Layoffs hit Big Huge Games

THQ cuts staff at Rise of Nations publisher, still on the lookout for potential buyers.

by

Last month, THQ gave Rise of Nations developer Big Huge Games a heads-up. The publisher said it was looking to sell its wholly owned subsidiary and would close up shop entirely if a buyer could not be found in short order.

THQ confirmed that Big Huge Games is shrinking.

While the studio remains open and part of the THQ family, the publisher today confirmed that a number of Big Huge employees have been laid off. The layoffs were originally reported by trade site Develop. That account cited an anonymous source as saying that "a huge amount of layoffs" had taken place.

"We continue to pursue a sale of Big Huge Games," a THQ representative told GameSpot. "Yesterday, some of the staff were notified that they were not going to be part of the future direction of the studio. We are not providing exact headcounts at this time."

Big Huge Games was founded in 2000 by a quartet of PC strategy-game developers whose credits included Alpha Centauri, Civilization, Civilization II, and Gettysburg. The developer is best known for its work on Rise of Nations and the fantasy follow-up Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends. More recently, the studio was responsible for the Xbox Live Arcade game Catan and has been developing an untitled role-playing game with Ken Rolston, lead designer on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. THQ acquired the company in January 2008.

Discussion

42 comments
geomyr
geomyr

too bad for big huge games i love rise of the nations game:( i hope the company doesn't close.

largibbons
largibbons

Give them rise of nations 2. I'd buy it..

tjdeep_2007
tjdeep_2007

rise of nation was a masterpiece...i think EA should acquire BIG HUGE GAMES...

kytomasi
kytomasi

i loved Rise of nations. RoN:Rise of Legends was worst then the 1st tho.

bduddy_
bduddy_

It's telling that they're still "Rise of Nations developer" even though they've made more games. The reason, of course, is that none of the other games have been any good.

Vance_009
Vance_009

I loved Big Huge games, well at less THQ did not layoff Relic.

Ghost_702
Ghost_702

Gaming studios are closing down all the time. It's doesn't come as a surprise when most of them make sub-par games. I haven't played any of the games developed by Big Huge so I don't know if this is the case here though.

DPhunkT
DPhunkT

Man... I really enjoyed Rise of Nations. Kinda strange since the gaming sector is still holding strong.

kingcrowner
kingcrowner

i could imagine this happening "hey guess what? you're fired." "hahaha! good one boss. april fools!" "no seriously. get out."

Drower
Drower

nappan, I would guess hour, minute, second and fraction of second. No idea what he means with it though.

kingcrowner
kingcrowner

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

nappan
nappan

@insanitycheck3: Um, after the date, what are those numbers' significance?

insanitycheck3
insanitycheck3

It is really a good news-2009-04-02 06.35.29.748000

Koi-Neon-X
Koi-Neon-X

A loss for the video game industry pure and simple. As I've said before when this was announced: you'll get rid of this great developer but, you'll keep the arms that churn out crap based on movies and tv shows? something wrong with this picture.

xbox4life76
xbox4life76

It was a while since we had heard about layoffs and I was quite happy but i guess it's still an issue and though i don't think the recession will be fixed any time soon, i'm just hoping that we can get some progress towards fixing it.

mylsd
mylsd

awww man, Catan is a game I still play daily

nappan
nappan

*#*@#*@#!!!!!! Come on not BHG!! Can't the Madden team get laid off (yes, I know, not relevant)?! It's just like Dick Cheney being alive and George Carlin, John Belushi, etc... being dead. No justice at all.

Merl57
Merl57

I AM SO SICK OF LAYOFFS

tidyspidey
tidyspidey

@ Avenger1324 - in principle, I agree... however, do remember that it was a very different financial climate in Jan 2008 and pretty much no-one anticipated the size of the economic downturn to come. No business would deliberately waste money on such a thing, it's all down to many factors outside of their control. I hope BHG carry on though, they deserve to.

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

THQ really should have treated BHG better. They only bought them in Jan 2008, so at worst they should have been halfway through a project an allowed to finish it. Spending all that money to acquire a studio only to shut it down a year later without letting them develop a game seems an incredibly short sighted and money wasting decision.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

It cannot help that BH games is working on a roleplaying game. Firstly they take a long time, secondly, just because of the beast they are, they usually are not bug free at release and need after sales support and thirdly, any RPG not from Bethesda or Bioware will get short-shrift from the media if it has the smallest problems. You only have to look at initial reviews of The Witcher and Two Worlds and recent review scores for Drakensang: The Dark Eye as opposed to the much better User Review scores. In other words, A) I don't see Big Huge Games surviving and B) I don't expect this RPG to ever see the light of day. And I am very sorry for both of my beliefs and hope I am wrong!

screenhustla
screenhustla

videogames are selling- what's THQ's problem? Sell more and make better games and maybe employees won't get laid off. The gaming industry is one of the few industries that's selling- this shouldn't be hapening, and it's more that likely mis-managment by the by THQ

joelgargan
joelgargan

This Isn't an April fools joke. And thats really sad.

BlackHawkSaber
BlackHawkSaber

@ SeanyBoy21: Well, they are a news site... if someone decides to release a serious piece of information, it is in their best interest to write a story about it as soon as possible. So, it was more of THQ's fault for releasing the info on April 1st than gamespot's for covering it.

Desperados11
Desperados11

with Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends this studio became one of my favorite developers in the business. I hope they manage to pull out, they've got some great talent in there. Ensemble Studios didn't really hit me since they were declining these past few years, but these guys we're at their best now. Sucks to see them hit a hard patch.

TheBigTicket21
TheBigTicket21

this was possibly the lamest April Fools news I've ever seen.

bigd575
bigd575

I feel for the people.

DonTonyDeluca
DonTonyDeluca

imagine loosing your job? i would feel so empty...

Poedon
Poedon

i bought catan. I know is is miniscule compared to what they have done before. Maybe they can make some more baord game adaptations to keep some jobs.

kenic
kenic

I don't see how this is funny?

hazelnutman
hazelnutman

"I'd like to offer my sincere apologies to my employees here at Big Huge Games. Through these tough economic times, we are forced to discontinue the employment of many." "Haha, that's a good one boss! Happy April Fools to you too!.................Boss?"

insanitycheck3
insanitycheck3

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

SethSOMT
SethSOMT

I was hoping to read this and see an "April Fools' somewhere. Unfortunately, I think this is just the opposite.

SeanyBoy21
SeanyBoy21

Stop mixing serious news with BS.

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

So in just over a year of buying them, they are doing lay offs and trying to sell them off? Sounds like some pretty bad management there at THQ.

pwner372
pwner372

I'm not believing anything today. I hate GS on April 1st

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

This sucks, but at least on the bright side, they're not shutting the doors. They were a sweet studio. Hopefully they come out with a huge hit or two and start hiring again (the role playing game from the guy who made Oblivion sounds promising)