Age of Conan dev cutting staff by 20%, Secret World delayed

Following Canadian expansion announcement, Funcom "better aligns" workforce on financial concerns; modern-day magic-themed MMOG pushed "some months."

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The month began with Norwegian Funcom announcing an expansion of its operations into Montreal, Canada. The new studio, according to Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas, would allow the massively multiplayer online role-playing game company behind such titles as 2008's Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures to take advantage of the generous tax breaks Canada affords to game-development studios. However, Funcom's expansion hasn't come without a contraction.

A concrete golem's natural weakness? Flaming katanas.

Funcom said today that it would be cutting headcount through layoffs and forced leave at its Norwegian development house by approximately 20 percent. According to a statement issued by the developer, the move comes as part of an effort "to better align the company's operations to the current marketplace." Funcom currently employs some 320 employees globally, maintaining offices in the US, China, and Switzerland.

Along with cuts to its workforce, Funcom said that it has pushed back the launch of its newest MMOG, The Secret World, by "some months." Announced for the Xbox 360 and PC in 2007, The Secret World posits an alternate universe in which a modern-day world has been torn asunder by the reemergence of magic and other occult activity. No release window had previously been attached to The Secret World.

Funcom has seen marginal success with its most recently launched MMOG, Age of Conan. Debuting to a warm critical reception and strong initial sales in 2008, the game soon had to contend with the launch of Mythic Entertainment's Warhammer Online and Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King later that year. In August, Funcom announced that Rise of the Godslayer will be Age of Conan's first expansion pack, though no release window was announced.

For its full fiscal year ended December 31, 2008, Funcom reported losses of $33.8 million on revenues of $39.9 million.

Discussion

35 comments
StSk8ter29
StSk8ter29

Age of Conan was sweet the last time I played it (about 6 months ago). They've really been working hard on it. Mostly I'm just not playing because I'm in college for the semester.

madmoose7
madmoose7

i agree Discguru101, TSW looks like the first of its kind.

khallus
khallus

They were right..HEADS WILL ROLL.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

For the love of gaming, I hope Secret World is not hindered in anyway. It's the most interesting looking MMO to date.

Crzy1
Crzy1

Hate to hear this, hopefully they're still working hard on the next content patch for AoC. And to everyone still bashing the game, it has made quite a turn-around in the past 6 months, more content, less bugs, and an overall better community (at least on my server). Really hate that everyone is still unwilling to see past a poor launch, but guess that's what the Cult of World of Warcraft has brought the MMO market to.

angusmandude
angusmandude

@Judakel I bet you havent played AoC after launch ey? As most glitches are long gone

Hitmanspike
Hitmanspike

Why do they always annouce games 3 years before the relase date...

RussianRAGE
RussianRAGE

That is what happens when they make Rangers > God.

einarabelc5
einarabelc5

After Guthrie Govan left the company I knew this was a sinking ship.

Inconnux
Inconnux

No big surprise AoC was overhyped and underwhelming. Just another flash in the pan MMORPG. Hopefully they get 'The secret world' right... it looks like a great concept that doesn't involve dwarves and elves!

Judakel
Judakel

Good lord, people are actually defending AoC? It hardly matters if WoW was just as bad during launch because that is not the competition AoC was going up against. Instead AoC was going up against a game with none of the problems it had a launch and Funcom should have recognized that and tried their best to make their game as polished as possible. If your competition's product is much more polished than your product then you MUST make sure your product is at least as polished. It isn't an option. Funcom sabotaged themselves by launching early and thinking that customers would have the patience to wait for everything to be fixed. Newsflash, customers don't have to do that. Not when there are other options out there. Learn from this mistake future MMORPG developers: You must make a strong first impression because the MMORPG industry is far too competitive for second chances anymore.

angusmandude
angusmandude

They fine AoC wont be touched by this, "The Company's development of the Age of Conan expansion pack and its preparations for launch in Korea will continue as planned" QUOTE. only secret world will be hurt by this

NuKkU
NuKkU

that must suck for the devs man

angusmandude
angusmandude

Please STFU if you have not played WoW at launch, wow at launch failed more then AoC lvl 1 - 40 was pure grind in that game AoC is going fine Also if you havnt played AoC Stfu as well :P AoC is different to WoW yep thats right you need to do combos in AoC, you need skill in AoC, freakin noobs piss me off

IDarkNight
IDarkNight

Aion sucks, AoC have another system game.

runstalker
runstalker

Aion has been a top 3 overall seller on Steam for two months. Over 400k pre-orders. They added more servers due to overwhelming population. The queues can be lame. But it's very good, this Aion. And this is likely where many AoC and WAR fans are now doing their online questing and PvP.

zaphod_b
zaphod_b

The bulk of the game is already built and they laid off 20% of their devs. If you guys have been paying attention, this is pretty standard. If they start a new project, they will probably hire many of the same people back. That's just how it goes. You need to match your staff to the workload and the money.

Diernes
Diernes

I dont think it's signifies AOC's death, they have just announced an expantion from it. I have been playing it a bit recently, and it's a pretty good game really. It has made strides since launch though and I never played it when it was released. (In MMO's I have learnt to wait a year)

tyrant2004
tyrant2004

I'm actually happy to hear this news (not about the layoffs, but the delay). It's better to see a company delay a game to make it better than to rush it, like they did with Age of Conan. Not that I play MMO's that much, if at all, but I really want to see Funcom get it right just once. A decent debut for the Secret World, assuming that it's a good game and they support it with tons of content (unlike Age of Conan) would be nice to see for a change.

paafugl
paafugl

Oohh do come on......

xeridae
xeridae

@rottenwood Couldn't agree more.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

God, I love corporate double-speak. They're not layoffs, they just need to "better align the company's operations to the current marketplace." Boy, that really captures the rugged Conan attitude they're looking for. I think Conan's myriad of launch bugs and other issues really sank it. (I believe a small number of them STILL exist to this day, according to another press release.) An MMORPG needs a huge opening push and strong buzz to tangle with World of WarCraft. As soon as negative word of mouth begins to circle, it's over.

I-WoKeN-I
I-WoKeN-I

Death of Conan: Funcom Failures.

96windsor
96windsor

Blizzard responded to this news in a press release saying, "All ur players are belong to us roflmao!!!1"

baystatethrashr
baystatethrashr

just drop support for conan already, its just suffering a slow agonizing death.

AjaxsLastStand
AjaxsLastStand

I really don't have a lot of sympathy for games like Age of Conan. I don't mean to sound stuck up, but when a game is developed, it truly is the responsibility of the developers to make sure they deliver a quality piece of entertainment. Citing budget concerns and what not really are not the consumer's problem, and when the consumer has been promised something decent, they deserve to get it since they're the ones spending money to buy it. Age of Conan has had a lot of ups and downs. But in the end, that's their problem. If they can't deliver a solid product, the buck stops with them. The fact that they're laying off staff and delaying further titles is only a sign that it's going to get worse.

sweet_tear
sweet_tear

I was hoping to see good news about the secret world.. I'm sad now :( I'm really excited about that game

ASG_
ASG_

While I'm not particularly intrested in MMOs, I hate to see the smaller ones (aka anything that's not wow) losing their grip, becoming yet another...let's say, failure.

Alex_Masterson
Alex_Masterson

The Secret World sounds interesting but it sort of sounds and feels like a ripoff of Shadowrun.

Neogenic
Neogenic

"Secret Worlds Forever". Enough said.

vassago_
vassago_

Things should start picking up again next year. Things were heavy in 2009 and that's going to carry through the holidays. The economy is doing better, the stock market has been on it's way back up (almost at 10,000 again, from 7,500) and new businesses are sprouting up. One more jobs are secured and people feel comfortable with things, they'll start spending again, which will most certainly help the games industry. :)

_AxisofEvil_
_AxisofEvil_

here we go again...another title going to be cancelled