“Civilization” studio lays off 20

Significant staff cuts have hit Firaxis Studios, the home of
gaming legend Sid Meier and developer of the forthcoming “Civilization V”. The
studio has laid off 20 developers as part of what parent company Take Two
Interactive Software calls a “realignment of development resources at the

That works out to roughly 15 percent of the company’s employees, if recent staffing estimates are correct. The company says the layoffs will not affect ongoing development of “Civ 5” or the upcoming “Civ” Facebook game.

“Firaxis has realigned its
development resources in order to streamline its development process, reduce
costs and maximize the overall performance of the studio,” said Take Two in a
statement. “This will result in the elimination of 20 positions. These
reductions will not impact Firaxis’ ability to create and deliver AAA titles,
including its forthcoming Sid Meier’s Civilization V and Sid Meier’s
Civilization Network for Facebook.” 

The move came just one day after Firaxis won “Best Strategy
Game” from the Game Critics Awards, the most prestigious awards given at E3.
The game has won universal acclaim in previews as well.

Layoffs after a game ships are fairly common in the gaming
world, but layoffs of this magnitude before it is completed are rare – and
rather baffling.

Meier was not affected by the layoffs and will remain with
the company. “Civ V” is still scheduled for release on Sept. 21. Alan Lewis, Vice President of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs for Take Two, says the
Facebook “Civ” game is on track for an open beta “later this year.”

That’s a bit later than the company originally planned.
Earlier this year, a company spokesperson said the open
beta was planned to launch in June
. That month came and went without a
whisper about the game. 

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