Gamigo has laid off an unspecified number of RIFT devs, says MMO will continue

    
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Yesterday, we learned through a trusted tipster that multiple Gamigo developers situated in the US and working on RIFT had been laid off from the company. The layoffs reportedly included both Kerilar and Acalos, long-running developers on the game, with the assumption that RIFT’s development is being shifted overseas.

We reached out to Gamigo for a statement yesterday morning, specifically asking about the impact on RIFT, Trove, and ArcheAge and whether development was being shifted to Gamigo’s European outfit. The studio did not reply to our polite inquiry [Update: We’ve updated below with the new statement], but a staffer did give a brief update to players on the forums in response to a long and panicky thread discussing the future of the game – the “change in internal structures” line appears to be an oblique confirmation of the layoffs.

“Hey everybody, let me briefly address your biggest concern(s): Rift is not going to be shut down! Most of you already noticed and pointed out a change in internal structures. While we’re not able to publicly address or communicate about those changes in detail, we can assure you that there will be a team responsible for and working on Rift (future development being part of this). If there are still any concerns or worries left about that topic, please feel free to PM one of the CMs at any time. We’ll close this thread by answering the thread’s title (Is Rift Next ?) with a clear NO!”

The news is chilling for RIFT players, who are understandably nervous following the sunset announcements of four other Gamigo MMORPGs two weeks ago. As we noted at the time, Gamigo urged players from those games into Trove and ArcheAge, but not RIFT, prompting fears about the game’s future.

Source: Official forums. With thanks as always to our tipster!
Afternoon update
Gamigo has now responded to our inquiry; the studio says that it will not be “relocating development teams to Europe” and that it “will continue to work hard on [its] core MMORPGs,” though it doesn’t expressly say whether RIFT is included among those. In fact, it specifically told us that it has “numerous new titles in [its] pipeline set to launch this year” and highlights incoming content for Trove and ArcheAge. It also clarifies that the layoffs were not as wide-ranging as originally feared. “It’s understandable that people are worried when they receive news like this,” a spokesperson for the company told us, “but rest assured, we have no intention of slowing down our efforts to make our games better with each update, and are grateful for the support of our players throughout the years.” We’ve sent over additional questions and will report back if we learn more.
Update 3/12
Gamigo has responded to our second inquiry; we’ve posted it in full here.
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Kelly Bortner

Just enjoy the game while it’s still up. The mmo world is dying. All my games are on maintenance mode. I sub only while playing the games. Age of Conan, GW2(is working on a xpac) and Rift. I am subbed on Rift now and playing it. Why do I sub a dying game? Life support!

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treehuggerhannah

This… doesn’t look good. At best, the game might have a few more rounds of maintenance mode left in it, but I don’t see a realistic path to active development here.

Raap
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Raap

While obviously awful for those who got fired, but in a strange way maybe this is good; It might provide Gamigo with the motivation to sell the game to someone that actually cares.

I know that in the past, Gamigo received a solid offer from someone to buy Rift off their hands. They declined it then as they stated to believe they can still extract revenue from it in other regions of the world where Rift was previously not published.

Seeing as Gamigo never published Rift in new regions, it could mean that by now, they could be open to renewed negotiations.

Rift will never generate ‘triple-A’ revenues, but with the right development it can certainly be profitable, even if just purely based on the MMORPG market drought – players are practically desperate for a decent and well maintained MMO.

At its core, Rift is a solid game on the front side (supposedly the dev tools needed some work). It has a good framework of systems and features, some of which can still be considered very unique in the market today (souls system, instant adventures, dimension systems, etc.). All Rift ever really needed was a developer that gave a damn.

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Bruno Brito

That’s really wishful thinking, but i get the point.

Andrew Ross
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Andrew Ross

This would be nice. I don’t think it’ll happen, but some good points. I remember being SO done with WoW almost immediately when Rift came out. The classes alone felt years ahead of Blizz’s baby, and often still does when I look back at the mechanics vs. Blizz’s changes in new expansions.

Funny story, I actually remember being at E3 once and, while waiting for an appointment, overheard a guy bad mouthing Rift as a WoW rip off, and could tell the kinda-familiar-looking suit he was talking to was politely remaining silent. Since the guy couldn’t read the air (and hadn’t done his homework), I noted several features that Rift had launched with that WoW had “borrowed,” such as public quests that didn’t require grouping and almost entirely cloning a Warzone map for a WoW BG, not just in objectives but actual map layout. The guy muttered a few things and walked away.

The quiet guy smiled, asked for my name, and we traded business cards. That suit was Scott Hartsman.

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moondog548

Always sad. And I hate to be that guy, but I honestly didn’t realize Rift was still around. It was a big damn deal when it came out, but faded swiftly as almost all MMOs do.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

In situations like this, I always like to bring up the point that a week, yes one week, before both Vanguard and Wizardry Online announced their sunsets, both games released road maps for the upcoming year.

All I see here is the typical PR gaslighting that game companies perform before the inevitable announcement that surprises absolutely no one. And people wonder why there is still such a tumultuous relationship between players and developers in this day and age.

Gamingo had really done nothing with AR, Defiance, and Rift since the buyout. It’s no wonder that they couldn’t be sustainable. They cannot possibly think that players are dumb enough to think that Rift is going to last past the end of the year, let alone see any type of development.

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Omer Basaran Koc

Dude Trust me Rift community is so dumb enough to believe their sh.t, I created the official topic on the Forums ( they were calling me hater etc. ) and Gamigo just said some words like game will continue etc. now they are happy. I dont know what is wrong with those people, its like even if you have some evidence you are talking with a wall…

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Roger Melly

I have had a conversation with a guild member this morning . He was making the argument that we are not privy to what is going on in Gamigo so anything could happen . He really thinks there is a chance that they will build up a new development team in spite of making many of the current team redundant . I tried to point out this seemed extremely unlikely because they would keep key team members in place and build up a development around people who had experience of working on the game. He just didn’t see it . I wouldn’t say he’s dumb but maybe a little over optimistic .

The other rumour that seems to be doing the rounds in the game community is Gamigo might sell it off to another developer . That seems also like a case of wishful thinking to me .

If Rift isn’t shut down by the end of the year I will eat my hat .

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Scorp Gang

LazyPeon just did a vid on Rift. He liked it for the most part. Rift is still a decvent Game. It just lacks players and it’s going to continue to lack players under Gamigo. No one trusts them. I wish Blizz would Pull a WWE and buy Rift like WWE bought WCW lol

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Roger Melly

I doubt Blizzard would buy it because its too similar to WoW but it would be cool if Gamigo sold it to another developer rather than closed it down but I doubt that is on the cards .

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

That’s a really odd analogy to use. given how WWE’s purchase killed the WCW completely and completely neutered the individual stars they brought over.

If that’s what you want, I think Gamigo is already accomplishing it fairly well.

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Ald

Rift was supposed to be my MMORPG for the next decade back in 2011. I believed in Scott Hartsman. I did enjoy the hell out of it for over a year, so i had that going for me.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Huh. Does not bode well. Well, I had fond memories there. Tried hopping back into it a few times, and just can’t get there. I had participated in way too many of those holiday events (specifically the balloon popping one that let you get all kinds of fun space-waster doodads that SHOULD HAVE THEIR OWN UNIQUE STORAGE AREA AND NOT TAKE BAG SPACE.) and they changed it after I left to save outfits…so I don’t feel comfortable throwing out the stuff I’d earned..because I had to keep it for so long…I was stupidly rich on that game (Over 2k platinum, fully maxed at the time Dimension). Only reason I’d come back is to enjoy collecting shinies again…(Had something like 600 or 900 or something of them…)…the game itself plays way too awkwardly though, and lag deaths were kinda common back when I played, so I can only imagine how bad it is with creaking old hardware they don’t maintain well nowadays…

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SmiteDoctor

At this point I bet GW1 has more Devs.

Fisty
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Fisty

The follow up statement seems to solidify the fact it is over.