Lord of the Rings Online Developer Hit with Layoffs
Turbine, one of the most influential developers in the MMORPG genre, has been hit with another round of unspecified layoffs.
According to Joystiq, Turbine's development team has been hit with another series of pink-slips, making this the second round of significant, studio-wide layoffs. The studio suffered significant cutbacks and layoffs just eight months ago. Turbine is known for its work on The Lord of the Rings Online and Infinite Crisis. It is also famous for the MMORPG series, Asheron's Call. Along with EverQuest, Asheron's Call set many standards for the MMORPG genre prior to the release of the likes of World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XI.
The Lord of the Rings Online was well-received in 2007, but suffered from dwindling subscriber numbers over the years due to a rise in MMORPG games being published as well as ongoing expansions from its main competition, primarily World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XI (now replaced by FFXIV: A Realm Reborn). Turbine's numbers increased when The Lord of the Rings Online switched over to a free-to-play format, offering premium incentives for those who would like to still pay regularly for the game, but even with ongoing expansions and support from Turbine, numbers are down. This latest series of layoffs across the company is a bad sign for those still raiding in Middle-Earth.
Warner Bros. has confirmed these layoffs with the following message:
"As part of our normal business process, we're routinely looking at the strategic alignment of our company. Unfortunately, in order for us to invest in growth areas at Turbine, we have to eliminate some positions. These are always tough decisions, which we don't approach lightly, but it's crucial that Turbine is structured in a way that reflects the current and coming marketplace."