Slipgate Ironworks, the California-based MMO development studio founded by id Software veteran John Romero, has undergone a round of layoffs and a change in project focus, as directed by parent company Gazillion Entertainment.
Gazillion confirmed reports of the layoffs to Gamasutra, although the company declined to specify the number of jobs lost. The design and scope of the game has been accordingly pared down.
"As part of our focus on reaching the widest possible audiences with breakthrough MMO entertainment, we decided to change the format of our project at Slipgate Ironworks to better achieve this aim," a Gazillion representative told Gamasutra in a statement.
"The game we'll launch will build on the efforts to date with a smaller core team and the other Slipgate staff are already in discussions around the many open positions across our slate of projects."
Romero, a prominent member of the game development community since his involvement with Doom, established the studio in 2005 soon after leaving Midway. Although certain technical details about Slipgate's planned MMO, such as its usage of the BigWorld development suite, were made public, gameplay details have not been discussed.
Earlier this year, Gazillion revealed its late 2008 acquisition of Slipgate. The MMO-oriented publisher also owns Colorado-based NetDevil (Jumpgate Evolution, Lego Universe) and California-based Gargantuan.
Though weblog Kotaku suggested that around 50 staffers might have been let go, Gazillion's statement today offered no concrete explanation of the company's scope change or plans. But the publisher did suggest it will begin releasing titles next year: "2010 will be an exciting year for Gazillion as we bring several groundbreaking MMOs to markets worldwide," the statement reads.