BioWare has announced plans to layoff several members of the Star Wars: The Old Republic development team. In a public announcement on the SWTOR forums, BioWare founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka addressed the situation.
"Hey folks, since you’re reading this you may likely have heard that we’ve done some restructuring here on the SWTOR team. Sadly, we are bidding farewell to some talented, passionate and exceptionally hard-working people who helped make SWTOR a reality," the wrote. "Impacting people’s lives this way is always very hard, but we’re ensuring the affected people are treated with dignity, fairness and respect."
"Looking back at launch, we all came together and did something historic. We executed one of the largest, most successful and stable launches of any MMO yet in industry history. That is not an easy feat for any development team or company and we are humbled and honored by our fan community’s strong support both at launch and beyond," they added.
Layoffs are never a good thing. Although neither admitted it, I can't help but think the recent announcement that SWTOR subscriptions had dropped by 400,000 had something to do with this.
Regardless of the perception and timing of these cuts, Greg reassured fans that BioWare remains "vibrant and passionate" about the future of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Just recently they revealed Game Update 1.3 'Allies'.
"We still have a very substantial development team working on supporting and growing the game, and we feel we are in a strong position, with your continued involvement and feedback, to continue to build Star Wars: The Old Republic as one of the most compelling and successful online experiences in the world today," they promised. "There are many strong initiatives planned for cool new content and new features that we’re excited to tell you about in the upcoming weeks and months."
"Rest assured that we remain dedicated to delivering a high quality service in SWTOR to you, our fans, and we will continue to support and grow Star Wars: The Old Republic over the weeks, months and years to come," they concluded.
Let's not forget that BioWare had over 800 people working on SWTOR. Obviously the company didn't have plans to retain all of them following launch so we really shouldn't be surprised by this. Still, the news of cuts will probably set off the panic alarm.