“Turbine is transitioning into a free-to-play, mobile development studio, and as a result we are eliminating some positions. The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons online games will continue to operate as they do now. Re-focusing and reducing the studio size was a difficult decision for the company, and we are grateful to all of the Turbine staff for their considerable contributions.”
So grateful, in fact, that we kicked them out of the building! So long, see ya, we’re mobile now!
Oh Turbine, what happened to you? A death of a thousand cuts or a hundred bad decisions? Was it free-to-play in the end? Trying too hard to do too much? Your Infinite Crisis gambit? The decline of the MMO industry? Selling out to WB?
You used to be this mighty indie studio that pumped out beloved hits. You looked forward on MMOs and delivered an incredible vision of Middle-earth that we loved for years. You had three highly lucrative IPs under your belt.
I’m kind of furious about these layoffs. It makes me downright mad to see a studio that used to show such passion and talent for MMOs to be groveling for the scraps of mobile gaming. It ticks me off that good people who have poured so much work into these titles have been shown the door. And it makes me quite nervous for the future of the current library of titles.
Notice that Asheron’s Call 1/2 isn’t mentioned there. Maybe it doesn’t need to be; these games were put into maintenance mode last year and probably make next to no profit. But at least the gamers had the hopes that the light switch would stay on. That above statement does not give me the confidence that this will be the case.
And that whole “will continue to operate as they do now” is such an ominous and nebulous statement. What does that mean? This could be saying that the games will be kept running but no more development will happen (again, maintenance mode while they drain the last dollars from the pockets of the loyalists). It could be a statement of assurance that the games will continue running and receive some attention, perhaps from a reduced team. We really don’t know, mostly because bland and unhelpful PR statements like this are the worst.
Turbine execs, you better be going to bed tonight sick to your stomach at what has happened on your watch. Mobile studio? Shoot, you haven’t even proven you can do that much yet. And with that, I don’t have any further reason to care about what you do.