In a statement provided to Polygon by NCSoft, the layoffs were described as part of “a restructuring of key operations with [NCSoft] West.” The publisher says it is devoted to its core massively multiplayer franchises — Aion, Wildstar, Lineage, and Guild Wars — but it also plans to expand into mobile and tablet products.
According to the statement, there were “staff reductions” across all of NCSoft’s western branches except for Guild Wars developer ArenaNet.
A source speaking to Polygon who wished to remain unnamed said that Carbine was especially hard-hit by the layoffs. The studio reportedly lost over 60 members of its team of a few hundred. Our source says the layoffs included Carbine employees across all levels, not just entry level or less senior staff.
Although I let my Wildstar subscription lapse after the first month (I had one extra free month via in-game gold), I left /r/Wildstar subscription active on Reddit just to keep an eye on things. For the last few months I thought it might be good to track down just how many developers were leaving Carbine, but it didn’t seem especially pertinent considering I did not know their relative “value” or impact to the game. Given the news of this heavy cut, I decided to go ahead and post what I could find:
- Jeremy Gaffney (President of Carbine | Aug 26)
- Hugh Shelton (Class Lead | Sept 23)
- Stephan Frost (Design Producer | Sept 30)
- Matt Mocarski (Art Director | Oct 14)
- Bitwise (Lead Client Engineer | Oct 23)
- Rob Hess (Dungeon and Raid designer | Oct 23)
- Ryan Moore (Senior World Artist | Oct 23)
Some of these people left for personal reasons, some got better offers, some were hit with layoffs. To an extent, this is pretty “normal” in the game industry anyway. No doubt some of those people have been working on Wildstar for 5+ years.
At the same time… yikes.