LucasArts cuts 'up to' 50 employees

San Francisco staffers become the latest victims of industry restructuring

LucasArts is the latest developer to undergo significant staff cutsduring this unstable time in the industry. According toGamasutra, "up to 50" employeeswere laid off,anda tweetfrom 3D Realms' George Broussard indicates thatthe cutteam had beenworking on an unannounced game. LucasArts has not officially verified the number of employees cut, or what they were working on.

In standard PR fashion, the studio addressed the cuts as a strategic necessity and reassured gamers and shareholders of its solid priorities, saying, "We remain committed to our internal studio – and to fostering relationships with trusted external partners – in order to deliver quality games that amaze and inspire fans," and calling the decisiona "minor adjustment in staffing to help us better address the needs of the business."

Sound familiar? Maybe it's because LucasArtssaid something very similarthis past September when it let go approximately 85 employees during the final stages of development for Star Wars Force Unleashed II:

"LucasArts continues to be committed to creating a first-class internal studio and to fostering relationships with trusted external partners in order to deliver quality games that amaze and inspire fans."

LucasArts joins the likes of EA, Square Enix's IO interactive, Namco Bandai and a slew of other developers who have made 'minor adjustments in staffing' to 'recommit themselves to making better games' in the last few months.

Cynicism aside, it's easy to play armchair CEO from afar and without investors breathing down our necks. No doubt, it's also been a tough year for studios in general, and while the displacement of industry talent is always discouraging news, maybe these rampant readjustment are the first step toward preventing similar staff casualties down the road. Or not, what do we look like, people who wear suits and analyze P&L statements?

This news also comes after the departure of Force Unleashed producer Haden Blackman in July. Last month, heannounced the formation of a new independent developer, Fearless Studios, alongside Cedrick Collomb, another former LucasArts employee. Perhaps some of Lucas' cast-offs will find work there, or at one of the many other smaller developers which seem to be growing like (very pleasant) weeds as the result of industry dispersion.

Nov 17, 2010

[Source:Gamustra]



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