A decision to use existing tech rather than develop new is behind the Jagex layoffs.
Jagex, the developer behind the Transformers Universe free to play browser MMO, has announced that 13 jobs have been lost, as a result of a decision to use established rather than in-house technology. This triggered an internal reorganization in which some staff were assigned to other projects, but there wasn't anywhere for the remaining 13 to go. Describing the move as an attempt to scale back the development team, Jagex said in a statement that it was "confident that this reduction will not adversely impact the game."
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Jagex is under considerable pressure to release Transformers Universe. This is that same game which Jagex cancelled science fiction MMO Stellar Dawn to make even though, at the time of its cancellation, Jagex had been working on Stellar Dawn for five years. Meanwhile Transformers Universe is in closed beta, and in a Game Informer interview chief creative officer Alex Horton claimed it was due for a 2013 release. That was before the decision to change technologies, which presumably means a significant revamp, something that may be difficult to pull off in the time frame.
Jagex says it will be releasing more game details on its website, www.transformersuniverse.com, soon.