We've received multiple reports of massive layoffs at SEGA Studios Australia. The Brisbane based studio is known to be developing the multi-platform London 2012 - The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games .
Established as The Creative Assembly Australia in 2002 and more well known for their work on Medieval II: Total War, and its expansion, Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms, it's been reported that the studio has layed off 37 employees today.
Sega Studio Australia employees have expressed in the past the uncertainties of their employment during an interview with journalist, Andrew McMillan, for a Gamespot article in October last year on the state of the Australian games industry. From that feature...
"It's brutal. Absolutely brutal," says studio director Marcus Fielding of the job market. He held the same role at Krome at the time of its closure in late 2010. "I'm seeing people at the local gym who can't believe it's happened again. They're asking the question of me, 'Is Sega secure?' All I can do is work really hard to ensure that we are secure."
(Conte) It's scary. It puts you in a mindset where you don't know what's going to happen. I think we're pretty good here at Sega, but there's always that thought at the back of my mind now: 'What happens at the end of this game?' It'll be there probably for the rest of my career, now; once we get to wrap-up time, what's going to happen? Are we going to be able to do another project?"
NZGamer.com has some additional details on the reasons for the lay-offs...
The team, originally around 80 strong, has nearly halved - with most of the cuts coming from junior staff members. According to a source close to the team, initial feedback when the revised organization chart was unveiled was that it was top heavy, with most senior and management positions believed to be unaffected by the cuts.
Kotaku AU has received an official response from SEGA Studios Australia. The letter, quoted from Kotaku AU...
As SEGA Studios Australia nears completion of London 2012™ – The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games, it is essential to look to the future and take steps to ensure long-term growth and success. The rise of digital gaming provides an opportunity to align the studio with a rapidly growing market at a time when the games industry is undergoing a significant transition. To this end, we can confirm that SSA has signed a multi-product deal focussing across the digital marketplace. We have commenced development on these titles and will announce more details in the near future.
As part of this focus on digital avenues, there is a requirement to re-structure the studio resources accordingly and regrettably, we are announcing the loss of 37 staff. The decision to downsize was not taken lightly but this strategic re-structure will ensure we have a more effective and agile team that will enable us to quickly adapt to consumer needs and deliver strong content across multiple digital platforms. We thank those team members affected for their contributions and wish them well in their future endeavours. We are very confident that their efforts on London 2012™ will help us deliver the highest quality official Olympic video game to date.