EA Racing Studio Hit With Significant Layoffs

Layoffs are nothing new in the video game industry, but the past few months have been dire in that department. EA’s Australian studio Firemonkeys is the latest impacted by large layoffs, with up to two-thirds of the developers’ staff on the chopping block.

As first reported by Kotaku AU, the Melbourne-based studio currently provides live services for three games: Real Racing 3, The Sims FreePlay, and Need for Speed: No Limits.

In a statement shared with GameSpot, an EA spokesperson said, “We are constantly transforming to deliver games and services that keep our players engaged, connected, and inspired. It’s with this focus that we will be making some changes to the structure of Firemonkeys Studio, allowing teams there to focus on supporting live services for The Sims FreePlay. Robust support for Real Racing 3 and Need for Speed: No Limits will transition to existing teams at EA. We will continue to work closely with all relevant teams as we undergo this transition.” This is apparently a euphemistic way of announcing that the staff who maintain the two racing titles will be made redundant or shifted to other projects.

Service for those two games will reportedly be moved to Slingshot, another EA-owned studio located in India. These layoffs also resulted in several canceled projects, including Real Racing 4, which has been canned and brought back to life numerous times by Firemonkeys. In the report, anonymous sources say that the racing games were “performing well” and that the mood within the studio is “f**king grim.”

Back in March, EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson shared a business update to the company’s employees, stating in part that EA was “moving away from projects that do not contribute to our strategy, reviewing our real estate footprint, and restructuring some of our teams. These decisions are expected to impact approximately six percent of our company’s workforce.” It would seem that a large portion of Firemonkeys staff fall into that 6% bracket.

Other major studios hit by layoffs in the past few weeks include Company of Heroes developer Relic Entertainment and XCOM developer Firaxis Games.

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