The bad news: Monolith Productions is laying off nearly half its staff. The Seattle Times is reporting that the company has confirmed it will lay off 80 of its 200 employees.
The news comes less than a week after Monolith parent Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced it was selling The Matrix Online license to Sony Online Entertainment. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the layoffs will be in positions supporting the sci-fi-film-inspired massively multiplayer online role-playing game, as Warner and Monolith are abandoning the MMORPG market entirely.
The good news: Sony Online Entertainment is hiring. According to the Times, at least 25 of the 80 staffers marked for pink-slippage have been offered gigs at SOE's new Bellevue, Washington, office, which is less than five miles from Monolith. Originally slated for just 30 staff positions, the satellite studio's payroll is already reportedly at 45.
In related news, Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley confirmed to GameSpot that subscribers to SOE's Station Access program will have access to The Matrix Online. "The first thing we're going to do is add MXO to Station Access, our 'all for one' $21.99 subscription plan," he said. "We will also be exposing the game to nearly 800,000 MMO players as we begin messaging out to our community about the game." Station Access subscribers also have access to SOE's other MMORPGs, including Star Wars Galaxies, EverQuest II, and PlanetSide.
GameSpot's interview with Smedley and Warner Bros. senior VP Jason Hall has more details on how The Matrix Online license transfer will work.