WBIE cuts into Surreal, Monolith, Snowblind

Publisher trims This Is Vegas, F.E.A.R., Death Tank dev houses by 25 employees as a result of move to share resources between Seattle studios.


Warner Bros. bought out now-defunct publisher Midway in July, gobbling up nearly all of the production house's assets and a good portion of the staff for $49 million. Unfortunately, one of those acquired assets, Surreal Software and its twice-delayed This Is Vegas, is again facing possible setbacks. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has confirmed for GameSpot today that it has eliminated approximately 25 positions at three of its Seattle-based studios, including Surreal.

What happens in This Is Vegas…is yet to be determined.
What happens in This Is Vegas…is yet to be determined.

Initially reported by Shacknews, the layoffs also impacted Monolith Productions and Snowblind Studios. Acquired by WBIE in 2004, Monolith has been at work on an unannounced project following the launch of F.E.A.R. 2 in February 2009. Snowblind Studios' most recent project was the tepidly reviewed Xbox Live Arcade title Death Tank. The developer's Web site indicates that it is at work on an all-new action role-playing game, to be announced this year.

WBIE said the layoffs were due to redundancies created by increased collaboration among the three Seattle studios.

"We are committed to growing Warner Bros. in the game space and will be retaining robust teams in our Seattle studios," the publisher said in a statement. "We have been moving toward sharing certain resources across the studios and have also been reallocating resources to align talent with our development needs. Unfortunately, we had a few too many resources in certain functions and some positions were eliminated in this process. Our plan is to continually review staffing needs, and as future projects evolve, we would expect to see the studios grow."

WBIE declined to comment on whether the staff reductions will impact any of the aforementioned projects.

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Avatar image for theslovakian38


Avatar image for gzader

Dont mess with lith. These guys have one of the better track records of any studio. A little under-sung but all in all, great games. NOLF, Fear, Shogo, Tron2.0, Condemned, Blood (I think). Lith means good gaming.

Avatar image for Syaz1

wbie seems inexperienced at managing games studios. they should have gobbled up a game corp, then let them managed the studios they currently own.

Avatar image for RitterXplode

I want moar FEAR!

Avatar image for azaiarnyi

I wouldn't mind seeing F.E.A.R. 3 and Condemned 3 come out of Monolith, hopefully the layoffs won't adversely affect that...

Avatar image for Darkside7972

"Monolith has been at work on an unannounced project following the launch of F.E.A.R. 2 in February 2009." Here's hoping it's Condemned 3. That's seriously one of the most underrated series of this gen, and I for one have been dying to see the conclusion.

Avatar image for Ghetto_ninja

Yes they did develop Champions. Considering they are no longer affliated with Sony Online Entertainment, as evident by this article, I highly doubt there will ever be a Champions of Norrath 3.

Avatar image for DamnedApples

i might be remembering it wrong, but didn't Snowblind have a hand in developing the Champions of Norrath series? Hope that doesn't mean there will be no Champions 3...

Avatar image for Heythatsmychair

No wonder haven't heard about This is Vegas in awhile.

Avatar image for sagameister3

Looks like another day of further setbacks :( .

Avatar image for -Fromage-

Uh-oh, more layoffs.

Avatar image for akiwak

Most of the positions that get scrubbed after a company buys out another company are upper management that tends to be very useless or can be delegated to other people. The people that are hustling and making it happen only loose the jobs when the company is shut down outright. I noticed that in my company when at one point I had 5 different people I reported to because of my different responsibilities. It has been cut down to 2 through shifting locations and getting rid of some titles and stuff like that....

Avatar image for Barighm

I don't know about their more recent projects, but I wince whenever anything happens to Snowblind, the creator of Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath (fantastic candidates, in terms of design, for a console MMORPG).

Avatar image for Jak_Napier


Avatar image for lamprey263

Monolith makes pretty good games, I hope Warner Bros isn't just cutting staff to squeeze the life and productivity out of the remaining people. After all, handling redundancies to some may mean just cutting the staff and making everyone work twice as hard.

Avatar image for RainOfTerror

a previously leaked WBIE release scheduled had FEAR 3 (and a few other titles like Scribblenauts 2) on it as in development

Avatar image for Vic-Ferrari

This Is Vegas was one of the few games I've been looking forward to. Needless to say, this is disappointing news for me.

Avatar image for Tripleseed

While a part of me truly sympathizes with all these people having their jobs cut due to downsizing, the other, more devilish part of me thinks that perhaps if these dev studios worked a little harder to put out quality products, they would not have their studios trimmed in this fashion. F.E.A.R. 2 seemed to ride off of the coattails of the first title, and therefore did absolutely nothing new. In fact, what the game did do seemed lackluster and did not hit nearly as hard as the innovations of the first F.E.A.R. This is Vegas just seems like a bad idea, and it has ever since it was announced. I have lived in Vegas, and the downtown areas, once you can see past all the glitz and glam, are truly trashy and nothing to make a fun game out of.

Avatar image for AIRWALKTDK666

Although i feel for the people that were laid off, increased collaboration has got to be a good thing right?

Avatar image for vicsrealms

Same here oneligas, as I would like to see the story continue (kind of like waiting for HL2: Episode 3). Plus This is Vegas actually looked interesting, yet it seems to keep getting kicked back. Oh well, I will continue to wait and see.

Avatar image for oneligas

i hope this does not stop FEAR 3 from being made