In what seems to be an alarming trend as of late, there is yet more news about layoffs hitting the video game industry. We have previously reported on prominent companies like THQ, Capcom and Rockstar all resorting to laying off staff, and the latest casualty is En Masse Entertainment. The western publisher of the popular MMORPG The Exiled Realm of Arborea (TERA) has laid off an undisclosed number of employees, for reasons are are not completely clear. While the company is still up and running, is this a sign of rough waters ahead?
The news initially broke in a Twitter post by En Masse community manager Evan “Scapes” Berman, in which he simply said that layoffs were occurring and he was among the ones let go. No further elaboration was given, nor was there an immediate comment from En Masse until later on. In an official statement released by En Masse Vice President Chris Lee, he acknowledged the layoffs but wasn’t forthcoming on specific reasons, which is hardly unusual in cases like these.
“Today, we had to let go of some of the great talent at En Masse Entertainment. While a tough decision, it was necessary as we prepare for the next chapter of our business.” Lee stated, going further to add “We’re taking measures to align the needs of our business to continue supporting TERA and preparing for our future.”
In the same statement, Lee made mention of the success of TERA and their continued commitment to supporting the game. For those unaware, TERA is a 3D fantasy MMORPG with the standard combination of questing, level grinding and player-versus-player action. It was originally released in Korea in 2001 by Bluehole Studio, followed by a North American release in 2012 by En Masse Entertainment. The lifecycle of most MMORPGs is the support of the developer and the publisher, so if Lee’s statement is to be taken at face value, the layoffs should not impact those currently playing TERA.
Regardless of the reasons, be it cost cutting or corporate realignment, layoffs are never a good thing. They put talented people out of work and they create a negative vibe in the gaming industry, but Lee did say that they are working with those affected by layoffs to find them work elsewhere. Hopefully this is just a short-lived trend, and that those affected find gainful employment soon.