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 Warhammer 40K  MMO no longer massive, THQ lays off 118 in transition
Warhammer 40K MMO no longer massive, THQ lays off 118 in transition
March 29, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

March 29, 2012 | By Eric Caoili
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    13 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



THQ will lay off 118 employees from Relic Entertainment and Vigil Games, as it transforms its troubled MMO project Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium into a single-player and online multiplayer game.

After suffering a financially weak third quarter amidst other difficulties, the publisher said that it was seeking a partner to help mitigate costs and bring the large-scale project to market last month. THQ hasn't said if it's found a partner yet, but it's decided to change its plan for the formerly massively multiplayer online game in the meantime.

"Based on changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO, we believe the right direction for us is to shift the title from an MMO to a premium experience with single and multiplayer gameplay, robust digital content and community features," says THQ president and CEO Brian Farrell.

In March of last year, the company projected Dark Millennium's development budget at $50 million, which it said was comparable to the high end of a core game. It hoped to capitalize on the subscription nature of MMOs by continuing to generate revenue from the game five to eight years after its launch.

As a result of scaling back the MMO to a single-player and multiplayer experience, THQ will reduce its headcount at the two internal studios working on the project, laying off 79 full-time employees at Austin-based Vigil Games (Darksiders series), and 39 workers at Vancouver's Relic Entertainment (Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War and Space Marine series).

The news comes not long after THQ announced a plan to cut 240 jobs of its sales, general, and administrative personnel worldwide -- in addition to the 30 it laid off from its Play THQ division (uDraw) last December. It also reportedly laid off 14 from THQ Australia in January, and closed its Japanese branch.


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Comments


Zach Grant
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Relic and Volition are two of my favorite dev's. I fear for them under THQ. Both of these studios have had a recent round of layoffs.

Jonathan Murphy
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I ponder the fate of Darksiders 2? The game hasn't even launched and they removed more people. Best of luck to those who got laid off.

Allen Brooks
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This sucks to hear. That's a lot of talented people out of work, I hope they bounce back quickly or use this opportunity to start their own indie studios.

On the other hand, hopefully this latest spell of THQ bad news heralds the official and total end of Danny Bilson's ridiculous posturing about how much of a turnaround THQ has made to serve 'core gamers.'

k s
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From what I can tell based on comments on other sites people are sad to see 118 people laid off but are happy to see this as a single player game instead of an MMO.

Jack Kerras
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I -was- interested in Dark Millennium Online.

No longer.

It seems like this has happened one too many times to me. I was really interested in Space Marine when I heard it would have stats and gear and Diablo-style loot and multiple playthroughs, which as far as I can recall was the original plan. I got less interested when it turned into a basic shooter; I found that very unfortunate, and didn't even play the single-player to completion despite spending many hours in multiplayer (and being one of the first 41s on PC; the guy who called first called it at 11 and I'd hit it at 9).

I got my money's worth out of Space Marine, but I was looking forward to playing a monthly fee and getting a really meaty game out of this.

I don't just want a single-player game. I really wanted this to be an MMO.

Sad news. Not as sad as the folks who lost their jobs, that's worse, but the change upset me kind of a lot.

Anthony Boterf
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Praying for my funding investor to happen so I can hire some of these awesomely talented people!

thay thay
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Sad to read of the job losses, but I agree with the decision as there are too many MMOs out. No way the MMO would have been profitable. The potential profits from a multiplatform (PC, 360, PS3, wii-u) game are far greater than a PC only MMO. If things do not turn around soon for THQ, it may be wiser to start cutting upper management instead of lower rank personnel as THQ has made some bad biz decisions over the years. Employees should not always pay the price for bad moves from management.

k s
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Amen!

Anthony Boterf
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There may be quite a few MMO's out, but how many truly GREAT MMO's are there? I for one can't think of any.

Aaron Casillas
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I never knew 40k existed! woah!

Matthew Mouras
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Turn it into Space Marine 2! They gave a 40k character a mild amount of depth in the first game... that's a massive achievement in my book. Hoping for good opportunities for the devs that lost their positions.

Anthony Boterf
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If any of you guys reading this were recently laid off from Vigil in Austin, please contact me privately to discuss the possibility of being part of my dev team.

Beyond Good and Evil
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THQ executives were warned repeatedly starting around 2008 that making DMO was a really high risk, really bad decision with very little potential upside. Anyone who had a dissenting voice was either silenced or fired. This was a TOTALLY avoidable situation and the decision to forge ahead and the decision not to take appropriate action was intentional and conscious by the senior executive. Period. End of story.


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