Layoffs Hit Defiance Developer Trion Worlds

Layoffs Hit Defiance Developer Trion Worlds

Trion Worlds logo

Trion Worlds, the studio behind cross-media MMO Defiance, has laid off an as-yet-unknown number of its employees.

The last time Trion Worlds was in the news was mere days ago. At that time we reported that RIFT, one of the company's two major MMO titles, would be switching to a free-to-play business model later this year. Beyond that shift, things seemed rosy for Trion Worlds, but the events of this morning paint a darker picture.

A few hours ago Kotaku published what was effectively a rumor, that Trion Worlds had laid off a number of its employees. According to Kotaku's anonymous source (reportedly an insider at Trion Worlds), these layoffs "affect about 70% of the company," though its currently unknown exactly how many people have lost their jobs.

That said, we can confirm that there have been layoffs. Trion Worlds responded to Kotaku's piece by issuing an exceedingly diplomatic press release confirming the rumor. To wit:

To best position Trion in a rapidly changing industry, we have reorganized our teams and are expanding our free to play offering. With Defiance, we delivered a great game that more than one million gamers registered to play and continue to enjoy. As we progress from launch to ongoing development of the game, we are adjusting our staffing levels to deliver new content and improved features. RIFT, and our other titles in development, were unaffected by these changes. We are very much looking forward to the free to play release of RIFT and are excited by the other new titles currently in development.

If any of that sounds familiar it may be because this is a relatively standard, boilerplate explanation for layoffs in the gaming industry. When a development project ends, studios often lay off workers en masse. That doesn't make it any less of a tragic event, but it does serve to indicate that this purge is best categorized as "business as usual," and that we should expect layoffs like this to continue to occur periodically until such a time as there's a major shift in how game development works.

Despite this explanation, we have nothing but sympathy for those who suddenly find themselves out of work. Here's hoping they can all find gainful employment tout de suite.

Source: Kotaku

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huh.. So Rift is finally going F2P.

I don't see Defiance lasting very long to be honest.

I wonder what website developers get these clichéd 'Oh, well' press releases from?

The fact that Defiance looks more like a mediocre single-player third-person shooter than a MMO should've been a sign of another idea that, for the most part, would have been better in another genre of play. And I think it's another case where someone thought of a great world and story, but despite the lack of unique mechanics, could only see it fitting as a video game instead of being a series of novels or web series.

DVS BSTrD:
I don't see Defiance lasting very long to be honest.

which brings me back to my original question: What will get cancelled first, the game or the show?

last I checked the show had a good viewer base.

Not terribly fussed about the game. Played it for a bit, and it's incredibly unremarkable. There's no standard MMO methods of keeping playing interesting in that game. You'd think the people behind something like Rift would know a little better when it comes to this stuff. Ah well.

As for the show, I sincerely hope it doesn't get cancelled. It's pretty boilerplate as scifi series go, but the actors are brilliant and I've really grown to like the show. It's got a nice Mass Effect-y vibe to it, with different species of aliens left, right and center.

As far as staying on-topic goes, it's a really nasty time to lose one's job so I wish for speedy new employment possibilities for all those affected. Yet, as already stated, this is pretty much standard post-release stuff for MMO's. Only the big dogs in the industry really have the money to keep everyone aboard after releasing a game. (See Blizzard, etc, and I believe even they laid off people eventually)

As a bit of further information, it looks like most or perhaps all of these layoffs were just for the Defiance team. Or at the very least, it didn't affect the Rift team at all.

Kalezian:

DVS BSTrD:
I don't see Defiance lasting very long to be honest.

which brings me back to my original question: What will get cancelled first, the game or the show?

last I checked the show had a good viewer base.

Show seems to be doing pretty well despite it's large, poorly spent budget on a show that has, so far, produced nothing significant. If I recall correctly, it's already been renewed for a second season. I'm happy to see that it's succeeding though, because I hope they'll produce more science fiction television again.

The game on the other hand? On all accounts it's floundering and it got pretty poor reviews from just about everyone. It's going to fail pretty quickly unless something amazing happens with the show and you get a sudden influx of players. Not going to happen.

lol. Good try better luck next time.

Watched two episodes of the show.. haven't watched since. Bog-standard "space-western" story arcs left me cold, and the only main character with any charisma is the alien side-kick chick. A couple of the secondary characters seemed decent, the mine owner and the brothel owner, specifically, but aside from that.. bleh. And it's really disappointing too, because I had high hopes for Julie Benz and Jaime Murray. Their performances in Dexter were, while not stunning, certainly above the bar I saw in Defiance. I guess that shows you what difference a good director can make.

What's worse is that any of the promos I see while watching a much better SF show, Continuum don't warm me up to it at all either.

As for the game? Haven't heard anything good, haven't tried it.

this process happens so much in the games industry that in certain cases they may as well consider some of the lower level developers as contractors instead of full time employees :/ might look better on paper instead of having all those layoffs (esp if they end up rehiring some once the next big project rolls around), but then again what do I know

UltimatheChosen:
As a bit of further information, it looks like most or perhaps all of these layoffs were just for the Defiance team. Or at the very least, it didn't affect the Rift team at all.

Good to hear, for the time I played Rift it was quite enjoyable. I had no regrets playing it for the 6 months I paid for, I only quit because I did not feel like grinding gear to be competitive. Too bad it did not get more players, I look forward to jumping in as a vip again at some point when it goes f2p to see whats new.

Defiance? I don't really know. I'll maybe try it if its on sale or something. Still, it stings a bit to read they laid off 70% of their staff. Hopefully it was a good experience for them and it leads to better things.

 

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