WildStar suffers major round of layoffs

Update: WildStar has allegedly suffered a massive round of layoffs as part of a “reorganization”; some sources suggest as many as 60 70 people may have been laid off from Carbine today. The update is at the bottom of the post.

WildStar’s CRB Hotspur is apparently no longer working for Carbine, according to Twitter. He was WildStar’s technical and systems designer.

We have not yet been able to confirm whether his departure is part of a larger wave of layoffs. Confirmed. We welcome more information from former employees. Multiplayer Systems Lead Brett Scheinert left last week.

In even more sobering WildStar news, former Carbine Product Director Mike Donatelli told twitter followers that he’d been diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer:

Donatelli seemingly ceded his role to Chad Moore in February. We wish all the best to him and his family.

Source: Twitter, twitter via Reddit. Thanks to everyone who sent this in.
And now the rumors begin. Former WildStar Community Manager Rey suggested over 60 70 people might be “affected”:

NCsoft’s Omeed Dariani announced a “reorganization” on the official site, saying the cancellation of the Chinese launch necessitated layoffs and promising that Carbine remains “committed” to the game.

Earlier this morning, Carbine Studios completed a reorganization of its operating structure. Moving forward, the studio will focus on operating and updating WildStar as a live game in the US and Europe. As part of this change, the studio has canceled its plans to bring WildStar to China.

Unfortunately, as a result of these changes, we’ve had to reduce staff. These cuts are directly tied to WildStar’s evolution from a product in development to a live title, to the cancellation of work to bring WildStar to China, and to the overall performance of WildStar since launch in 2014.

These kinds of decisions are exceptionally difficult. The talented and passionate professionals who are impacted by these cuts have been valuable team members and respected colleagues. We wish everyone well for the future and will be providing severance and employment search assistance.

As for WildStar, we remain committed to the game. Over the next few weeks and months we will deliver a significant update to the game, kick off a variety of community events, and continue our work on new content that we will talk more about in the near future.

Update: Polygon claims unnamed sources who claim the game is due to sunset.

However, reports Polygon has received from sources close to the studio paint a grimmer picture. While NCSoft’s statement didn’t provide exact numbers, we were told that more than 70 people have been let go from Carbine, as much as 40 percent of the studio’s total workforce. Furthermore, sources tell us it was made clear to remaining employees that they should expect additional layoffs in the coming months. “Those remaining only have a couple months left before Wildstar ‘coasts into the sunset,'” one source told us. All of the sources we spoke with asked to remain anonymous.

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231 comments
Narq
Narq

Maybe another company will buy it and keep it running, like Daybreak did with Sony. Keeping games like Everquest Next.... oh wait. Nevermind. R.I.P Wildstar.

Kevin_G
Kevin_G

If I ran a game studio, I would never sign with NCSoft.  You are almost guaranteed to have your game shutdown by them if your game does not perform extremely well.  The only games that are truly safe are the ones that they develop in house.  So Blade and Soul for instance should have a long life.

boots2
boots2

It's a business. all businesses that have shareholders to report to do the exact same thing

Kevin_G
Kevin_G

@boots2 Sure its a business, but NCSoft likes to flip the kill switch quicker then most if it is an outside studio.  That is history.

MetaDune
MetaDune

@Kevin_G @boots2 A lot of people would too when you have a studio that spent 5+ years and 100 of millions of dollars on it and it's not doing that well.

Greaterdivinity
Greaterdivinity

Whoa, did the comments get nuked? Was at 1k last I checked and now down to 220 >.>

Neo_Wolf
Neo_Wolf

Never good when people lose their jobs, I've been made redundant twice so I know the feeling well.  That said though if it includes their CS team after the way theyt reated me and ripped me off then all I can say is Karma baby.. what goes around, comes around.

captainzor
captainzor

The games industry is, indeed hard.  Imagine working in oil right now.  I wish 70 was a high number -_-


*edit: not to knock the losses at Carbine, just lamenting my own company's losses..

ElMutharino
ElMutharino

A lot of people on the forums, at the time, complained that going F2P wouldn't fix the game problems and just dry out the last incoming streams of revenue (A LOT of them said they weren't going to keep paying and buying CREDD).


Guess what? They were right apparently

dorn2
dorn2

Herp derp.  Make your game hard and a lot of people can't play it.  People can't play and they don't pay.  Big surprise.  

Let's face it.  WoW's method of having multiple difficulty levels is the only way.  People enraged by "easy modes" need to suck it up.  There will never be a game without wellfare epics that succeeds.  Better to accept that and at least have some difficulty in hard modes.

Vladamyr
Vladamyr

@dorn2 Love the auto conclusion of wildstar was hard, so that's why it failed.  No possibility that it failed just simply because it wasn't good?  WoW (while still the biggest MMO) hit it's highest success pre-wellfare epics.  Since that point it has steadily decreased in overall subs.  People have bought back in on a few xpacs but the overall sub numbers/year have dropped an unprecedented amount.

dorn2
dorn2

@Vladamyr @dorn2 

What do you want me to do?  Create numbers out of my ass?  Companies don't release info.  I can't go up to Carbine and ask them "Just what percentage of players actually finished a dungeon?" 


I can only make a reasonable guess by playing with a large group of people and observing different factors.  Did they quit when they were leveling?  Did they play like mad then slowly quit after they hit the dungeons?  Etc.


My observations are that two things happened. Something like half the people quit because the start of the game had some flaws.  The people that didn't quit though were rabid.  They LOVED the game.  When people got to dungeons though it just caved in.


It was an intense and obvious sharp divide that caused players to quit.  Even in a fairly high end guild I watched 90% of the max level players quit after numerous wipes.  I was more persistent and kept trying but the situation repeated itself over and over.


I'm sorry you can say "ancedotal evidence" and blah blah but this was just TOO obvious.  The people who actually LIKED the game quit because it was too hard.

dorn2
dorn2

@Zenchii @Vladamyr @dorn2 

Yep you can go even further and point out that LFD and good dungeon gear was the peak of the peak for WoW.  LFR was actually a horrible move for them.  Moving the focus away from dungeons and wellfare epics has killed them.

Zenchii
Zenchii

@Vladamyr @dorn2 Actually, it peaked during the expansion that introduced welfare epics in the first place: Wotlk.

I remember being able to get purples by doing higher end dungeons. That was the first time purples could be commonly obtained outside of a raid. Naturally, people bitched hard.

After wrath, they heard the complaints of the easy difficulty and turned it back up a notch for Cata, the ensuing result was a loss of subs. They haven't hit 12 mil subs since.

LordOfBread
LordOfBread

well good luck to them. The team seemed a bit large for an MMO already out, hope they are now on a profitable route and keep working on content. It's a great game, will buy some stuff from the store to show support

BritoBruno
BritoBruno

FRIDAY IS OVER, I REPEAT, FRIDAY IS OVER!

TtotheC
TtotheC

How to sum up Wildstar?  One day whilst in game, I spotted an island way off in the distance in one of the big lakes and thought "You know what, I'm going to go and explore and see what I can find on that island.".  Firstly it took time to get near the island, and then I had to fight a series of odd water currents and invisible walls, till eventually I could land my character the spiral that seemed to lead up to the top of the island.  Except I couldn't.  It didn't go all the way up, meeting an overhanging ledge that stopped you from reaching the plateau at the top.   Try as I might, I just couldn't get around the obstacle.  I'd been unknowingly punished for stepping outside the confines of Carbine's theme park ride, and had my sense of exploration dashed by poor game design.   There was no wonder of exploring a new setting, only the same ol', same ol' with slightly different whistles and bells, which soon felt like more of a chore than a game. 


Shame of it is, I do love the universe that Wildstar created.  It's just a shame it's filled with frustration and missed opportunities to bring something new to the table. 

ColdinT
ColdinT

@TtotheC Interestingly, there are instances where you can go way off the map, and people have found some interesting stuff out there. There's a hoverboard park just sitting out in the middle of an ocean. So it's not all enclosed like you think.

MariedeGournay
MariedeGournay

@TtotheC Irony being that if it was WoW, you would have gotten to the island and found a cave with a gnome sitting atop a pile of kobold skulls.

Malorey
Malorey

The gaming industry is very young. Don't look back, just look forward to the exciting opportunities coming your way!!

melbrankin
melbrankin

Good luck going forward to those impacted - hopefully jobs will be found soon.

TheJewishMerp
TheJewishMerp

This day shall be known as Bloody Friday, the day we lost EQ:N and the day that we truly usher in the final days of Wildstar...


Jesus God...what a day.

ammalis
ammalis

What is this day really? End of first quarter financial report time to investors? Why all those news in one day?

sray155
sray155

@ammalis Coincidental timing with the EQN announcement, but anything that involves lay offs usually happens on a Friday to minimize the chance of a violent incident.

sray155
sray155

@Midgetsnowman Still over 100 people actually working at Carbine, so not quite yet. But barring a miracle, soon... very soon.

MariedeGournay
MariedeGournay

Good luck and godspeed to all those who lost their jobs. Hope you not only find work, but work you love.

sray155
sray155

I'd like to point out that NCSoft actually has very little responsibility for the decision to not pursue the Chinese release. Foreign companies cannot run businesses in China, so NC actually had licensed the game to Giant Interactive to run in China. The decision not to go forward with the game would have largely been made by Giant due to whatever reception the Chinese beta testing had received (obviously, a fairly negative one).

Copi
Copi

@sray155 How does Anet do it with Guild Wars 2 in China?

Jack Pipsam
Jack Pipsam

Cancelling the Chinese launch is the nail in the coffin as far as I am concerned.

Not wishing to bring it out anywhere else new might mean they don't expect to keep it around much longer, so they don't want to annoy people in China long term off other NCSoft products.

70 is an awful lot of people to go, I hope they all land on their feet.

mmonerd
mmonerd

Not releasing the game in China is a huge mistake for NCsoft. 

Armsbend
Armsbend

@mmonerd at some point you need to read the writing on the wall.

Peregrine_Falcon
Peregrine_Falcon

So I think that "The State of Wildstar" has just been answered.

My advice to those of you who love this game: Play it as much as you possibly can right now because NCSoft will be shutting it down soon.

Citation: Auto Assault, City of Heroes, Dungeon Runners, Exteel, Lineage (NA server), Tabula Rasa

duane99
duane99

@Peregrine_Falcon good advice.  I just hope they some how spin the game off to fans or a studio that is passionate about the game.  NCsoft is moving on to the next boobie grind fest for asia.

Tridus
Tridus

@duane99 @Peregrine_Falcon Without NCSoft paying the bills, how would that work? Passion is great and all, but data centers tend to not accept it as payment. Let alone employees who need to pay people like landlords and grocery stores.


Those things all require money.

ColdinT
ColdinT

I'm just going to hold out hope that there's still a Steam release. They keep going and doing updates, even if they're more casual style content, and that momentum picks back up for Wildstar.


If you haven't tried out Wildstar yet, I implore you to give it a shot. It's completely free, there's no reason to NOT check it out.

Yangers
Yangers

@ColdinT It's surprising it wasn't put on steam long ago.

I've also tried it out, but couldn't get past the visual nuclear bomb that went off in front of my eyes when I logged in my first character. It was just too bright and colourful. :-(

ColdinT
ColdinT

@Yangers @ColdinT That is the weirdest criticism I've ever heard about not playing a game. It reminds me of all the complaints about Diablo 3, and how it was too colorful. 


If it's too bright and colorful, just turn down your gamma and saturation settings. :P

ColdinT
ColdinT

Lets be fair now. Nearly every MMO launched in the last 5 years was hyped up to be a WoW killer. This isn't a new thing, and not worth condemning Wildstar over.

And while there were bugs, the things you're referring to I've never encountered. Mobs never leash in dungeons or raids, and I've only ever come across a few completely game breaking glitches.

As for any headaches. You may want to look into reducing the brightness or upping the Field of View. It's set pretty low by default.

DForrester
DForrester

@ColdinT If the game survives it will probably end up on Steam at some point. I'm not so sure it will though. I played the game at launch when it had a subscription, and I have never cancelled a sub quicker. Visually the game physically gave me a headache, I never figured out exactly why but I could only ever play for an hour or two before my head started banging.
That's not the only thing that put me off it, the game was broken as fuck, everything was glitchy, dungeons were hilariously bad, enemies leashing if you move even a step from the position when you pulled it, trash mobs respawning instantly. Pretty sure there was one where we just had to leave the dungeon because the boss never appeared.
The main reason I was so put off the game really, was that for TWO YEARS they were hyping this game up before it's release, how it was going to be a WoW-killer and be this amazing experience, then the game comes out and I honestly felt like I was playing an Alpha or Beta, the game just did not feel finished and after two years of hype that seemed like a massive slap in the face.

BritoBruno
BritoBruno

Changing the name of this day to Drinking News Friday.