Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 31, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 31, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


New layoffs reach Trion
New layoffs reach Trion
May 17, 2013 | By Kris Ligman

May 17, 2013 | By Kris Ligman
Comments
    17 comments
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing



A representative from Trion Worlds has confirmed for Gamasutra that it has laid off yet more of its workforce following on the release of Defiance.

The statement from Trion reads in full:

To best position Trion in a rapidly changing industry, we have reorganized our teams and are expanding our free to play offering. With Defiance, we delivered a great game that more than one million gamers registered to play and continue to enjoy. As we progress from launch to ongoing development of the game, we are adjusting our staffing levels to deliver new content and improved features. RIFT, and our other titles in development, were unaffected by these changes. We are very much looking forward to the free to play release of RIFT and are excited by the other new titles currently in development.

A trusted source close to Trion has informed Gamasutra that the layoffs are sweeping and may affect as much as half of the company. Teams in Austin, Redwood Shores and San Diego are said to be dramatically affected, with the Defiance team in San Diego reportedly "obliterated."

IGN has reported that employees are being escorted from the building and senior team leaders will be denied severance pay. A Trion representative has disputed both claims.

Trion already let go of around 40 workers from its RIFT development team in December of last year.

We will bring you more as the situation develops. If you have been affected by these layoffs, we encourage you to reach out to Gamasutra by contacting us at news@gamasutra.com. All confidentiality will be upheld.

UPDATED: Scott Hartsman, who served as executive producer on RIFT prior to his departure in January of this year, commented on the layoffs in a public status update on Facebook:

Same as last time - If I can help at all with intros/anything, please find me. This model of game making is so fundamentally broken.


Related Jobs

Next Games
Next Games — Helsinki, Finland
[10.31.14]

Senior Level Designer
Activision Publishing
Activision Publishing — Santa Monica, California, United States
[10.31.14]

Tools Programmer-Central Team
Vicarious Visions / Activision
Vicarious Visions / Activision — Albany, New York, United States
[10.31.14]

VFX Artist-Vicarious Visions
Magic Leap, Inc.
Magic Leap, Inc. — Wellington, New Zealand
[10.30.14]

Level Designer










Comments


Russell Sullivan
profile image
Defiance crashes and logs me out constantly, usually once an hour. You think they would keep these guys around until the game was stable.

Best of luck to all those laid off.

Mike Rentas
profile image
Holy shit that's terrible. Somewhat predictable given their crazy gamble on a Syfy tie-in, but ouch.

Dan the gaming Guy
profile image
Been a terrible year for layoffs. I suspect a lot of talent will leave the industry this year.

Mark Slabinski
profile image
I really wouldn't be surprised if that happened. Honestly, given the state of the games industry and how much it's spread out, I imagine huge swathes of people being shed every year as waves of layoffs follow games that had either mediocre sales or lukewarm reviews. It's both draining to individuals and destructive to the industry as a whole when otherwise passionate, talented people need to find work in other industries because they can't afford to pack up and move halfway across the country to work at some other studio.

Harold Kinney
profile image
Definitely sad news. I have a lot of respect for Trion for trying new things and coming out the gate swinging -- with high-quality products. Rift had an exemplary launch IMHO, in terms of stability and low bug count. Defiance a little rougher, but it got there quickly. I sincerely hope the jump to F2P for Rift earns them the customers they deserve. Having been the victim of a recent studio closure myself, I empathize.

Jane Castle
profile image
Alas the next step will be the closure of the entire studio.... Free to Play is just a stepping stone to this inevitability.....

Marc Bianchi
profile image
@Jane Castle

No it's not. Turbine is still around today and putting out new games (Infinity Crisis MOBA) because of the transition of both Dungeon and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online to a hybrid F2P model. If not for that, both games would have seen far lower population over the years with significantly lower revenue, meaning less content for the players of those games and less funding to help secure additional projects.

F2P has actually helped turn around a number of games, most recently SWTOR. They turned around a steep decline for over a year and are now doing quite well for themselves.

Ramin Shokrizade
profile image
And what is the status of End of Nations?

Rashaad Johnson
profile image
It's still coming out, the last CBT just ended earlier this month.

Erin OConnor
profile image
I must admit I am surprised by this news.

Rift is going F2P here really soon. Rift is a solid MMO that has a number of really original ideas. With other MMO's that go F2P they should see a nice influx of players and hopefully cash.

Defiance feels like it was pushed out the door a bit early but its received decent reviews. Many of the gripes that reviewers have can be fixed/patched give time. The TV side was renewed for a second season. The TV show feels a little like they are following a sci-fi TV show checklist BUT hopefully they can really push the limits with the second season and go from there. I guess they are not seeing much in the way of cash from the TV side of things.

Thumbs up to Scott Hartsman too.

Christian Nutt
profile image
Decent? Its Metacritic is in the 50s. Yes, Metacritic is not the be-all-end-all, but that doesn't point to a preponderance of good reviews.

Jonathon Green
profile image
Defiance, sadly, is not a good game in 2013. Perhaps in 2007.

Unfortunately, time moves forwards, not backwards ... unlike the views of some at Trion along with Syfy's attitude towards science fiction.

Richard Black
profile image
It has the advantage of being an mmo on a console. My wife who played xbox pretty much exclusively for years enjoys it, but she hasn't the slightest experience with mmos. It's just Halo multiplayer she leaves on to her. Hell I thought Garriott's Tabula Rasa or whatever was a far better and more compelling shooter/mmo but I still didn't invest in a sub for it. If you have experience in mmo's you have a different standard and Defiance just fall so far short of it that it can be painful to play. Whenever I play just to do something with my wife I'm always thinking that I'd probably be having more fun playing Borderlands which at least has more amusing art and characters as well as far better guns and itemization.

Richard Black
profile image
I think the lack of stability in many game companies seriously kills a lot of creativity, and maybe that's what hits Trion in particular. I wanted to like Rifts, and from a technical stand point it was smooth and had a great character development system with a lot of potential depth... I was just so bored playing it. I would have loved to explore the many aspects of character development but there was nothing I wanted to do with the character as the entire world seemed a hollow slog. Defiance to me is even worse. The story is more of a stretch in the game than in the show, and the show is pretty bad, and there isn't one NPC I feel any affinity for. I've never played a game that made me want to shoot every NPC and quest giver in the head more - rather than listen to whatever repetitious quest they wanted to foist on me. If every character was written to be hated they could not have done a better job. I felt like I was playing a bad Borderlands clone without the sense of humor, or itemization, and written by people who's previous experience was a grade school play production.

I actually quite like the idea of a show and game running simultaneously and interacting, I just wish both aspects of it weren't so mediocre as it might scare people from trying to do so again.

Ramin Shokrizade
profile image
I really liked the gameplay in RIFT, especially the random elemental attacks that seemed like an improvement on the public events in Warhammer Online. But, I had the following major problems with the game at launch:

1. Not enough content. I played through the whole game and ran out of content well before the end of the first month,

2. An unlimited subscription model that encouraged me to play through all of the content in the first month. A more advanced model would have slowed me down a bit, or at least charged me more for my gluttony,

3. A broken/incomplete economy. The elemental drops from the random encounters were a perfect excuse to make an elaborate elemental resource economy. This would have encouraged players to continue playing in the random events long after they ran out of static content.

The game is surely in better shape now, but the original game was designed to be played in one month, with minimal retention, in a manner similar to Star Wars:TOR.

Richard Black
profile image
I think that's the true death of the subscription model for nearly any mmo these days. Many and possibly most gamers can burn through all available content in under a month and not everyone is interested in or built for the repetitious raiding model. Live or in game events are few and far between so once you play through all of the content once there is little reason to play through all of it again even if you'd like to try another class. At least SWTOR had story distinctions for every job and a more interesting story than most, but even then everyone wound up at the same place and your decisions didn't really matter. Still I played eight character to max level in SWTOR just to play through the unique story of each job on each side while I couldn't endure more than a day or two of Rifts even if I wanted to explore the character potential.

Trion actually had interesting character systems that allowed for distinctions worth exploring. In Rifts and even in Defiance which allows a curious amount of disctinction in builds. If only the same depth applied to their story and game worlds as they were just so bland I couldn't stomach them when there were much more rewarding games to play that interested or compelled me.

Jonathon Green
profile image
Rift, Defiance are perfect examples of what you get with too many companies trying to make Content, rather than building Worlds.

RIP Origin Systems, Inc.

As a gamer I'm sick of having to talk about and be sold content as if it's gold dust, when generations ago we were shown a collection of good interacting systems were more important for success and longevity ... content should expand the experience not be the definition of it.

Rift is a great example of this, as a content light game that survived off it's innovative rift system that played nicely with the rest of it's generic MMOness.


none
 
Comment: