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It's been a rough season in the video game industry. First, it was Telltale Games which saw major layoffs throughout the fall, following a deal with AMC and Smilegate falling apart, and now another studio has been hit with major layoffs as well, just ahead of the holiday season getting into full swing.
Gamasutra is reporting that, following an acquisition by Gamigo, Trion Worlds has also seen major layoffs hitting the company. How major? Well, Gamasutra is reporting that up to 75% of the staff at Trion was affected by the buyout, which included Trion as a company and its software properties. This means that Gamigo now has ownership over MMOs such as RIFT and ArcheAge, along with the kid-friendly title Trove, and one of Trion's more popular games, Defiance, which also had a tie-in television show on the Syfy network.
Gamasutra also further reports that only 25 people remain at each of Trion's studios, one in Redwood City, California, and the other in Austin, Texas. Basically, there are just enough employees left to keep the studios operating. In total, there are approximately 50 people left at Trion, which is double what was left at Telltale Games following the initial news of the studio shutting down.
In both cases the layoffs occurred while the companies were trying to leverage interest based on new product releases. In the case of Trion Worlds, the company had just recently launched Defiance: 2050, which was kind of a reboot-sequel to the original Defiance, only this time it was made for the Xbox One and PS4 in addition to being made available for PC. The updated version of the MMO arrived this past July.
In the case of Telltale, the studio was literally closing up shop while releasing new episodes for the final season of The Walking Dead. Shortly after the release of the second episode, Skybound and Telltale had to seek out ways to get the remaining episodes finished.
The major difference between the two is that Trion didn't have to try to scramble to salvage any games that were in the middle of releasing. The company being bought out by Gamigo means that the properties that are still in operation will likely stay in operation. It's a very different scenario than Telltale, which was literally in the middle of building out the remaining episodes for the final season of The Walking Dead and also putting in work for the highly anticipated second season of The Wolf Among Us.
As pointed out by Variety, there were initial assumptions that Trion was doing financially well and was on an uptick after purchasing some assets from the now defunct Gazillion Entertainment, the makers of Marvel Heroes. However, things were worse off for Trion than what it seemed like at first glance, and with Gamigo having purchased the company and its assets, it means that a lot of people are out of work.
So far no announcements have been made regarding the future of Trion under Gamigo or what's to become of the assets, but as indicated by the reports going around, plenty of layoffs have already occurred.