THQ will lay off 118 employees from Relic Entertainment and Vigil Games, as it transforms its troubled MMO project Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium
into a single-player and online multiplayer game.
After suffering a financially weak third quarter
amidst other difficulties, the publisher said that it was seeking a partner
to help mitigate costs and bring the large-scale project to market last month. THQ hasn't said if it's found a partner yet, but it's decided to change its plan for the formerly massively multiplayer online game in the meantime.
"Based on changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO, we believe the right direction for us is to shift the title from an MMO to a premium experience with single and multiplayer gameplay, robust digital content and community features," says THQ president and CEO Brian Farrell.
In March of last year, the company projected Dark Millennium's development budget
at $50 million, which it said was comparable to the high end of a core game. It hoped to capitalize on the subscription nature of MMOs by continuing to generate revenue from the game five to eight years after its launch.
As a result of scaling back the MMO to a single-player and multiplayer experience, THQ will reduce its headcount at the two internal studios working on the project, laying off 79 full-time employees at Austin-based Vigil Games (Darksiders
series), and 39 workers at Vancouver's Relic Entertainment (Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
and Space Marine
The news comes not long after THQ announced a plan to cut 240 jobs
of its sales, general, and administrative personnel worldwide -- in addition to the 30 it laid off from its Play THQ division
) last December. It also reportedly laid off 14
from THQ Australia in January, and closed its Japanese branch.