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.

102 Comments

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.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 102 comments about this story
102 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for Viral-venom13
Viral-venom13

1203

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

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

Avatar image for Viral-venom13
Viral-venom13

1203

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

Its sad to see when workers are getting laid off left and right, I guess Midway should start making games that they can and will ensure are big hits to really generate some profits. I would really like to see they do another Psi-Ops game, i really loved that game and my only fault with it was that it was short and enemies constantly use to respawn from out of nowhere but other than that, i'd say that game had massive potential and with some major overhauls and great ideas implemented they can do a sequel follow up to it that will ensure that its a huge sucess, atleast that way they won't have to risk laying off more employees!!

Avatar image for starfoxmcleoud
starfoxmcleoud

331

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

wtf sickdude! obviously you don't know anything about DC comics! yes, superman pledged to protect the human race. but batman is nothing more than a masked and caped vigilante and the only difference between him and the punisher is batman doesn't kill. just beats the crap out of the criminals and makes them bleed if necessary. but anyway, I hope this doesn't mean the death of midway is coming. they really need to do well on the new MK and Blitz!

Avatar image for axeman87
axeman87

999

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 14

User Lists: 0

I just hope that this doesn't hurt the production of MK. I have been looking forward to a new MK game to finally come out on the next-gen consoles. I feel sorry for the staff though, gettting the *** totally sucks!

Avatar image for Echo13791
Echo13791

5029

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 13

User Lists: 0

To thestickdude, that is completely false. Read some DC, Batman is extremely dark. Some of the graphic novels are unbelievable. Go and see The Dark Knight! Read Watchmen, another dark DC comic. Seriously, there are soooo many examples, what are you even talking about?! Do you know anything about DC?

Avatar image for Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

3855

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

lamprey263 - Yup, they tried to go to the Pro level and got a beat down that they can't recover from. Sad to see so many people in the biz lose their job.

Avatar image for halomonkey1_3_5
halomonkey1_3_5

163

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

i hope that TNA,Blitz,and MK vs DC sell well enough to keep midway afloat...

Avatar image for shade1978x
shade1978x

278

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 6

User Lists: 0

After buying that hyped up piece of mediocre garbage, Stranglehold, I hope Midway goes under.

Avatar image for --Sinister--
--Sinister--

3136

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Lol. Matt Booty's name=Epic Win

Avatar image for bertm1975
bertm1975

174

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

MK vs DC news....Looks like Aquaman will be in the game, and his fatality will be that his opponent will be eaten by a shark. Check out Ed Boon site, noob.com, for a stick figure sketch which is obviously Aquaman.

Avatar image for Questlove711
Questlove711

700

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 6

User Lists: 0

Hopefully, MK vs. DC and Blitz: The League 2 are both awesome.

Avatar image for thescorpion1983
thescorpion1983

851

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 0

Depends, sometimes you can predict this, by making bad moves, on wich games to make.

Avatar image for Nintendo_Man
Nintendo_Man

19723

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: -1

They must have very low standards in quality. Midway is a sinking ship.

Avatar image for godzillavskong
godzillavskong

7904

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 20

User Lists: 0

It seems like they've been spending a lot of money and releasing sub-par games. Stranglehold was a big let down for me. I'm not a wrestling fan, but they seem to sell pretty well. The only thing that Midway is working on, that I'm excited about anyways, is Mortal Kombat. It still is sad to see a publisher/developer have to let staff go.

Avatar image for imperial_agent
imperial_agent

2195

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 20

User Lists: 0

i feel sorry for the people who were let go. getting laid-off is one of the most stressful events for someone to go through.

Avatar image for thestickdude
thestickdude

227

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 30

User Lists: 0

PS... MK vs DC is gonna suck.... DC has NO darkness or anything in relation to MKs violence, DCs heroes are all goody goody boy scouts n wut not in their bright uniforms and stuff.. n MKs all brutal n wut not... they just dont mix! they dont go together in any way! its jst a disaster waiting to happen if you ask me.... DC is NOT meant to be put with anything like MK

Avatar image for jakob_187
jakob_187

523

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

"We view every game as an investment that must meet certain standards for quality, scheduling, and profitability." By quality, they mean "unpolished turds". By scheduling, they mean "constant delays due to trying to take control over the developers and minds behind the game (i.e. BlackSite Area 51, Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows, Stranglehold, etc.)". By profitability, they mean "look at this press release we just released saying we had to close down an unnamed project and layoff about 100 folks". Seriously, could they just close down shop already? They're really becoming an embarrassment to the industry.

Avatar image for Stealth-S-117
Stealth-S-117

762

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

So who's gonna be making the UT. Digital Extremes again?

Avatar image for thestickdude
thestickdude

227

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 30

User Lists: 0

hm well that sucks, midway seems like theyre in it more for the profit and business than for the fun of making games... baztards....

Avatar image for Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

4254

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

So many of you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about...sad part is you will learn.

Avatar image for theunloved
theunloved

1441

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 20

User Lists: 0

I wish they would at least show what game they dropped. Maybe another publisher could pick it up. Either way, poor Midway.

Avatar image for DirtyJ78
DirtyJ78

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Midway needs a buyout...they have been relying on Mortal Kombat for way too long, and their cheesy sports titles can't touch EA's lineup.

Avatar image for Jd1680a
Jd1680a

5960

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 38

User Lists: 0

Looks like its time for Midway to sell the company, but not to EA.

Avatar image for OO7OO7
OO7OO7

702

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 16

User Lists: 0

wow, that's allot of lay-offs. I wonder what that game was.

Avatar image for Tremblay343
Tremblay343

1658

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

Start making games that are worth playing and this wouldn't happen.

Avatar image for Jigsaw9798
Jigsaw9798

984

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

That mystery game cancellation better not have been a sequel to Psi ops.

Avatar image for Skullcandy
Skullcandy

763

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 9

User Lists: 0

How long has it been since Midway released a game worth anything? Hmmmmm, I can't remember....

Avatar image for bradly_2795
bradly_2795

948

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Jshaw71: What are you talking about Activision for? Midway has nothing to do with Activision if I am correct, as Midway is still a independent firm right?

Avatar image for tupac-makaveli
tupac-makaveli

204

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

who wants to bet that the cancelled game was stranglehold 2? and austin is NOT a good place to be a game programmer, acclaim shut down thier studios there in 2004, and well...history will repeat its self w/midway austin.

Avatar image for Hokkie
Hokkie

176

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

MK needs to start having more in depth combo systems. The regular LP,HP,LK,HK beginning chain is getting quite old. Its a simple system that usually makes the person a cheese-er when it comes to online play and winning. It sucks to see them let that many people go, hope those people can find new jobs and quick. and I hope Midway stops releasing games that only partially show new ideas

Avatar image for cmpepper23
cmpepper23

3281

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 7

User Lists: 0

That sucks because i was going try and get Q&A job there while I'm still in school. Oh well.

Avatar image for cooldude03
cooldude03

442

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

MK vs DCU hopefully can bring in some revenue for Midway. Mortal Kombat has lost some steam over the last couple installments. Even though the 3D MK games are solid they don't hold up against other fighters. It apears to me that adding DCUniverse to the Mortal Kombat series will spark some well deserved interest to this franchise. I will definitely be investing in it's success. Layoffs suck and hopefully Midway can find a way to get back on top.

Avatar image for Crystall3d
Crystall3d

397

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

both namco and midway ! going down , fading away. maybe they should form a namco-midway-bandai company! a tekken game with mortal kombat skins , atmospherics. that would be great and amuse most of my old school buddies

Avatar image for lamprey263
lamprey263

36230

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 0

Well, I'm not sure what to think about MKvsDC yet, as I haven't really been into Mortal Kombat since MKII on the SNES, though, I think it has potential as MvC2 was also a popular game, and that seems to be what they're going for... but then again, they'll be completely different games, who knows if it'll be a success. As for Blitz League 2, I just think this is as bad of an idea as the last League game. They made the same mistake with Hitz Pro. Midway used to have a really cool NFL Blitz and NHL Hitz series going for them, up until 2003 when they made the last of the crazy arcade sports action, and instead tried to compete in the sport sim area against the EA sports gaming empire. Shouldn't have tried to fix something that wasn't broke.

Avatar image for buzzguy
buzzguy

1602

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Wonder what the mystery game was...

Avatar image for StillFreeTagger
StillFreeTagger

240

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 53

User Lists: 0

I hope all of Midway doesn't go down! I could never live without Mortal Kombat!

Avatar image for Lord_Tigger
Lord_Tigger

228

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 25

User Lists: 0

The tech market in Austin is good enough to where a lot of those people laid off can find other jobs. I wish them the best of luck.

Avatar image for lostboy85
lostboy85

132

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

ouch. sorry Austin team. wow, now that i think about it the last midway title i purchased was Gex: Enter the Gecko, and that was by Crystal D.

Avatar image for Jshaw71
Jshaw71

1972

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 6

User Lists: 0

sorry to hear about the losses, and layoffs, but i guess it has to be done, to keep activision afloat, butm they are making kmey hand over fist with the guitar hero games, and with other big titles comming up you think are you going to stay aflot no mater the losses, but i guess, you have to keep losses low no matter how much money you have, i hope thiose fired find another job within the industry, good luck to all

Avatar image for TristanH12
TristanH12

4581

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 45

User Lists: 0

Gosh I hate layoffs and cancellations. Why cant Midway release another Rush?

Avatar image for itwiz90
itwiz90

3037

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

Wow, a sigh of the times. It appears no one is immune to getting laid-off. The arcade industry is taking a beating anyway. Hopefully MK vs DC, will be released on time. 8)

Avatar image for dj_c4
dj_c4

1467

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 0

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

Avatar image for batsugun
batsugun

161

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Maybe Midway should finish games before putting them out and screwing their customers. (BlackSite: Area 51).

Avatar image for ps3thabest
ps3thabest

524

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

o well where is mortal kombat vs dc?

Avatar image for chancellor28
chancellor28

406

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

alot of ppl have trouble with UT III, my friends say its too fast and just went back to halo 3, I personally think its a great game the first UT was the game that got me into multiplayer FPSs bigtime back in the day.

Avatar image for Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

11707

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 7

User Lists: 0

Sad for those people out of work, but a company can't live on faded glory alone.

Avatar image for slickr
slickr

2279

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 27

User Lists: 0

yeah, UT3 did not do so well on the PC and consoles, as Midway had hoped for. I myself as fan of UT was a little bit disappointed that more people didn't buy UT3. But then again, they should not sleep with only one big gun game under their belt, they need more quality games!

Avatar image for JD_from_da_80s
JD_from_da_80s

1614

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I think the game would have sucked anyway. Don't the PS3 got enough FPS?

Avatar image for Phlakaton
Phlakaton

151

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

poor leadership = lost jobs sad

Avatar image for DNOMYTE
DNOMYTE

2675

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

omg i freaked out i thought mkvsdc was cancelled thank god its not