Korea’s Money Today News has a disturbing scoop on turmoil at XLGAMES that appears to mean layoffs inside the studio – and a closure of ArcheAge in some regions, including ours. The website reports that XLGAMES offered to pay workers to voluntarily retire in order to slash 30% of its costs, including people from the 100-person ArcheAge team; apparently, producer Ham Yong-jin has been reassigned to lead only ArcheAge 2.
“The reduction in manpower at the development studio was announced when the management recently announced the plan to terminate sequential service of ArcheAge inside the company,” reads Google’s machine translation of the article. “This is because the overseas service for each region of ArcheAge has been decided to end as soon as the contract period with each distributor is over.”
Readers will recall that the western version of ArcheAge was originally run by Trion, then picked up by Gamigo when Trion folded, then taken over by Kakao at the end of 2021. Kakao has run the MMO ever since, though it’s fallen by the wayside in terms of patches and content and players. We don’t currently know how long Kakao’s publishing contract runs, but here’s hoping it’s a long one.
Both Kakao and XLGAMES have said that sequel ArcheAge 2 will launch next year, so it wouldn’t be unexpected to see ArcheAge itself be wound down eventually. An NFT-laden blockchain spinoff, ArcheWorld, has reportedly been a bit of a disaster overseas, though MTN says that division’s incentive payouts are still happening.
We generally caution skepticism over these types of reports, particularly given the mangled translations, but Korea’s Money Today News has traditionally been reliable; for example, this is the same site that last spring broke the news that a “fierce debate” inside NCsoft HQ had resulted in a major delay of Throne & Liberty and the ousting of the game’s business exec, all of which turned out to be accurate.
In any case, the ArcheAge community is more than prepared for the blow, as western rogue servers for the game already exist, having been erected in the wake of bungling by its long run of flailing publishers; in fact, discussion of the new ArcheAge Classic rogue server currently dominates discussion on the game’s subreddit.
We reached out to Kakao’s ArcheAge PR this morning and will update when the teams have made a statement. [Updated below.]
“The post is in Korean but basically, it states that the article from MTN contained some inaccuracies in its reporting, especially regarding the service closure plans for the global regions. The post reiterates that ‘there are no plans to sunset Korea, North America/Europe, Russia, and other regional services; however, some regions that might be underperforming will be assessed on their service termination.’ […] We are not sure about where the localization issue was taken as Kakao Games is handling and has always managed the localization for our region. And we can assure you that our team is currently working on localization for the upcoming updates. (Just a heads up, there will be a developer’s letter regarding upcoming content posted tomorrow.) Finally, as you might already know, we cannot disclose any contractual information. We hope you understand on this matter. Thank you for your continued interest in ArcheAge and please do not hesitate to contact us in the future if you have any questions.”