BioWare lays off part of Star Wars: The Old Republic team

Unspecified number of developers cut from payroll after restructuring, developer says "very substantial" team still working on sci-fi MMORPG.

The Star Wars: The Old Republic team is smaller today, as Electronic Arts studio BioWare has confirmed a round of layoffs to the team behind the sci-fi massively multiplayer online role-playing game. BioWare co-founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka called the move a "restructuring" in a public statement.

Zeschuk and Muzyka, celebrating The Old Republic's launch last year.

"Sadly, we are bidding farewell to some talented, passionate, and exceptionally hard-working people who helped make SWTOR a reality," the statement reads. "Impacting people's lives this way is always very hard, but we're ensuring the affected people are treated with dignity, fairness, and respect."

Following that post, 3D Realms founder George Broussard posted on Twitter, "Rumors near 200ish in layoffs at Bioware Austin. Going past contractors. Good luck to all involved." Although Broussard has no ties to the project, he has repeatedly broken news of industry layoffs at outfits like Warner Bros., Sony Online Entertainment, IO Interactive, EA, and others.

A source within EA contradicted Broussard's rumors, telling GameSpot, "That number is high. George's guess is recklessly inaccurate."

Earlier this month, EA announced the Old Republic subscriber base as 1.3 million, down from 1.7 million in February. Last year, EA CEO John Riccitiello said that The Old Republic would be "substantially profitable" at 500,000 subscribers, and "very profitable" at anything north of 1 million players.

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232 comments
nord1c
nord1c

Extract from Reddit: ""My husband was one of the ones that got laid off today. Bioware moved us in April with our 3 kids from DC, we put every penny we had down on a fixer upper house, and now this. I am scheduled for 3 major surgeries on Friday, my husband just had a slew of MRI/MRA tests Friday to look for a suspected brain tumor, and our middle son who has an autoimmune disorder is having a flare up. I just don’t know what we are going to do. We were here a week before the first round of layoffs, and have been sick and scared ever since. Moving is expensive, and I am less than a year in remission from cancer, so my medical bills are outrageous.     We are so scared… how are we going to get our son treatment, my husband treatment if the tests find what they think they will… or me?     My husband is an awesome guy, he stood by me for the last couple years of horrible health, never complaining, wiping vomit and shit and whatever needed doing. He doesn’t deserve this. This was his dream. Bioware/EA has hurt us so badly."

Thumbler76
Thumbler76

another going to be free to play mmo. Which will be the next? I bet on Tera.

Timmy_Gwar
Timmy_Gwar

"Sadly, we are bidding farewell to some talented, passionate, and exceptionally hard-working people who helped make SWTOR a reality,"

 

Did you at least patronize them in person?

colorhorizon
colorhorizon

the only thing bioware need to do right now is leave EA cuz it's corrupting bioware's game making abilities with its money first, quality maybe philosophy

 

Hreath
Hreath

Can it be an indication of "RESTRUCTURING" for ME 3 DLC Extended Cut & DA3??? 

Siddha19
Siddha19

Coulda told you it was meant to be KOTOR3

Circlestrafe
Circlestrafe

Of course they're laying off part of the team, how many are needed to keep the game going in the first place?  EA =! greed any more than any other corporation = greed.  It's a business whose intent is to turn a profit.  Unfortunately, (or vice versa, depending on your view), a small percentage of a corporation (e.g. the top brass) are paid an obscenely higher percentage of those profits than the rest of the employees who work for that business.  Most of EA are employees like you and me, not the filthy rich top execs. 

Alexrmf
Alexrmf

this should've been SP, I was excited about it, but in the end the MMO thing just kept me away

dogpigfish
dogpigfish

If people stop paying the subscription, then they can't pay the staff.  Simple

SirNormanislost
SirNormanislost

What should they have learnt from all this? Dont spend all that time making a game then ignore all the features and problems you competition had..

 

Wows biggest complaint recently was not enough new end game content so what do bioware do? Release a game and not have enough end game content... Very silly on their part

TheBetaFishy
TheBetaFishy

I enjoyed SWTOR for the first four months or so but, like so many others, I cancelled my subscription this month.  There's just nothing to do at end-game.  I re-rolled eight times in an effort to keep myself occupied (and 3 of those toons are max-lvl) but I'm finally too bored to log in.  I tried logging on last weekend to find a mere 19 people on the fleetship.  My server has officially died and they aren't allowing transfers or merging servers.  R.I.P.  SWTOR.

Ultra_Taco
Ultra_Taco

Sigh...... If only they would make a KotOR 3, Battlefront 3, or Republic Commando 2. Lately, the Star Wars games have just sucked,  *Cough* Star Wars Kinect *Cough*

Evenios
Evenios

I think The Old Republic failed in the sence it did not become the WoW Killer they were hoping it to be., the problem i find is that the game world is rather very single pathed.. the game itself is pretty good but  i can see how it didnt quite live up to some peoples expectations.  Free to play would be wonderful. :-p i think all MMOs should have that option really.

smithboy1177
smithboy1177

Make it free to play, and I'll even buy a new copy. Sorry Bioware, we didn't exactly ask for an MMO. Don't worry, I'll still buy anything Mass Effect related without pause.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

Bioware = EA = Bain Capital = job and IP killers.

simon1812
simon1812

cant wait for that announcement of SWtOR going F2P. :D

 

but in all seriousness, it is a shame so many ppl losing their jobs in spite of the game they created being by all means a success, it isnt rare for EA to do stuff like this after a release, whatever the reasons are. pray those ppl can find another project soon, hopefully in a place that will appreciate their talents better.

kerrman
kerrman

Still better than WoW.

delateur
delateur

The sad truth is they missed the mark on this one. It's an excellent game, and has a LOT going for it, but the linear nature means it operates more like a SRPG with a lot of people running around in it. And honestly, when you solo some of this stuff, it feels a lot more epic than when you're on a team. I'd recommend people check it out, maybe follow the 4 or so stories that you really enjoy, and see what's happening at the end of it. I think the loss in subs is people who simply don't feel there's anything left to do...

shooters125
shooters125

Would've done better if they had just made KOTOR 3, but EA and their greed wanted to turn this into a cash cow.

Azghouls
Azghouls

Just package SWTOR as a single player game, make some slight alterations and boom I'm sold.

Poldek87
Poldek87

Well i hate MMO's so i play this.

Archias
Archias

Wow. I knew it wasn't doing awesome, but I didn't realize they were ready to sound the death knell before the 6 month mark. The game's not anywhere near a state where its ready to size down on developers.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

Hmmm, DA2, SWTOR, ME3...Bioware is getting pretty good at snatching defeat out of the hands of victory.

markchiu87
markchiu87

You know which team in the Bioware should be laid off ... the mass effect 3 team particularly the writers.

n0matter
n0matter

I just feel bad for people for whom this is their first MMO experience.  Perhaps...hopefully they'll blame the developers instead of the genre.  I've seen far too much MMO hate as a result of this title.  Then again, I guess that's what you get for being a Star Wars fanboy and buying every single branded product.  If you want a real MMO, try WoW.  It's that game everyone has been hating on for about five years now yet sports the formula every single contending MMO has tried and failed to emulate since it's inception. 

eaterofsouls2
eaterofsouls2

Everyone jumped ship on wow saying this was an incredible and superior game.  Look at it now.  

This is why I never follow the crowd and play my own thing. :/

megakick
megakick

Everything is working as intended D:

icym
icym

Never good news for regular people who work hard. I hope you guys are all getting back on your feet soon!

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

Laying off people, when the game isn't even finished doesn't bode well for the future of this game.  I was hoping 1.3 might give me a good reason to continue my Bounty Hunter, but this makes me question that.  Good ol' EA destroying Bioware one game at a time.

Rusmurf
Rusmurf

When they say subscribers to be profitable, they mean paid subscribers, the totals they are releasing include free accounts.

Absalom666
Absalom666

 @CirclestrafeNot defending the practice, just asking how EA is some kind of bad guy that is an aberration in that respect in America?  Businesses exist to turn a profit.  THey're driven by shareholders who play no role whatsoever in the development process.  As long as you have a system that rewards people in that position to a higher degree than the ppl in the trenches actually doing the work, you're going ot have this type of thing happen.  There is interest in this because it is Star Wars, but notice this isn't being reported in the normal news....  Things like this happen with countries all over America every single day.

 

Feyd87
Feyd87

 @Rusmurf Remember that EA has shareholders that they are required by law to report to truthfully. So when they report at shareholder meetings that they have 1.3 million paying subscribers, that means just that. Including non-paying or free accounts would constitute as fraud which is obviously illegal.

Circlestrafe
Circlestrafe

 @Timmy_Gwar

 No, Timmy, I hate to break it to you, but no, you can't. Anyone else, but no, not you, ever.  Sorry. 

Circlestrafe
Circlestrafe

 @Absalom666

 Just because it's a normal practice (e.g. things like this happen all over America every single day) doesn't make it right.  Just because the system exists that makes it possible for a few to reap incredible rewards doesn't mean it's right. THAT is how EA is some kind of 'bad guy'  Although I DID say they are no more greedy than most other corporations ('EA =! greed any more...) in my second sentence.

Rusmurf
Rusmurf

 @Feyd87 I don't know what was reported at a shareholder meeting, but when they(EA) reported the 1.3 number, they also said the % of paying customers was higher. So it stands to reason that the 1.3 million number would also include free subs.

Rusmurf
Rusmurf

So the include trial accounts in the previous numbers, but not in these???

Eryxx
Eryxx

 @Rusmurf

 I was reading carefully, THIS article clearly reads "Earlier this month, EA announced the Old Republic subscriber base as 1.3 million, down from 1.7 million in February." The words "trial accounts" appears nowhere in the article above.

Feyd87
Feyd87

 @Rusmurf Read the date on your article. EA's fiscal year end and last quarterly meeting was at the end of April.

Eryxx
Eryxx

 @Rusmurf  @Feyd87

 There are no free subs in SWTOR, unless you mean the free weekends or player-invited trial accounts?

Feyd87 is correct, reporting those transitory players as subscribers would be illegal and highly unethical. If you have evidence that this was done, you should contact the Texas States Attorney General immediately.