Trion Worlds has been sold to Gamigo, and yes, there have been more layoffs

    
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File this one under “huge things that rudely happened while we were all in the middle of recording the podcast”: Trion Worlds has apparently been sold to Gamigo. Here’s the official statement as posted on the RIFT forums:

“Greetings — We can confirm that there has been a transaction involving Trion Worlds and its games. While many of the names and faces you’ve come to know in our studios will remain on through this transition, others will not be making the journey. To those who are leaving us, we are forever grateful for your incredible work and contributions over the years. We’d like to assure our communities that the games will continue on in capable hands moving forward, as everyone involved is aiming to make this transition as smooth as possible for you. We will have more information to reveal as soon as we possibly can.

“From the bottom of all of our hearts, we thank you for your time and dedication to our games and hope that you’ve enjoyed the experience as much as we have. From spending time with you in game, to seeing you at conventions, to talking with you on livestreams and forums, it’s been our pleasure to be a part of this exceptional community with you since our first launch more than seven years ago. Please know that you have our deepest gratitude. As for our games, we hope you continue to enjoy playing them far into the future.”

Among those being laid off today are Linda “Brasse” Carlson herself. “I’ll be here until end of day and will either answer or forward your questions to the team,” she writes. “It has been a rare honor to share Telara with you all! I will still wander its pathways as an ordinary citizen. =)”

Gamasutra is reporting that only 25 employees remain with Trion: “A source speaking to Gamasutra, however, has indicated that those layoffs may have affected the vast majority of the studio. According to that source, only 25 or so employees were given the opportunity to continue on with the studio. According to that information, the remaining developers at both the company’s Redwood City, California and Austin, Texas offices have been affected by the layoffs. Prior to this, Trion Worlds employed over 200 people.”

The post on the ArcheAge forums says that the 5.0 update is still scheduled to launch Wednesday as planned and that both Khrolan and Socke remain with the team. “I want to make sure you know that the games will go on!” Brasse adds. Khrolan himself, however, seems much less optimistic about that date:

“I don’t have a lot of information to provide currently. I can confirm that the news Brasse mentions (edit: about the acquisition of Trion) is accurate. A press release and public facing messages will follow. I’m still here currently and will be providing insight as soon as I can. A lot is in flux right now but I’m committed to providing you with accurate info. To set expectations, details will become available over the course of this week. I do concede that the release date for 5.0 may be delayed.”

MMORPG players will recall that Trion runs Trove, Defiance, Defiance 2050, and Atlas Reactor, in addition to RIFT and ArcheAge. It recently picked up the remains of Gazillion and Marvel Heroes too.

We’ve reached out to (what’s left of?) Trion for more. Our hearts go out to all of the rank-and-file developers affected by the layoffs.

Source: RIFT forums. With thanks to everyone who sent this in!
Update 10/22
Trion boss Scott Hartsman tweeted this evening, chiefly focused on placing former employees:

Update 10/23

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xanadox

Is there any hope that Gamigo is going to re-boot those games (without becoming even worse)?

Trion deserves what it has got. Bad management, censorship, bad costumer service, bad PR, bad decisions…

The best MMO I have ever played: Archeage Alpha. The worst MMO disappointment, Trion Worlds.

Off topic: I haven’t seen this article, it has became the most commented one, and I saw it in the popular thread’s column (I don’t really like the new web’s layout).

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Jk Lauderdale

I’m hoping they don’t cancel Rift but actually spend some $ developing new content for it. Unlikely but possible :(

Rift has always been my “bored, goto MMO of choice” since Secret World imploded. Both games offered an immense amount of character creation flexibility but apparently that’s not what the majority of gamers want – Seems to me that talent mix freedom should be amongst the top priorities when looking to develop and evolve YOUR character. Shows what I know…

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Leiloni

I can understand how some people like the ability to do whatever they want, but personally I find it overwhelming. I want something that’s fun, but more important is a class that works well. There’s a wide variety of classes that I can enjoy within my preferred healer and mage archetypes, so I am less picky about that. What I don’t like is spending tons of time reading guides and theorycrafting posts trying to figure out how to play the damn game the ideal way when all I want is to jump in and do stuff.

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Jack Kerras

I heard amazing things about ArcheAge, picked it up deep in its alpha, and had technical problems so bad I couldn’t launch the game.

No refunds for any reason. Sorry, we got your money, fuck you.

I got it back from the bank anyway. Haven’t bought a thing from Trion since. I liked Rift back in the day, too.

Similar problem with EQ: Landmark? Instant, full refund. Less than an hour in response time.

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Utakata

Wow…this was posted almost two days ago. How did my pigtails miss this elephant charging by? And /bleh! :(

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Kevin McCaughey

Archeage actually finished me in MMO’s. I haven’t played much since, I was just disgusted. I don’t think any company ever shafted their player base so hard as Trion did with Archeage. When I finally realised what it was I couldn’t believe I had fallen for it. I felt dirty and used. So good riddance Trion. Such a shame since you had such a bright start.

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Necromonger

In this world your word means something, and if you lie on purpose to the people who support you, if you lie to your fanbase who shell out 150 euro packages, if you lie again and again and again you deserve to be taken down.

Archeage could have been that mmo that would have grown to a mammoth.
But Scot hartman and that stinky rat with his NO TRICKS NO TRAPS ruined this game.

I know XLGames also made things happen, but man o man when you fuck over your entire playerbase 4 times over you really are a stinking lowlife scumbag.

Good to see its game over for them to.
Sorry to all their workers but games are booming and i bet they find a much better company to work for.

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Yaner

While I don’t care for Trion because of their disastrous PR and money grubbing on Archeage. I do, however, hate seeing people lose their jobs. Best of luck to the ones affected.

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psytic

I dont think Trion went into this space deciding to be money grubbing. I remember when Rift first came out people praised them for being much more responsive than Blizzard. Once the first expac hit I think sales and player interest was dropping off and eventually you have to change your business practices. Its a self fulfilling prophecy. You start to pinch pennies and come up with more monetization schemes to stay afloat and the more you do it the more it pushes the players away. Archeage continued the trend after interest started to wane.

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Wendigo Runner

Hartsman killed Rift within the first 3 months of the game’s life, or perhaps I should say that he finished it off. All of the positive feedback and general positive hype for the game existed during its closed beta period.

This positive swell began to evaporate as the game neared release; the result of a growing number of signs pointing to a very bad direction as the beta moved toward Rift’s release day. Concerns and complaints were brushed aside or ignored in the days leading toward said release, and Trion blissfully launched Rift in full a tailspin of seething negativity that was quickly followed by a mass exodus.

Trion ultimately had to consolidate servers and go F2P as a result of losing so many players, but this was just another broken promise. Rift was a subscription based MMO and that’s what it was always going to be, but hey, what else can you do once you’ve shredded both your game and your reputation?

Non-beta players who had just bought the game at release didn’t quite understand what the negativity was about. I can’t exactly blame them. Rift had one of the most positive pre-release reputations that anyone had seen for an MMO in quite some time. Due to an NDA, however, we weren’t able to put the hard breaks on that reputation in the way that was needed. I’m sure that there were signs of discontent but it takes more than a bit of hand waving to stop a train that had been building speed for months.

Their original vision for the game – the one that we were playing during closed beta and that everyone praised publicly – was “too difficult” to do, according to Hartsman. Thus they quickly embraced being an instanced-raid-based MMO. The very thing that they enjoyed mocking in their pre-release advertisements.

Then of course they completely ripped off some game to make Trove, and ArcheAge happened, and so forth and such and now here we are, to absolutely no one’s surprise.

Failure was always this company’s style. It just sucks that so many very real people are affected by the choices of the greedy and witless.

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psytic

I mean really liked it up until the expac that killed it for me and I never went back. The environments were bland.

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Leiloni

I enjoyed RIFT in the beginning. It was a good game, although I don’t have time for raids. It would be nice if they keep the game going, get rid of some of the F2P crap and other bad changes, and focus enough on 5 man party content for it to be endgame for some people. I’d totally play it as a side game when I need a break from my main game.

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Nathan Aldana

tbh im most worried about trove, Rift and archeage i think we all knew were going to die eventually.

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Leiloni

I don’t think so honestly. I think RIFT Prime’s initial huge launch – and the mass exodus from BfA to games like FFXIV – shows there’s a huge interest again in traditional, well made, P2P-designed, Western styled themeparks. If they can get their act together with RIFT, it could see a healthy playerbase again.

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Nate Woodard

Haha! I swear. I don’t log on to Massively OP for one day and there’s always something!!!