Transformers Universe developer Jagex has laid off 13 staff members who were working on the free-to-play MMO. This was reportedly done due to changes to the underlying systems that will, Jagex hopes, help push the game out by the end of 2013.
However, an unnamed source has expressed concern about the game's progress. The game is said to be in a "precarious position" since Jagex is under pressure to release it before the end of the year. It has reportedly decided to use more established tech, rather than in-house production, to serve as the backbone. That could potentially save the developers enough time to launch, but it could also mean problems from switching to an unfamiliar architecture.
We last heard from Transformers Universe when Jagex released a gameplay trailer last October, which promised a 2013 release.
Steve Watts posted a new article, Transformers Universe team suffers layoffs.
The team behind Transformers Universe has been hit with layoffs. Jagex says it won't "adversely impact" the game, but a source claims that hitting the release target is putting pressure on the company.
This game is a publishing deal with Hasbro, and is based on a licensed property (owned by Hasbro). That's like a double set of alarm bells, since you have a toy company breathing down your throat to release by Christmas, and an IP holder who wants the game active and marketable by the time Transformers 4 releases in June 2014.
Look at Activision: their last Transformers games released in holiday 2012, and to my knowledge, there aren't any more this year. Licensed properties tend to have unmovable release dates that CANNOT be delayed (usually because there's a tie-in with a media release or another company's business plan), and sometimes, recurring licenses can have a stipulation that the licensee produce content every year (as was the case with the James Bond games that Activision was forced to put out every year, until they gave up on that in 2013: http://www.shacknews.com/article/77906/activision-producing-fewer-licensed-games
"In 2013, we expect to release fewer games based on license properties and as a result are realigning our structure to better reflect the market opportunities and our slate."