Wildstar studio suffers more layoffs, cancels expansion into China


Things seemed to be looking up-ish for Carbine Studios at the start of this year. A big update to its Wildstar MMO called Destination Arcterra was announced, as was a forthcoming release on Steam. But publisher NCsoft delivered some bad news in the Wildstar forums last week, announcing that the studio has undergone “a reorganization of its operating structure,” which is to say that it's laid off a whole bunch of people.

NCsoft attributed the layoffs to “WildStar’s evolution from a product in development to a live title, to the cancellation of work to bring WildStar to China, and to the overall performance of WildStar since launch in 2014.” It didn't reveal how many employees were affected, but Polygon said that more than 70 were let go, adding up to 40 percent of Carbine's staff. Even worse, employees were reportedly told that more layoffs may be coming.

This isn't the first time Carbine has been hit by deep cuts to its workforce: The studio let roughly 60 employees go in October 2014. That reduction came in the midst of a post-launch year that, as we talked about here, didn't go especially smoothly despite Wildstar enjoying a very positive critical reception when it first released. It transitioned to a free-to-play model last autumn, but clearly that process is still shaking out.

“These kinds of decisions are exceptionally difficult. The talented and passionate professionals who are impacted by these cuts have been valuable team members and respected colleagues. We wish everyone well for the future and will be providing severance and employment search assistance,” NCsoft said. “As for WildStar, we remain committed to the game. Over the next few weeks and months we will deliver a significant update to the game, kick off a variety of community events, and continue our work on new content that we will talk more about in the near future.”

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.