Even though we have seen this before, it still stings. The story of job losses in the gaming industry is becoming all too familiar. The latest ax to fall was at LucasArts, who confirmed to Joystiq that they have indeed, “made a minor adjustment in staffing.”
“…to help us better address the needs of the business. We remain committed to our internal studio– and to fostering relationships with trusted external partners– in order to deliver quality games that amaze and inspire fans.”
A number of developers were also let go by the company back in September of this year. Strange that this should happen just after The Force Unleashed II hit the market. A similar thing happened back in 2008 when the original game was released. However, according to George Broussard’s Twitter, “The LucasArts layoffs come from a team working on an unannounced game.” One can only speculate whether The Force Unleashed III is technically an announced title, or whether it was some new gem we may never know or play that has taken the hit.
Again, this story is becoming all too common. Here in Austin, Texas, there have been a number of recent tech company (and specifically game company) layoffs. I have seen the impact that this trend can have on a community. Obviously, the economy is to blame, as much of the public begins to spend less of their money on gaming. People are making difficult choices these days, and of course, gaming is not necessarily a priority.
As big as the sales are for AAA titles like Halo: Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops, there is still an obvious downturn taking place in the gaming development community. These layoffs at LucasArts are an example of an ever darkening reality. For things to improve, we need the economy to get better. A lot better. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. In the short run, it would help if something new would light a fire under the industry to compel people to spend more money on games. But just like 3D won’t save the movie and television industry, in my opinion, motion controls won’t save gaming. It’s a nice effort, but Kinect and the Move just won’t cut it. And while we’re waiting for the next big thing to hit, things are likely to get worse before they get better.
What do you think of these recent layoffs at LucasArts, and what do you think can help turn things around for the game development community?