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Star Wars: The Old Republic Cuts

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Website has word of staff cuts at BioWare Austin, the development studio behind Star Wars: The Old Republic, the sci-fi MMORPG. The update from Doctors Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka does not say why this is happening, but does that this about the future: "Rest assured that we remain dedicated to delivering a high quality service in SWTOR to you, our fans, and we will continue to support and grow Star Wars: The Old Republic over the weeks, months and years to come." VentureBeat has a follow-up comment on this from Electronic Arts:

BioWare has restructured its studio in Austin today. Of the employees impacted, some will be able to join other projects within EA, others will leave the company. These are very difficult decisions, but it allows us to focus our staff to maintain and grow Star Wars: The Old Republic.

BioWare Austin remains a large and important part of BioWare and EA, working with other studios around the world to continue to deliver a high-quality service and exciting new content for Star Wars: The Old Republic.

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91. Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Cuts May 24, 2012, 10:04 wtf_man
Not meeting expectations by a longshot, EA would most likely consider DA2 a failure. But since it managed to make a little money... the impact isn't as bad.

I disagree with you about TOR, especially if the $300 million investment number is correct... between that and maintaining it, they'll probably never get ROI.

I just read somewhere that the layoffs are 40% of Bioware Austin. That's nearly half the studio, and I believe larger than Mythic's first round of layoffs. Also some are saying the patch notes for 1.3 are very underwhelming, implying that the staff cut is hurting the development speed (which is already a huge problem). The Warhammer pattern is repeating itself. Another couple rounds of layoffs and server merges, then Bioware Austin will be insignificant.

Now, granted that isn't all of Bioware. But if DA3 flops, that will be another taint on the "branding", because EA uses famous studio names to tout their AAA games. If there is enough tainting to the brand, they won't hesitate to rename. They've done it plenty of times in the past, so there is a track record there.

Will a spiraling TOR (like Warhammer), and a failed DA3 be enough to kill Bioware's name? I doubt it... but it will be well on its way.

As for TOR being turned around... I highly doubt that will happen... especially when they are laying off instead of hiring. In the early days of MMOs... you never heard of staff being laid off after launch... if anything they increased the team and split them into live vs. expansion pack teams. One doesn't build an MMO, then fire 40%, if they are going to truly support the game. We're not talking the coffee gophers and receptionists here... we're talking practically the whole QA team, the community managers, coders, and artists, etc. (from what I've heard).

In other words... EA has already started putting this game into "slum-lord mode". We saw how well that worked for Warhammer. If that $300 milllion investment number is true (not to mention what it's cost to launch and manage the game for the last 5 months) , EA seems to be cutting their losses early, on a game that underperformed BADLY (compared to investment). Meaning, they probably don't have faith that it can be turned around either, and they are seeking the easiest path to get most of their money back. (by cutting Staff and milking what they got until it's dead - just like Warhammer).

This comment was edited on May 24, 2012, 10:21.
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