While the James Bond franchise made a triumphant return to the big screen this Fall, the same can’t be said for its video-game appendage. Following a run of several ill-fated ventures to revive 007’s gaming dominance in the current generation — Quantum of Solace, Goldenye 007, Blood Stone, Goldeneye 007: Reloaded — 007 Legends debuted this October and its reception has been demonstrably negative.
According to GamesIndustry, Eurocom’s workforce of over 200 employees has been trimmed to less than 50, effective today. And the the studio isn’t just going from slender to spartan — it also plans to recast its console development efforts around the production of mobile games.
Hugh Binns, Eurocom’s studio director, explained the company’s position in an official statement:
“Eurocom are undertaking a restructuring which I regret to say has meant we’ve made the majority of our workforce redundant today. This includes many very experienced, talented and highly skilled employees, and we’d like to thank them all for your hard work and efforts.
“We’ve fought to try and save as many jobs as possible, but the steep decline in demand for console games, culminating in a number of console projects falling through in the last week, left us with no option. Eurocom has retained a core staff of just under 50 employees and will be focusing mainly on mobile opportunities moving forward.”
Eurocom’s shakeup — and their reasons for it — mirrors that of many smaller independent gaming studios, such as Lightbox Interactive, who can’t help but look to the exploding mobile marketplace in the wake of financial strife. Console gaming is far from collapsing by any means — but as its center of gravity shifts increasingly towards big-budget productions within established franchises, often made against the stopwatch of an overly impatient publisher, it’s hard to blame any company for seeking a more flexible, accessible, and potentially more fortuitous path.
Which is why 007 Legends appears to have been Eurocom’s final straw: A James Bond homage spanning five of the franchise’s films — Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Moonraker, Licence to Kill, Die Another Day and Skyfall — many felt the game was rushed to meet publisher Activision’s demands for Skyfall synergy. They were demands that Eurocom, having already struggled with its 007 Goldenye reboot, was unable to meet. As Skyfall enjoys its critical and commercial success over the Thanksgiving weekend, Legends is already a thing of the past — a place, in today’s gaming environment, where it doesn’t have the advantage.
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