Gigantic Developers Motiga Hit With Major Layoffs, Runic Seattle Offices Closed [Update]

Gigantic Developers Motiga Hit With Major Layoffs, Runic Seattle Offices Closed [Update]

"It was a budgetary decision at the highest level."

Update: Perfect World has issued a statement to Kotaku and USgamer regarding the recent layoffs.

Following the news that Motiga has reduced the staff of its studio, Perfect World Entertainment can confirm that as the publisher of Gigantic, the game will continue to be available on our platforms. A core team of developers remains at Motiga, who will work with us to support the game and its players, including moving full steam ahead with the upcoming November update and future content. We cannot thank everyone enough for their contributions in making Gigantic the outstanding experience it is today.

Perfect World Entertainment recently closed the Seattle office of Runic Games as part of the company’s continued strategy to focus on online games as a service. We’re grateful to the team for all of their hard work bringing incredible experiences like Torchlight, Torchlight II and Hob to life. Runic Games will remain a part of Perfect World Entertainment’s portfolio of studios, and its games will continue to be available to players, as we stay committed to supporting and growing Runic Games’ beloved franchises.

The staff reduction at Motiga and the closure of Runic Games Seattle were unrelated. Perfect World Entertainment stands committed to delivering the best massively multiplayer online gameplay experiences to our players.

Motiga, the developers behind the long-in-development massively multiplayer sorta-MOBA, sorta-shooter Gigantic, had a bumpy road up to launch. Layoffs plagued the company, a new publisher joined the mix mid-development, platforms shifted for the multiplayer title. Motiga, it seemed, couldn't catch a break. Then Gigantic finally launched, but even that wasn't enough.

The independent studio Motiga has nearly shut their doors for good today. Originally, Microsoft partnered with Motiga for the development of their hero-focused multiplayer game, then a Windows 10 exclusive. Eventually, Microsoft backed off. Perfect World, another large publisher-type, stepped in for a new partnership with the developers. Nearly a year after the partnership was cemented, Perfect World has opted to lay off most of the studio after Gigantic wasn't as profitable as desired. In our own review from Mike Williams earlier this year, he surmised that while he enjoyed Gigantic, it did feel a bit bare, writing, "The characters are visually wonderful and mechanically distinct. But the overall experience just needs more." Unfortunately, the game might not get an honest chance to grow again.

It's unclear just how many have lost their jobs, but the image above (tweeted by a former employee) shows the breadth of a studio. In a statement given to Destructoid, Motiga chief executive Chris Chung said, "Gigantic will be left at the hands of a maintenance team composed of few dedicated folks at Motiga. They are [an] awesome group of people that will be working on the game until some time in the future when it doesn't make sense anymore." Later, Chung made a second statement, adding, "Today was a tough day for all of us who have been part of this extraordinary journey. We wish the best for everyone that were impacted and we will do everything we can to help them find a new home."

In Chung's full statement, he noted that Motiga isn't the only studio being shuttered by Perfect World. Perfect World has still not made a statement on the closing of Motiga, or otherwise. We wish the best for anyone affected by the studio's closure.

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Caty McCarthy

Senior Editor

Caty McCarthy is a former freelance writer whose work has appeared in Kill Screen, VICE, The AV Club, Kotaku, Polygon, and IGN. When she's not blathering into a podcast mic, reading a book, or playing a billion video games at once, she's probably watching Terrace House or something. She is currently USgamer's Senior Editor.

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