Need for Speed No Limits Developer Faces Closure After Major Studio Layoffs
Firemonkeys, EA’s Australian studio behind mobile titles such as Need for Speed No Limits, Real Racing 3 and The Sims Mobile, has been hit with major layoffs affecting more than half of the studio.
Kotaku Australia reported that EA has begun a round of layoffs at the Melbourne-based studio earlier this week, a studio created in 2012 after a merger which would see them become one of the largest game development studios in the country.
Approximately 80 to 100 staffers have been let go from the studio, half of the roughly 200 staffers working at Firemonkeys currently, with their next mobile project ‘Real Racing 4’ cancelled and assumptions from staff members that the studio will be closed by the end of 2019.
EA has not given an official statement on how many staffers were let go from the company or what will happen with Real Racing 4 and the future of Need for Speed No Limits, Real Racing 3 and The Sims Mobile, however the studio did comment to Kotaku stating the remaining staff will continue on and support their live service titles.
“The FireMonkeys studio is working on some of our most popular mobile games. We recently made a decision to shift teams to focus more on our live services, and have entered into a consultation period that may impact some roles in the studio. We’re working to match skills with opportunities as we go through this period, identifying other opportunities at EA, and providing as much help to our employees as we possibly can. “
Game Workers Unite Australia reports that with these studio redundancies at Firemonkeys, the loss of jobs was equivalent to “nearly 10% of the entire Australian game development industry“, a significant blow to an already small game development market in the Australasian region.
Need for Speed No Limits in particular was a huge game for the studio and one that’s been supported heavily with regular content updates and seasonal events for years. Their most recent ‘Lunar New Year’ update last month added two new vehicles - 2019 McLaren 600LT and 1992 Jaguar XJ220 - and a new event to complete, with an Urban Legends update over Christmas and a Halloween update last September.
We wish all the best to the folks over at Firemonkeys that have been affected by these closures. The full report with more details can be found over on Kotaku Australia.