After the abrupt shutdown of The Walking Dead developer Telltale Games late last year, the start of this year has been no different, with the most recent being Activision Blizzard’s heinous act of laying off almost 800 employees earlier this month.
Firemonkeys Studios is the latest to be hit by massive layoffs, as publisher EA begins to downsize the Australian game developer best known for making mobile games like Real Racing 3 and Need For Speed: No Limits.
According to Kotaku Australia, the number of employees at Firemonkeys was originally around 200, and it seems like the number of staffers affected by the layoffs might even amount to 40 or 50 people.
Here’s an official statement by EA regarding the matter:
“The FireMonkeys studio is working on some of our most popular mobile games. We recently made a decision to shift teams to focus more on our live services, and have entered into a consultation period that may impact some roles in the studio.
We’re working to match skills with opportunities as we go through this period, identifying other opportunities at EA, and providing as much help to our employees as we possibly can.”
This is a disheartening revelation, as the developer was reportedly in the midst of developing Real Racing 4, which is now said to be officially canceled following the layoffs. However, EA has not confirmed or denied the game’s cancellation, and instead offered the following statement:
“Real Racing 3 has a thriving community, and the studio continues to deliver new content to the game. Firemonkeys also works on Need for Speed: No Limits and The Sims FreePlay, one of EA’s most successful mobile titles.
We’re not going to get into our future product plans, but the Firemonkeys team is continuing to take on new challenges for us and our mobile players.”
To understand exactly how bad this is, the Australian division of Game Workers Unite (an organization fighting for game developer rights and a unionized games industry) said that the layoffs at Firemonkeys alone are equal to approximately 5% of the entire Australian games industry.
This devastating turn of events just goes to show how important it is that the games industry unionized as soon as possible. It’s needed to ensure that the rights of game developers remain protected and to avoid any more events like from happening in the future.