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Star Wars: The Old Republic team hit with layoffs

BioWare is laying off members of the Star Wars: Old Republic team. "Sadly, we are bidding farewell to some talented, passionate and exceptionally hard-working people who helped make SWTOR a reality."

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Perhaps this news was inevitable, given the struggles high-profile MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic has faced since launch. Publisher Electronic Arts has announced plans to "restructure" BioWare Austin, weeks after announcing a subscriber loss of nearly 25 percent. In a statement to Shacknews, the publisher said: "BioWare has restructured its studio in Austin today. Of the employees impacted, some will be able to join other projects within EA, others will leave the company. These are very difficult decisions, but it allows us to focus our staff to maintain and grow Star Wars: The Old Republic."

BioWare's Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk wrote an open letter on the game's official forums, confirming the layoffs. "Sadly, we are bidding farewell to some talented, passionate and exceptionally hard-working people who helped make SWTOR a reality."

However, Muzyka and Zeschuk want to reassure fans that--in spite of the losses--work on SWTOR will continue. "Looking forward, the studio remains vibrant and passionate about our many upcoming initiatives for Star Wars: The Old Republic," the pair wrote. "We still have a very substantial development team working on supporting and growing the game... 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."

"We will continue to support and grow Star Wars: The Old Republic over the weeks, months and years to come," the BioWare heads added.

With layoffs in the Austin team, it appears continued development on The Old Republic will involve multiple studios. In a comment to Shacknews, an EA representative told us that "BioWare Austin remains a large and important part of BioWare and EA, working with other studios around the world to continue to deliver a high-quality service and exciting new content for Star Wars: The Old Republic."

From The Chatty

  • reply
    May 22, 2012 10:30 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Star Wars: The Old Republic team hit with layoffs.

    BioWare is laying off members of the Star Wars: Old Republic team. "Sadly, we are bidding farewell to some talented, passionate and exceptionally hard-working people who helped make SWTOR a reality."

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 10:34 AM

      Why don't they just stick the fork in this one and go F2P, its about the only chance this game has.....subs are fast becoming a killer of MMO's

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 10:36 AM

      The end game sucks with no way of finding a group and there are nearly empty servers which Bioware isn't doing anything about. They've got nobody to blame but themselves for the subs going away.

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 10:42 AM

        I remember when it first came out and every server was always full with long queues and it still felt empty, it was so rare to run into a human player.

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        May 22, 2012 12:26 PM

        Honest, probably stupid question from someone who does not play MMO's: What is this "end game" you speak of? I mean, the concept with an MMO is you never finish playing, right? Is there some sort of metaphorical "end" to the game? And what do you do once you hit it?

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          May 22, 2012 12:29 PM

          End Game = farming for gear in the same generated dungeon instances over and over. Or farming for gear via PvP in the same PvP arena instances over and over.

          • reply
            May 22, 2012 12:30 PM

            I left out an important part that this cycle occurs when you hit the level cap.

          • reply
            May 22, 2012 1:31 PM

            You've described the end game of every MMO ever.

            Also the group finder and servver transfers are coming in 1.3. Of course they should really have been in 1.0 but c'est la vie.

        • reply
          May 22, 2012 11:04 PM

          Slightly less bitter version : End game is killing challenging content with friends / (or with jerks as some prefer) using the fixed set of skils that the classes have available at the level cap. Continuous content is made avalable to players as better and better gear drops allow you to progress to continuously harder content.

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 10:43 AM

      Why do they continue to make stupid MMO's?
      Anyway, more resources down the drain. More time wasted. All this does is give justification to the suits to lay off the talent for not doing their "jobs".
      Anyway back to real gaming like Max Payne 3 and Ghost Recon, MMO's are for the birds.

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 10:45 AM

      Ok, but has it killed wow yet?

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      May 22, 2012 10:46 AM

      It's really sad that almost no mmo can do well now. IMO WoW ruined the mmo market. The problem is most new mmos try and copy WoW and while they're successful at it people are starting to get bored with WoW. All they did was steal good ideas from other companies and implement them really crappy. I've almost sworn off mmos because no one can create a mmo from scratch with NEW ideas or lore not coming from something pre existing. Bioware failed on so many levels it's really sad to see a game that could of had so much potential and a huge fan base go down the crapper.

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        May 22, 2012 11:15 AM

        World of Warcraft didn't ruin the market. What ruined the market was developers thinking they copy the core mechanics in to a different setting and expect it to do well. Most of the new MMO games aren't even real MMO games at best they are co-op games or single player experience. No one has figured out a way to create a game that integrates all the people playing in a meaningful away instead of partitioning them in to instances and having the quests pretend you are the only "chosen one".

        They also need to find and build their own mechanics even if that means leaving the MMO trinity (Tank/Heal/DPS).

        • reply
          May 22, 2012 3:31 PM

          Define "do well." The "real" MMO games of the past didn't exactly do fabulous either. Also, you're omitting EVE Online which I've been told has a single server for several hundred thousand players, presumably players are pretty integrated with each other.

          Anyway, I disagree with you. AFAIK WoW was the driving force behind all this game design that you are railing against. Which MMO started the whole soloing trend? WoW. Who started instancing everything? WoW.

          Role switching or condensing roles in an attempt to get away from the trinity isn't a home run. IMO, this will lower longevity of games because there is less need to roll alts to experience something different.

          • reply
            May 23, 2012 4:15 AM

            Most of the MMO games now the community doesn't actually play a major role in the game. They are just extra people to group with should you need it. Most of the content in the new MMOs can be done solo or in small groups. Hardly any game factors in the thousands/millions of people playing in a meaningful way.

            Look at the quests for most of them they all pretend that none of the other people exists. That isn't right. MMO is supposed to be a Massive Multiplayer Online Game not a Massively single player experience with the option to group raid should stick it out long enough to see it.

            The MMO Trinity has existed and been in too many new MMOs and no one has done any thing new with it. The games need to have their own personality beyond a new setting. If the game world was actually enjoyable people and kept people engaged they wouldn't feel they had to make Alts.

        • reply
          May 22, 2012 6:56 PM

          lack of innovation ruined the market

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 12:01 PM

        WoW only ruined the market because publishers/investors strive to have that much success.

        MMO's that cater to a specific niche not filled by WoW are still successful.

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 12:14 PM

        To be fair, there are also a ridiculous number of MMOs out now. And with so many being F2P, it makes paying an even bigger issue.

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 12:39 PM

        IMO The games that mimic WoW gameplay fail because the people who still want to play with WoW gameplay mechanics are still playing WoW, and a lot of the people who have left WoW are seeking something new, not something the same thing with a new skin.

        • reply
          May 22, 2012 12:54 PM

          I crashed on SWTOR at like level 20, it did indeed feel like the same shit.

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 3:33 PM

        The fact that there are so many MMOs that are running and haven't shut down means that many MMOs are doing well. There are a lot more MMOs out there post WoW than pre WoW.

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 6:32 PM

        There are many MMOs (still) running that were released before and after WoW, maybe not as successful, but the market isn't ruined. If WoW did one thing, its make the whole MMO market open to mainstream gamers.

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 10:54 PM

        "All they did was steal good ideas from other companies and implement them really crappy"

        You talking about Blizzard? Yeah, they took ideas from other games, but to say they made them crappy is laughable. If it was crappy implementation they wouldn't have got to where they are.

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 11:03 AM

      i just unsubbed because i don't have time to play an MMO

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 11:11 AM

        same. Between working and raising kids, MMOs are fast becoming a second job. One that you pay to do.... no thanks.

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          May 22, 2012 11:51 AM

          That's the way I've felt since about a year after WoW came out. I'm done with them.

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 2:56 PM

        this is also my problem. I like the SW universe and my character, but the amount time required and actually enjoy the story (ie not simply power leveling through everything, or doing PVP only stuff) is just ridiculous for anyone with a job/family.

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          May 22, 2012 3:23 PM

          same. I still have an active sub that started maybe a month or two after launch, and the last time I had the time to log in was before the 1.2 patch. I'd like to finish my character's story before unsubbing, but I don't think I'm actually going to be able to do that.

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            May 22, 2012 3:31 PM

            what I'd really like is for them to come up with a 'weekend' sub or something where you spend $5 for Friday through Sunday access, and during that time you get double/triple XP. So I could play it when I had time and actually feel like I was progressing, and not just wasting the $15 a month when I cannot play at all.

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        May 23, 2012 4:46 AM

        Same. It was the first MMO I really tries since LOTRO, but I just don't have time. Combine that with empty servers and stretched out zones, and it's just too boring in stretches. Now, the first 20 levels or so are pretty fun but it just got too monotonous once you get higher.

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        May 23, 2012 8:57 AM

        Same. They are too addictive for me. I cant come any close to any of them.

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 11:05 AM

      RIP austin biowares :(

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 11:14 AM

      So when are we getting a proper KoTOR sequel?

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 11:18 AM

        yep. they did not learn. discard wild success and critical acclaim, when it should have been milked like the goddamn madden franchise. instead we get a derpy ass MMO.

        the key is, why fire the game making talent when the business directors are fucking MORONS

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 6:45 PM

        This is what I've wanted all along. Fuck TOR, I want KOTOR.

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 12:17 PM

      Remember when people said this would kill wow?

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        May 22, 2012 1:06 PM

        I lost track of all the games that would kill WoW after Conan.

        • reply
          May 22, 2012 3:39 PM

          Were there more purported WoW killers or Quake killers?

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 2:40 PM

        Anyone who thinks any game is ever going to kill WoW is insane.

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 4:06 PM

        only Blizzard can kill wow

        • reply
          May 23, 2012 1:44 AM

          Diablo 3 is temporarily killing WoW. Last week my fixed group HM raid was cancelled, 2/3 of my guild are all playing D3.

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 2:37 PM

      Oh Snap! They laid off their primary Community Manager. What's going on over there? http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/05/22/star-wars-the-old-republic-hit-with-layoffs/

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 2:53 PM

        oh dear lol.

        Maybe it's because he couldn't read 130 page threads complaining about sweeping changes?

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 5:20 PM

        They have no idea what the fuck they are doing.

      • reply
        May 23, 2012 4:08 AM

        WHAAAAT?! No fucking way, that'd be insane. I actually interviewed with him when he was at NC Soft, seemed a good guy.

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 2:46 PM

      I have never played an MMO before but I still might try this one. Someday.

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 2:52 PM

      not suprised, swtor was destined to fail the moment bioware thought they could make their own engine based off a very early version of Hero. It's not an mmo if you can't handle more than 16 players in one area without very decent rigs grinding to a halt (think less than 20fps). And as a KOTOR game it was completely half assed with each planet having almost identical cliche stories.

      Oh and it released with less endgame content than warhammer online, thats always going to go down well haha.

      • reply
        May 22, 2012 2:54 PM

        This is hardly the reason it failed.

        • reply
          May 22, 2012 5:09 PM

          Having 1/2 of your endgame (raids + ilum) not playable by a large % of the population because of engine performance is a pretty big issues with regards to keeping people subbed long term. The actual core mechanics of swtor were pretty decent, because they were actually based of warhammer online. But just like WAR, performance issues crippled the game.

          Most people agree 1-50 was a great experience (even if it was instanced as hell) but endgame was fucking bad.

          • reply
            May 22, 2012 5:15 PM

            It's all true. I remember watching videos of the first 50's in the game on Ilos I think it's called? Ilum?Was a slideshow.

            Anyway, I'm going to send you a PM on this site, we should catch up sometime.

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 5:21 PM

      oh hai, I'm sure that the hard working execs who pushed for this game are equally as affected/

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 7:16 PM

      I can only hope this will slow down the "me too" MMOs that have been plaguing the game industry. In other words, I'm hoping at least some of them will say "why should we expect to succeed when Bioware with EA's backing could not."

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 7:33 PM

      MMO's need to go hardmode again.

      • reply
        May 23, 2012 4:10 AM

        TBC raiding was stressful and hardcore as fuck, but damn if I don't have fond memories of my Vashj and Illidan kills. Got too busy with work to do Sunwell sadly, it looked amazing

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 10:29 PM

      God dammit put it on Steam you fools! That'll give it more legs!

      • reply
        May 23, 2012 4:02 PM

        Steam isn't going to save this.

      • reply
        May 24, 2012 5:52 PM

        That would be admitting Origin can't compete.

    • reply
      May 22, 2012 11:48 PM

      I thought the leveling was way too fast.

      • reply
        May 23, 2012 4:12 AM

        One major problem was that you wound up doing the same zones so many times over if you wanted to level alts. There are, what, two starting zones per side, and then everyone winds up on the same planet from lvl 10-16 or so? I got fucking bored of Coruscant after a while.

      • reply
        May 23, 2012 4:13 AM

        Not for me. I wasn't playing hardcore but still took months to get to the end of just one class, there was at least as much face grinding as WoW to 60 and the combat was less fun.

    • reply
      May 23, 2012 2:20 AM

      Heavy multimedia doesn't make an MMO.

      In almost anything multiplayer, gameplay is heavily emphasized by the playerbase over its presentation. This is why games like CS and the original EQ still have a strong playerbase.

      EA should have simply looked to how EQ2 couldn't retain a playerbase as strong as EQ1. EQ2 took many hits in terms of gameplay and many the efforts were clearly focused on the graphics and sound. Both of which were very impressive for the time. EQ2 also boasted a large amount of voice files that took a huge amount of space for the time. Yet EQ2 still had a moderate playerbase compared to competitors (WoW) that were less stunning in presentation and its predecessor outlasted.


      Rather than try to make their own game, Bioware made yet another clone with lots of strong presentation. If you're going to play a WoW clone you might as well play WoW. You have a long invested character in WoW with an already thriving community. Why start over for a similar game? This is what happens when multimedia is emphasized in a game's development.

      You can take a shitty board game and give some awesome artwork to look at while you play. In the end, it's a shitty board game and will likely be played once then sold in a garage sale for a buck.

    • reply
      May 23, 2012 3:35 AM

      Serious thread: Why did it fail?

      Imho it was because of 1. Style over substance 2. not offering enough content long term 3. Not being better than its competitors. It seems that the Star Wars license was a sleeping pillow for BW....

    • reply
      May 23, 2012 3:37 AM

      How long before it goes F2P?

      • reply
        May 23, 2012 4:19 AM

        Two weeks.

      • reply
        May 23, 2012 4:32 AM

        announcement may 2013, launch september 2013.