Hundreds of job losses at Activision Blizzard and layoffs at Guild Wars developer ArenaNet, EA has begun a massive round of layoffs in its Melbourne development studio.
FireMonkeys, created in 2012 as a result of the merger between IronMonkey Studios and FireMint, is one of the largest development companies in Australia. Focused exclusively on mobile development, the company is responsible for manufacturing Real Racing 3, as good as The Sims: Freeplay and Need speed: no limit.
In 2016, the company moved to new offices in the Docklands and was hailed as the country's largest mobile game developer. Victorian Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley called the studio's history of innovation, creativity and global success.
The studio was also developing Real Racing 4although it is understood that the project was officially canceled earlier this week. As a result of this decision, EA executives came from overseas to make wholesale changes in the studio. These decisions included the cancellation of Real Racing 4 and a reorganization of staff through the titles currently under their management, which includes The Sims Mobile.
The developers were informed of the layoffs earlier this week. Affected individuals were informed in one-on-one meetings, while the remaining employees were informed through a group meeting. Kotaku Australia includes.
An employee, who spoke anonymously, said the current atmosphere was so dark that the remaining staff were working in the event that the entire studio would eventually be closed. "I do not know how certain tasks will be accomplished if I look at who was let go," they said.
Unofficial figures on the size of the Australian games industry located the number of employees at Firemonkeys at nearly 200. A Game Workers Unite release, released this morning, indicates that between 80 and 100 employees were fired, although an exact figure has not yet been verified. . In addition, EA would not specifically indicate how many employees were affected when contacted to comment, or what would happen with Real Racing 4 to go from the front.
The company, however, responded with a statement confirming that the studio "was entering a period of consultation" in order to refocus on "more on our live services".
The FireMonkeys studio works on some of our most popular mobile games. We recently decided to ask the teams to focus more on our live services and we have entered a consultation period that could affect some roles in the studio. During this time, we are working to match skills and opportunities, identifying other opportunities at EA and providing as much help as possible to our employees.
The Australian section of Game Workers Unite said that alleged job losses accounted for nearly 10% of the overall Australian game development sector.
"This is a devastating blow to local development – an extremely disappointing decision that will affect the already independent self-employed market already cluttered, as well as the body of undergraduate students," said GWU Australia.
GWU Australia reiterated that affected employees could assess the expected amount of their severance pay on the Fair Work website.