I love WildStar, I love the Devs, and I’m playing until they turn the servers off for good. For the people who are no longer at Carbine.. Thank you for your contribution to making the game, to the people still left… Thank you for sticking through what has to be a very rough time for you guys too.. friends/co-workers being let go isn’t easy in any industry. The gaming industry sucks, and treats people way too poorly.
In case you haven’t heard the news yet yesterday (Friday March 11th), NCSoft laid off approximately 40% of Carbine’s staff.. roughly 70 people. Downtown, Hildogen, Hotspur, JarNod, Jophent, Kristytacular, and many others (including TimeTravel last week) are all gone now. Here’s the official PR statement Omeed released:
Earlier this morning, Carbine Studios completed a reorganization of its operating structure. Moving forward, the studio will focus on operating and updating WildStar as a live game in the US and Europe. As part of this change, the studio has canceled its plans to bring WildStar to China.
Unfortunately, as a result of these changes, we’ve had to reduce staff. These cuts are directly tied to WildStar’s evolution from a product in development to a live title, to the cancellation of work to bring WildStar to China, and to the overall performance of WildStar since launch in 2014.
These kinds of decisions are exceptionally difficult. The talented and passionate professionals who are impacted by these cuts have been valuable team members and respected colleagues. We wish everyone well for the future and will be providing severance and employment search assistance.
As for WildStar, we remain committed to the game. Over the next few weeks and months we will deliver a significant update to the game, kick off a variety of community events, and continue our work on new content that we will talk more about in the near future.
There’s so much PR speak in there, that I don’t think Omeed left out any of the must have buzzwords.. unfortunately, Mr “There’s no bugs in F2P release” Omeed’s words.. aren’t worth the pixels they were written with.
You don’t show your commitment to the game by firing the majority of your raid designers, system engineers, QA, artists, sound people, and others. You don’t show your commitment to the game… by not mentioning in your PR speak.. that the previously committed to release on Steam is still going to occur. You don’t show your commitment by reducing staff that produce content at an already too slow pace (sorry CRB folks, I love you..but it’s been too long since we got a drop with new content), and expect the community to believe your “everything is fine” PR Speak.
NCSoft also appears to have put a gag order on the remaining Carbine folks, because all anyone has said is “still here”… Pappy is saying via Twitter that he’ll reach out to the community ‘next week’, and then have more information ‘soon’. Unfortunately, if ‘next week’ isn’t first thing Monday morning.. I’m afraid NCSoft will have accomplished their goal.
You see.. when the Publisher cuts 40% of the Developers staff..and takes no action to re-assure the community that things are still okay and the game will be around for awhile… the community doesn’t trust the publisher enough to spend money on the game… and if the community doesn’t spend money on the game.. the publisher closes the game.. which is what NCSoft seems to be doing here. When asked to confirm NCSoft’s commitment to WildStar on Twitter, and provide something to reassure the community, Omeed’s response was:
Super confidence inspiring right? “We said we’re committed, so we’re committed”, when I asked Omeed to explain the difference between “committed to the game” and “committed to launch in China”…After all, until this morning, NCSoft was committed to launching in China.. so, clearly.. Omeed saying NCSoft is committed…isn’t any kind of reassurance. In fact, it has pretty much the opposite affect. His response to my question? Silence.
NCSoft needs to remove the gag order from Carbine, let them talk to the community sooner rather than later.. so they can reassure us that the game will be around for the long haul, so that we’ll have the confidence to spend money on the game.. because if the rumors reported via Polygon are true.. the game is essentially being put into maintenance mode after this morning:
However, reports Polygon has received from sources close to the studio paint a grimmer picture. While NCSoft’s statement didn’t provide exact numbers, we were told that more than 70 people have been let go from Carbine, as much as 40 percent of the studio’s total workforce. Furthermore, sources tell us it was made clear to remaining employees that they should expect additional layoffs in the coming months.
If that rumor is true and there are only months left in WildStar’s life (due to NCSoft gutting the development team)… why should I spend additional money? Yes, I want to support the Carbine folks that are still there.. but, if NCSoft is pulling the plug (as they appear to be laying the ground work to do).. I’d be better off sending money to individual developers via Paypal.
Here’s a few quick steps that I think would help get some of the Community’s trust and confidence back (which, in turn, gets us to spend our money).
- Carbine people talking with us, remove NCSoft’s folks from the equation.. they don’t care about the WildStar community, just our wallets.
- Tell us which Devs are currently in charge of which content, put them on a stream talking about short term, and longer term plans for that content.
- Steam? Yes/No, still happening? A Yes, would indicate longer term viability is still believed to be an option.. Steam launch being cancelled, would be NCSoft twisting that knife even further.
- Detailed road map… when is drop 7 hitting? RMT? What raid is planned after RMT? What content cadence can the 40% smaller team commit to, and more importantly, what content cadence can the team meet?
- Give us something to reassure us that the game is going to last for years still.. my signature time is paid up through like June or so of 2017… give me some reassurance that there will still be something for me to play come that time frame. We know that NCSoft and Carbine had a contract for X number of years (I’ve heard 3)… what is the plan when that contract runs out? Is that when the Death Certificate that NCSoft signed today gets it’s ‘date of death’ entry filled in?
- With the bulk of the raid team being released… are more raids in the pipeline?
- Can Carbine pull an Arena Net, and buy WildStar’s publishing rights back from NCSoft, thus removing them from the picture even further?
Yes, I realize calling Omeed & NCSoft out like this, is guaranteeing I’ll be added to the NCSoft “PR Blacklist” and be ignored going forward… but, you know what? I support WildStar and Carbine in spite of NCSoft.. not because of them. If NCSoft pulls the plug on WildStar… NCSoft is pulling the plug on them getting anymore of my money…ever.
Your turn Carbine/NCSoft.. give us something to encourage the community to stick around, and more importantly, to keep spending money.
P.S. Since I’ll be persona non grata around official events after this… anyone know where I can get my hands on one of those Rowsdower plushies?