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Age of Conan creator axes staff

Funcom confirms "cost efficiency and reorganization of certain teams" has led to an unspecified number of layoffs.


The Hyborian Age was a turbulent time in Robert E. Howard's fantasy universe, and much the same holds true for the massively multiplayer online game created in its honor. Over the weekend, MMOG enthusiast site Ten Ton Hammer reported that Age of Conan developer Funcom had laid off up to 70 percent of its US workforce as of last week, with the cuts primarily coming from the customer-service and quality-assurance teams.

Funcom's towering ogre department also saw cutbacks.
Funcom's towering ogre department also saw cutbacks.

In a post to Age of Conan's official message boards yesterday, Funcom corroborated in part TTH's report, noting that though some staff cuts had been made, the developer had also filled an undisclosed number of vacant positions.

"As some of you probably already have read on various websites over the weekend, Funcom has cut some of its staff," reads the post. "The reasons being cost efficiency and reorganization of certain teams and departments. This also includes hiring new people for opening positions in the organization. Such changes due to efficiency and performance initiatives are vital to any business and is to make sure that Funcom as a business stays on course. So this process was to re-adjust our cost base in some areas while increasing investment in others. This is a natural part of adjusting to the changing markets."

The Norwegian developer did not quantify its restructuring efforts in terms of head count, and had not returned request for further comment as of press time.

Since launching to solid reviews and commendable sales in May, Age of Conan has since hit turbulent winds. Notably, Funcom cofounder and Age of Conan game director Gaute Godager resigned his position in September, saying, "I have done my very best making this fabulous game, but I have concluded there are elements which I am dissatisfied with." Later that month, Funcom revealed plans to consolidate its North American and European servers to create "more healthy populations on each and every server."

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