Publisher THQ has continued streamlining and cutting back business costs by laying off another 120 employees from its game development department. Vigil Games has seen 80 positions removed, and Relic Entertainment has let go of 40 employees. This marks the fifth round of downsizing by THQ in the last three months.
This accompanies news that Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium, originally expected to be a massively multiplayer online game, has been “refocused” as an “immersive single player and online multiplayer experience with robust digital content, and engaging community features.” CEO Brian Farrell claims:
“Based on changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO, we believe the right direction for us is to shift the title from an MMO to a premium experience with single and multiplayer gameplay, robust digital content and community features,”
According to THQ, Vigil Games and Relic Entertainment will continue working on Darksiders II and Company of Heroes / Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, respectively.
Analysis: THQ can’t seem to keep their head above water. With each day that goes by, I further worry about whether the company will even be around in a few months. It’s never good to hear about people losing their jobs, and we wish them all the luck in finding a new job somewhere. But with so many positions being closed down in the last few months, which we’ve previously covered, one has to worry about the future of the company.
Even CEO Brain Farrell has seen his own salary halved from $720,000 to $360,000 in an effort to cut back on business costs. As for the news about Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium, to me it sounds like the publisher is trying to make the best of a terrible situation by attempting to release something rather than nothing at all. Personally, I can’t blame them, considering as much as $50 million has been put into the game’s production up until this point, and I certainly don’t mind the new focus the title has taken on.
They’re facing a possible delisting from the NASDAQ stock exchange in only a few short months if the company’s share price doesn’t exceed $1. Things are looking incredibly dim for the company and I would wager that whether they survive or not relies purely on the performance of Darksiders 2 and Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium. However, at this point, I would suspect the development of Darksiders 2 has been affected by all the staff cuts as well as the refocusing of Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium. Here’s hoping that I am wrong.