Daybreak layoffs hit Landmark, EverQuest Next, H1Z1, more

Well, here’s a news post I didn’t want to write. SOE Daybreak Games has laid off popular Global Community Relations lead Linda Carlson as well as EverQuest franchise lead Dave Georgeson as part of a staff “realignment” that comes in the wake of the studio’s sale to a holding company last week.

“I have been released from the best and most challenging job I have ever had, ” Carlson posted on Facebook. “I thank you all for being part of that incredible experience. Too many people to thank personally, but know that I am extraordinarily grateful and very curious where life takes me now.”

Carlson started at SOE six years ago after making waves with her fansite TheBrasse.com. Georgeson also confirmed his release via Twitter: “Yeah, I’m sorry folks but it’s true. LM, eqn, eq and eqii are no longer guided by moi. Other dreamers will steer now.” Daybreak released an official statement on the SOE forums; we’ve included it below.

Dear Players, Partners & Friends,

Last week we announced that we were acquired and are now operating independently as Daybreak Game Company. To better position our newly independent studio for future growth opportunities and to deliver on our legacy of making top online games, we have had to make some tough choices including realignment of resources.

Unfortunately, this realignment means adjusting staffing as well. We announced today that we will eliminate positions in our San Diego and Austin studios. We deeply value our employees and never take these decisions lightly so we’ve done our best to do what’s right for the people affected. Although extremely difficult, these are necessary actions that will ultimately drive improved results and help strengthen our company’s foundation for success. Many of us are saying goodbye to close friends and colleagues who we’ve worked with over the years, and we are grateful for the memories and all that they’ve contributed. They will be greatly missed, and we wish them nothing but the best for the future.

These reductions will not affect the operation of our current games and as mentioned above, will help better position our company for future success. As we move forward, we are committed to delivering the best online games and working side-by-side with our players to drive the future of our online games.

Thank you for your continued support,

The Daybreak Games Team

EverQuest II guild RRC Raiders has been rounding up more names of those let go, including Endymion, Aaron “Gnobrin” Bisnett, Akil “Lyndro” Hooper, and numerous customer service reps. Steve DanuserEverQuest Next’s lead content designer, likewise tweeted and blogged about his departure.

MassivelyOP has reached out to Daybreak for more information. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the layoffs.

[Source: Facebook via EQ2Wire, with thanks to Chris.]
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454 comments
spinedoc77
spinedoc77

I feel bad for Georgeson, I would never wish a layoff on anyone.  But as an avid Everquest 2 player and raider who was there when he first came on board and watched him single handedly ruin the franchise I say good riddance.

Cambruin
Cambruin

I'm sorry, but when big corporations 'invest' into gaming companies, it is never to add, only to subtract. They want a return on their investment and they want it yesterday.

ZaiyaKai
ZaiyaKai

I don't know how Smed keeps his job... they should have let him go and kept 5 of the people they sniped.

Nanulak
Nanulak

From my experience, over time organizations become bloated and salaries inflated.  House cleaning may be the best thing here.  Try to get back to "lean and mean" in order to remain competitive in today's modern world.

Denice J Cook
Denice J Cook

@Nanulak This would be better if they hadn't already become lean and mean with the previous closure of 75% of their development teams in the past year or two, and had several rounds of nasty layoffs previous to this latest situation as well.

Kherova
Kherova

This sucks - like all layoffs. Guess you guys and gals are more sensible rif now than ever before. So am I, since it happened to me about 15 months ago.

Issmir
Issmir

I get the business decisions behind it (kind of), but that really bites.  My condolences to all of those who just lost their livelihood.


I think getting rid of popular and high profile team members is going to be tough for the company. They're going to have to do a lot of damage control to keep good will.

Exiani
Exiani

R.I.P. EQ :( 


I hope that all those fired employees will find a new job a soon is possible

Sinaptic
Sinaptic

sad to see it happen and I feel for those who lost. I expect those games making a decent profit to be sold off.

Sinaptic
Sinaptic

Thought half of h1z1 was let go as well. It was hinted at i think.

Zax19taken
Zax19taken

Ah no, seems like people were afraid for a reason :/

CromulentWord
CromulentWord

I've never played anything Everquest, but EQ Next looked like the last best hope for fantasy sandbox MMOs. No longer.


Best of luck to everyone who lost their jobs. Who knows, perhaps Dave Georgeson could follow in Chris Roberts' footsteps and crowdfund the next big thing?

Darro Orden
Darro Orden

I really hope EQNext isn't going to be on the chopping block next.

Zariarn
Zariarn

Up next, Dragon's Prophet is set to close down.

I0Shift0I
I0Shift0I

@Zariarn 

First thing I thought when I heard of the acquisition was Dragons Prophet would get dropped. But we wont hear about that for a few more months since the minimum contract is two years.

Nucleon
Nucleon

I'm surprised to see the amount of support the SOE guys are getting in these comments. I have nothing against them personally, but I really did not like their game design decisions. Ever since EQ1 all of their games have the same vibe: Excellent foundation, but no meat. EQ2 really could be a great game, it has all of the pieces, but it lacks design vision. The raiding wasn't compelling, the PvP wasn't compelling, the social experience wasn't compelling. It just did everything average. I feel the same way about H1Z1. Because of that I didn't have much hope for EQN or Landmark.


Maybe a change of leadership is a positive sign. Or maybe they are liquidating the company.

MrPoolaty
MrPoolaty

Dave and Omeed should start a company!

Boboton
Boboton

Dave's attitude and enthusiasm were contagious! He really knows how to get the gamers attention! Best of luck to him.

altered3
altered3

For those of you speculating about Columbus Nova, a simple search reveals that it is a subsidiary of the Russian Renova Group (http://www.renova.ru/en/structure/company/detail/130/), owned by one of the top 3 richest Russian oligarchs.  Fascinating article in Forbes this week about said oligarch, entitled "The Four Horsemen of Russia's Economic Apocalypse" (http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2015/01/21/the-four-horsemen-of-russias-economic-apocalypse/).  Hard to say what direction CN will take, but this is certainly a landmark in Russian ownership of US gaming properties.


I'm very sad to see EQ2 on its last legs.  Hopefully the next wave of innovation will come from outside corporate gaming.



Hotblack
Hotblack

I am hoping (and praying to any deity that's listening) that EQN will continue in its development; the idea of a world that you you have an affect on, where actions can have consequences, is utterly compelling.


A friend and I were discussing what it means to have a world like this and how you'd stop the flighty I'LL KILL YOU NOOBZ FU ALL player from taking a sandbox like this and pissing all over it. IF they manage to construct such a world, there would have to be a rule-set of consequences to your actions, something akin to "you did that, now go and fix it". 


If the players won't, they face penalties, if they leave, the effects of their actions diminish. It's like asking Oppenheimer et al to go and rebuild Nagasaki, and they wouldn't, but over time, it's become a thriving city again without their help. Although, I doubt they'll be getting a dinner invite from anyone there soon.


Please please please continue the development; the immersive promise has me slavering with anticipation.

Sinaptic
Sinaptic

@Hotblack 

get a group together and make an offer. If the community can raise a site from the grave I am sure it can raise a game as well.

Get to work and reach out.

Norlamin
Norlamin

  It's terribly sad that all these people lost their jobs, but I still can't fathom as to why or how Dave Georgeson was let go.

I0Shift0I
I0Shift0I

FWIW, Smokejumper was with the company since the early days of Planetside 1. Why would anyone in position want to let him go is beyond me.

Mortam
Mortam

The best way to support the remaining Daybreaker employees, is to log in and play their games. Today.

Sargonnax
Sargonnax

Ive worked in the corporate world all of my life and for the most part when things like this happen very little good comes from it. The bottom line of the company looks great, but everything else tends to go downhill.

Wandris
Wandris

If this was a move to ensure the long term survival of all the games currently on the roster than it isn't a betrayal. This is a setback sure, but if there intent was to stop supporting development of any of there games would they not have just done it now instead of prolonging the uncertainty? It isn't to hard to believe that they have stretched themselves thin attempting to build several new games at the same time as developing/maintaining older ones. I am hoping this was a well thought out and calculated move to solve a problem sony was unable or unwilling to solve for themselves. Hopefully the emotional backlash from players won't render their plan futile. One of SoE's greatest strengths in my eyes is the fact that they have a large selection of games which share a common subscription and points. I can live with a major setback but would be sorely disappointed and betrayed if they did not intend on maintaining there roster of games and going forward with EQN. People talk like EQN is dead but I would be surprised if that is true as it is one of the most promising games on the horizon and what was to be their flagship product for the next 10-20 years. I don't see how they could radically alter the EQN vision at this stage as there are already years of planning and development behind it not to mention everything players have already put into landmark.

Lanarchy
Lanarchy

That sucks so much.... we totally knew this would happen.

Rayko
Rayko

I think EQ Next is not going to turn out well. I love the EQ franchise but none of the EQ players I know want to play it. 

KaiserPhoenix
KaiserPhoenix

Sad news. Layoffs a few months after a mmo launched (excluding contract layoffs) are already somehow of a warning sign,  but layoffs long before the game even launched?


I think the most positive outcome of this would be that eq:next will be "moderately" rushed with unfinished features and above average amount of bugs during launch. No severe changes in the cash shop plans.

The realistic one however...

Remianen
Remianen

@Gottphoenix "Layoffs a few months after a mmo launched (excluding contract layoffs) are already somehow of a warning sign,"


What? That's normal. Most games carry a surplus of people in some departments pre-launch (art, coding, etc). You need that before launch to get things done in a timely fashion. Many of those people are contract workers (they're on staff specifically for that project until, say, 90 days after launch). Why is that 'somehow of a warning sign'? It happens on almost every major release. You don't need a huge art department post-launch (for example), unless you've cut a ton of stuff to get the game out the door (then that surplus of people works on finishing the cut bits and when that's done, they can be released).

sunkzero
sunkzero

I'm pretty sure an investment company didn't decide WHO would go (except possibly the community support people)... it was more likely Smedley was told "lose 20 people" and he/other seniors would have decided who would go. Odds are, a lot of it was already decided  and agreed by SOE senior's before SOE was bought. SOE wasn't just bought off the shelf overnight, there would have been months of analysis and due diligence done under confidentiality agreements.  

pudgybunnybry
pudgybunnybry

@sunkzero Most of these guys are likely the ones that were making the biggest salaries, top execs excluded. I think Omeed put it best during his stream on Twitch today, in regards to having to let go of people based on how much Columbus Nova wanted to spend in a year on salaries. Of course we don't know that number, but a lot of these guys have been with SOE for a long time. Their time, loyalty, and work have earned them bigger salaries. It's likely that CN gave Smed a per month or year salary number to be at or below, and those are the guys that you have to look at and consider the most.

Cujo H
Cujo H

DaveG is a hell of a personality.  His positivity is really sad to see go.

Darkdrakke
Darkdrakke

Saw this coming as soon as I heard they got bought by a (Mis)management company, they are there to trim the fat make the company a valuable commodity they can then flip for a profit...the fact that the company makes games vs anything else has zero to do with their decisions. What a year man!

rottenrotny
rottenrotny

Oh man. Terrible news. I fear for the future of H1Z1 and EQn.

Also, first post on the new site! Love the layout!

Dope_Danny
Dope_Danny

Welp. This does not quite inspire confidence.

Nucleon
Nucleon

@JosephDeStefano @Dope_Danny Right? Has SOE done anything that remarkable in the last 6 years? It's been a bunch of largely meaningless EQ expansions, no vision or goal or even attempt to compete with the real players in the market. While other companies are updating their products to keep up like Blizzard and CCP, SOE is just keeping theirs on life support, if that.


PS2 is quite average. Landmark is an intriguing start but so far from a product that we can't judge. H1Z1 is in the same boat, it has potential. It could be good, but it's got a good chunk to go.

Cambin
Cambin

I'll admit, I wasn't always the biggest fan of David, however I can't argue his passion for the EQ series. There are a lot of other people I greatly admire in the industry that were caught up in this wave of unexpected change. I'll miss Brasse's dwarven shennanigans and Mooregard's talent with lore. It's a shame that this new company took such a big swipe at the heart of the EQ franchise. 


I sure hope they know what they are doing. From the outside looking in, it doesn't appear like they do. Only time will tell....

melissamcdon
melissamcdon

David Georgeson is the heart and soul.   Worst gaming news of 2015 came early.

mrnastybutler
mrnastybutler

While it sucks royally that they got laid off.  I've seen them rather positive about the games they have created and encouraging people to keep playing them.

Feydakin
Feydakin

I am just flabbergasted... I think we all knew there would be layoffs, but I don't think anyone can honestly say they saw this coming. I want to, and choose to remain optimistic for the futures of the current and in development games, but the reality is, I am very worried. I feel so bad for the people let go, especially Dave Georgeson and the rest of the Everquest design staff that were so passionate about their games. Going through the stages of grief right along with them...

brelic
brelic

Cant say they didnt see this coming...my hopes for EQnext are diminishing day by day..but omg im so happy massively is back. Why cant they keep Georgeson and fire Smedley...

Galiden
Galiden

Looks like one of my very first takes on MMMOs is being cast off into the history books. For the sake of those still enjoying the content I hope they hold it together.

This doesn't look good for Everquest future content, but I can only keep my hopes up. They were such a passionate group of developers, that seemed to truly care about the production.

Kayweg
Kayweg

My impulse reaction to reading this was "and so it begins".

This doesn't have to spell disaster, but gosh, why doesn't this come as much of a surprise somehow ?

Best wishes to everyone who's affected by this of course.