MMORPG.com is reporting that Firefall developer Red 5 Studios has laid off about 40 employees, just days after launching the game in China. This comes from an anonymous former employee who chalks up the issues with the game and company to “corporate mismanagement.”
The source estimates that 20-25% of the entire company was laid off, with cuts coming from all departments. This all came after the affected employees had been asked to do a major rework of the game as well as work on significant new contact:
“Honestly, they asked us to remake the game in a year, including doing full development on 22 instanced missions and an overhaul of every major system, using art assets from 2008. I don’t know what they expected to happen.”
It’s hardly the first time Red 5 and Firefall have experienced some drama. After a long beta period that saw the surprise removal of much-touted PvP features, total revamping of many of the game’s core systems, and highly questionable expenditures on a tour bus and a live-action series, company co-founder Mark Kern was asked to step down in December 2013. The move seemed to grant the game new life, and it received a full launch in July of 2014.
It seems that it wasn’t enough. The game has reportedly received few updates in 2015 and many players have lamented the changes for taking what was once a unique game and making it far less interesting. It’s still up and running as of this writing, but losing a quarter of your work force is a sure enough sign that things aren’t going as well as they should.
I only tried Firefall briefly, a couple of times, and I’ll admit each time I was annoyed at having to “re-learn” the game; I can’t imagine how frustrating it must have been to someone who was really into it. The early promises and bits of gameplay I tried out really did seem neat, but it failed to hold my interest as development continued. What’s your take?