After a few messages surfaced on Twitter and Facebook today, it appears that LucasArts is the latest videogame company to be hit with layoffs.
Update: LucasArts has confirmed the layoffs, and The Escapist received a report from an inside source that at least one position has been eliminated. As part of the deal between LucasArts and EA, all of the press relations for the huge upcoming MMO The Old Republic will now be handled by EA exclusively. Some of the layoffs at LucasArts have to do with this change. We still don't know about the layoffs associated with the unannounced game, but we will update you as soon as we know more.
It's a shame to hear any kind of news like this, especially before the Holidays. Will Kerslake from the Radar Group, a kind of liaison company between developers and publishers, posted on Twitter that there may be some sad news for one of his Facebook friends that works at LucasArts. The Radar Group is based in San Francisco where LucasArts also has its headquarters. In addition, George Broussard from Duke Nukem developer 3D Realms also said that layoffs were hitting LucasArts, but that the jobs come from an unannounced game. LucasArts didn't confirm or deny the layoffs but said that there have been minor staffing changes at the company.
Around an hour ago, Kerslake said, "If my FB [Facebook] wall is correct, layoffs at LucasArts as well. Sigh..." He then followed it up by saying, "No idea on size scale, just a friend that works there posted he was cut today. Might be small, well at least I hope it's small."
At almost the same time, Broussard Tweeted, "Layoffs are hitting Lucasarts today. As we speak." Later, around 5pm Eastern time, he added that the jobs were from a game that we didn't even know about. "The Lucasarts layoffs come from a team working on an unannounced game."
LucasArts responded to these rumors without any real information. "LucasArts recently made a minor adjustment in staffing to help us better address the needs of the business," a source from LucasArts said. "We remain committed to our internal studio - and to fostering relationships with trusted external partners - in order to deliver quality games that amaze and inspire fans." I'm not sure what "minor adjustment in staffing" means but it sure sounds like corporate-speak for layoffs.
The two original posts from Broussard and Kerslake were so close, almost simultaneous in fact, that I wonder if the two are friends with the same individual on Facebook. I'd say something about how great the internet is and how fast information moves, if the news wasn't so disheartening.
Let's hope that the layoffs in question aren't severe and that those affected find work soon.