Midway Austin hit by layoffs, game cancellation

Citing need to "optimize product development resources," cash-strapped publisher shuts down mystery project, pink-slips 90-130 staffers; two new IPs still in the works.


Last week, several high-profile members of Midway Games' management staff departed, including Chicago studio chief Mike Bilder and media relations director Reilly Brennan. Today, the publisher announced further staff reductions at its Austin studio, which developed Area 51 (2005) and BlackSite: Area 51. Prior to its 2004 purchase by Midway, the shop developed 2002's Tribes Aerial Assault for Sierra Entertainment.

In a statement, Midway announced that "it has canceled an as-yet-unannounced project in production in its Austin, Texas, facility, and as a result Midway will have a reduction in force of a portion of the affected development team." According to the company, some 90 to 130 positions will be eliminated, although two teams will continue work on "unnamed prototype projects intended to expand Midway's portfolio of new intellectual property."

"While this was a very difficult decision, we feel it was the right thing to do for the future of Midway," said Matt Booty, Midway's interim CEO and president. "We view every game as an investment that must meet certain standards for quality, scheduling, and profitability."

The Midway Austin closures come one week after it reported disheartening results for its second fiscal quarter, which ended on June 30. The three-month period saw its losses more than double to $34.8 million, thanks to a release schedule with just one game, NBA Ballers: Chosen One (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360). During the current quarter, the company released the 360 edition of Unreal Tournament III in July, and will ship TNA Impact! next month. Its holiday lineup includes no-holds-barred football sim Blitz: The League II and the comic book/fighting game crossover Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.

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Avatar image for Baldur3272

i mean blacksite 51 wasent the best shooter, but it had its moments. 1. the squad momentuem was a neat feature. i am not aware of many other games that have that feature, if any. 2. when you aim your weapon the gun takes a little time to reach where you ar aiming at. very realistick. 3. the grafics are about a 7.8 out of 10. although i thought the gun grafics where amazing. 4. the little street blocks and others items of the inviorements are destructible. that is always a feature that gamers would love to have in any 1st person shooter. 5. the voice acting was about a 8.7 out of 10. like in the beggining you were ambushed and when you got to the bridge one of your squad mates stated that we were having some 'technical difficulties' after you were ambushed. that made no sence. 6. the aliens were pretty fierce looking as well. they were big, strong, smart, powerful. something from your average game. but just a little more. 7. the thing it lacked though was interactivity. 5/10 on that. 8. there were collectables in the level. these would make you to want to explore. these were fantastic. 9. storyline was pretty basic but plenty of suprises. 7.9 out of 10 on the story. the fact that it kept me awake made it a good game my rating-7.8

Avatar image for WitWolfy

blacksite's fall was the bad voice acting and typical story line not to mention it being like shorter than a tantrum thrown by n spoiled child

Avatar image for xlizard-beta

midawy has had its times but its game lately have been bad (hour of victory) area 51 black site was kinda bad no wonder y its not doing good.

Avatar image for luke2721

i swear to god if midway doesn't release any more MK games or cancels this one i'm going to be pissed

Avatar image for Vod_Crack

Remakes of their older games sounds like a bad idea but I would welcome it so they realise what a fun game is again.

Avatar image for Sacred-Snow

Bleh, I like Midway, but nothing good finacially is on its way...

Avatar image for clayron

I honestly do not think any of their current exected gaming line-up is going to be profitable enough to get them out of the red.

Avatar image for LordReithgar

hopefully they release Blitz before they go bankcrupt

Avatar image for rain_armageddon

MK VS. DCU better still b coming out. Other than that, I also hope they are working on the next MK game, I want to see what happens after Armageddon even though it sucked.

Avatar image for markharris31

UT3 was solid, but the rest of their lineup is woefully unappealing. I'm hoping some of these "unnamed projects" can turn things around. EDIT: Lol, I wish I hadn't read farther down to see all the ignorant posters blaming the president. Midway's game lineup is horrendous and you want to blame a president who has damn near nothing to do with the state of the economy? I hope you people don't vote. As an aside, if you can blame the economy on Bush, then you have to give him credit for the 30%+ year over year growth of the video game industry, now doncha? Ignorance FTW!

Avatar image for omnislash_13

Not really surprised, I've been playing Mortal Kombat from the first installation right through to this one and i love the games to death because i'm a loyal fan, but outside of MK Midway make some very bad games, there's one or two good ones, but they simply aren't that good across the board and can't survive, all they can hope is that a bigger company takes them on or they're going to be clinging to MK with all they have left and i fear the franchise may die :(

Avatar image for grigjd3

Blacksite: Area 51 might have done some good business several years before but the level we've come to expect is higher. This seems like the overall trend with Midway. Games that just aren't quite at the modern level or games where it's hard to get real business. NBA Ballers is really just another basketball game. If I were working for them, I'd be looking for a job elsewhere and fast.

Avatar image for firehawk998

If this company goes bust. Please dont kill the mortal kombat franchise sell it to other publishers.

Avatar image for jeremiah06

That might not be a bad Idea I cant think of any Football movies that did do got a the box office.

Avatar image for Teivan

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

Avatar image for necronaux

"...must meet certain standards for quality, scheduling, and profitability." What's next? A Blitz the League movie?

Avatar image for jeremiah06

Wow it seems like their is less and less job security. I believe instead of getting rid of the Texas facility workers then should have just made a simple cheap wii games to boost profit especially with the shortage of games coming to the wii that would at leas help fund the project they were working on without having to let go o many workers.

Avatar image for msdd9

Oh man, I love Midway if they go down I'll never get Psi Ops 2.

Avatar image for exportforce

Holy sh*t oO First my beloved Flagship, now Midway.... wtf is happening...

Avatar image for V-r0cK

Before Midway goes down please make another NHL HITZ...best hockey game everrrrrrr

Avatar image for cashmonkey78

I had applied to do quality testing (part time) at the Austin site earlier last month, I guess that's a no go now. :( Great

Avatar image for Lash540

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

Avatar image for RanaldoRoges

Don't worry, Midway. You're doing the right thing by putting resources into developing Game Party 2 for the Wii, because that is what us Wii owners want--another generic mini-game compilation with slightly altered/enhanced Wii characters since you cannot obtain the license to use Miis in your crappy game. Not to mention that Blacksite: Area 51 was such a gem. I cannot wait for TNA iMPACT! (Wii) with no online and no Create-A-Charater. That will be on pace to sell 400,000+ in the first couple months! I hope it is as repetitive as Rampage: Total Destruction. You are making great moves Midway. Now that the sarcasm is aside, give us the Midway people once knew and loved. Honestly, Timber, a game played on Midway's Arcade Treasures II, is more enjoyable than some of the stuff they have been putting out lately. However, let me blame George Bush.

Avatar image for Hedfix

Time to remaster some classics and stick some achievements on them. Personally I enjoyed the hell out of the £9.99 NARC. :D

Avatar image for Mystoksor

too bad for midway. I used to be such a big fan of them ;(

Avatar image for DemannameD

This the End! My Friend! The END! About time too... Deathless MK? Some one needed to save Midway from its self. How ironic.

Avatar image for basskill2000

am i the only that read "as-Yet unannounced" Blitz is safe, thankfully, they had something else in the works over there. I am hoping the next installment of Mortal Kombat is still being worked on. MK vs DC will be OK, but I want the original back as promised.

Avatar image for eagles_band

bitz is cancelled

Avatar image for King_Jeremy_77

Man this news really sucks!

Avatar image for email2003

WTF? They had offices in Austin,Texas!!!??

Avatar image for pidow

It's sad.

Avatar image for proplaya07

screw u u george boooooooooooossshh ( and president mugawbi)

Avatar image for SavoyPrime

Damn shame to be losing a job with the economy the way it is right now. I hope they can find employment quickly.

Avatar image for ohjtbehaaave

Thank you George Bush... you are the greatest president ever!!! What an economy and Country you've turned the US into! Dumb MF'er! Please let Blitz II still come out Midway!!!

Avatar image for DiabloRaul

Hopefully those employees will find new jobs soon. This economy is terrible but the gaming industry is doing well. Plenty of other places to go!

Avatar image for bs0ng

Maybe Take 2 should buy them out. I'd like to see what direction Mortal Kombat would go if it was under them.

Avatar image for patrickncompany

Yeah im not surprised . their past few games were horrible

Avatar image for deactivated-5c41957f09fc0

Consoles are where the moneys at. If you are in financial trouble, that would be the logical platform to develop for. Anyway, as a developer, concentrating on a few titles and make sure the product is better than the competition would be a sane approach. Look at Blizzard and Valve, guys!

Avatar image for lucebuce

well , i think the prob is , the games listed ( NBA Ballers , TNA Impact!, Mortal Kombat vsl. DC Universe ) are ALL console games , maybe they should focus a little more on the PC too anyway i think TNA anD Mortal Kombat are gonna get some profits :)

Avatar image for tawagivercetti

nba ballers chosen one is the lamest piece of crap

Avatar image for Zerosumgame

I am looking forward to more layoff announcements.

Avatar image for fathed102

I was really looking forward to the unannounced game.

Avatar image for CureForLiving

As far as I know the gaming industry has always been a volatile one, especially for employees.

Avatar image for thenewau25

duh we aint gonna get games again!

Avatar image for coold_steam

omg this is really bad , sometimes economy and its statue force the company to fire its employees , i hope they can make a come back quickly , no one want to be an unemployee

Avatar image for jasonlc3221

I hope those that were laid off can rebound quickly. It's so depressing hearing this kind of news.

Avatar image for RadTad62

this is really bad i feel for those people because of how the economy is and the state of things nobody can afford to be unemployed these days i hope that they are able to shake back fast and get everything back on track and like someone else sad hope that there talents don't go unused

Avatar image for detroithardcore

I personally think the studio that put out Tribes-aerial assault should have ported Tribes-Vengeance to PS3 and 360. Tribes-AA was an unsung work of art, a lost treasure really, and Tribes Vengeance just built on the same great formula. The problem was Tribes-Vengeance got hardly any publicity and didnt provide controller support for the pc. Other than that it upped the bar for online shooters, but went unnoticed. If that studio could have brought that game to consoles, it would have been a smash hit, and Midway wouldnt have had to off all those peoples jobs......sad really to think what could have been. Just my thoughts

Avatar image for IPHANTOMI23

For the people that just got laid off... interested in starting a new video game company? Don't let your knowledge go to waste. I got some great ideas in making a new game and starting a new business. If interested e-mail me at iphantomi_23@yahoo.com

Avatar image for lamprey263

I thought they did a great job with Stranglehold, it was good but to some not $60 worth of good, but hey, it's $20 now