic Arts.

One more for the list...

Not at all surprised by this really. Their most anticipated update (Legacy) was for me and many people I know who played SWTOR was lackluster and added virtually zero endgame options. As a result I quit playing and canceled my sub.

It is a shame to see yet another good developer be crushed by EA, but developers and publishers both need to wake up and realize that the chances of having WoW like success is at this point virtually impossible.

So it begins image

Dexter111:
So it begins image

I thought that too. Everyone but EA saw this coming. Another "WoW killer" that will do relatively well financially but will never come close to actually topping WoW.

Baresark:
damn shame

image
Had to.

OT: Well this sucks, how long till it goes F2P now?

A damn shame. I won't say I called this back when the merger/acquisition, but I believe a lot of long time gamers know what usually happens with studios when EA gets ahold of them.

RIP Westwood, Command & Conquer
RIP Bioware, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Star Wars.
RIP Mythic, DAoC, Warhammer

Up next, Chillingo, Firemint, and Popcap!

The forums are full of people saying this means the game is dieing/going F2P, and others are just saying its normal to loose a few people after launch and every game does it.

I still don't think it will ever go F2P. You seriously can't underestimate just how many people there are that will play literally anything star wars. They will easily keep the 500k they need to profit.

That is sad. I hope the people that were laid off are able to find a new job soon. I wonder if they could open their own studio.

It's obvious isn't it? They were indoctrinated all along.

THQ screwed up with Warhammer 40k and Saint's Row. That, I can see happening. How you mess up with STAR WARS is beyond me.

People cried "WoW Killer", and they're slipping subs and losing workers already.

I am not surprised in the slightest.

It was apparently around 200 people being let go, that would almost entail a studio closure for others xD

https://twitter.com/georgeb3dr/status/205007250765520898

Rumors near 200ish in layoffs at Bioware Austin. Going past contractors. Good luck to all involved.

It will be free to play within a year.

CrossLOPER:
THQ screwed up with Warhammer 40k and Saint's Row. That, I can see happening. How you mess up with STAR WARS is beyond me.

The first Star Wars MMO launched with the same hoopla and fell flat on its face as well, albeit for different reasons. A strong franchise name just isn't enough to sell people on anymore, especially in a market as crowded as MMOs.

That really sucks for the people who have been layed off but to be honest, if I was one of them, I would have not expected my job to last long after launch.

CrossLOPER:
THQ screwed up with Warhammer 40k and Saint's Row. That, I can see happening. How you mess up with STAR WARS is beyond me.

Easy. Copy a game/apply a formula which has failed time and time again. Making a WoW clone, when all clones have failed, is a first class ticket into administration.

And this is why you should never accept a deal from EA or Activision. Signing on with a major publisher is akin to selling your soul, and hey! The devil's gotta eat.

Sad for those who lost their jobs. :(

Bad move on EA's part, too. The 1.3 million remaining subscribers aren't going to be happy about content coming more slowly, in addition to the existing problems the game has.

Cryo84R:
A damn shame. I won't say I called this back when the merger/acquisition, but I believe a lot of long time gamers know what usually happens with studios when EA gets ahold of them.

RIP Westwood, Command & Conquer
RIP Bioware, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Star Wars.
RIP Mythic, DAoC, Warhammer

Up next, Chillingo, Firemint, and Popcap!

image

You forgot Maxis, Bullfrog, and Pandemic.

OT: Well, this is sad news, though really not very surprising given EA's track record. I honestly hope Bioware can get away from their contract with EA, whatever it is, because they seem to be the only people in the entire industry who are oblivious to the gun being pulled up behind their heads.

Sad, but not surprising. The size of the team(s) working on SWTOR was simply gigantic, relatively speaking. I knew they would have to cut back sooner or later, and after the launch is away and stable, it's time. I think they just put a ton of people on the development to get it launched asap so it could start bringing in money, and even then it took a long time. I think the fact that it wasn't really ready when it was launched speaks in favor of this theory; a game in development isn't making money, so they launch it as soon as it's acceptable and work on making it ready afterwards.

Cryo84R:

RIP Bioware, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Star Wars.

Phrases like this leave me confused. Star Wars wasn't dead years ago?

Say, around the time George Lucas "remastered" the three movies?

i think the title originally was "€A told BioWare to cut workforce".
not for long and bioware is gone just like bullfrog, maxis and others.

@shrekfan
sounds pretty right.

CrossLOPER:
THQ screwed up with Warhammer 40k and Saint's Row. That, I can see happening. How you mess up with STAR WARS is beyond me.

Have you not seen episode 1 through 3?

*sigh* The cool potential SWTOR had was the possibility of regularly updated chapters. An MMO soap opera, if you want an analogy.

Sadly, it looks like the executives have missed the point.

Well, I think everyone called this one a year before release. I know I called it as soon as they released class descriptions.

Rigs83:
Have you not seen episode 1 through 3?

It was my understanding that Mr.Lucas was "trolling hardcore".

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