WBIE cuts into Surreal, Monolith, Snowblind

Publisher trims This Is Vegas, F.E.A.R., Death Tank dev houses by 25 employees as a result of move to share resources between Seattle studios.

Warner Bros. bought out now-defunct publisher Midway in July, gobbling up nearly all of the production house’s assets and a good portion of the staff for $49 million. Unfortunately, one of those acquired assets, Surreal Software and its twice-delayed This Is Vegas, is again facing possible setbacks. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has confirmed for GameSpot today that it has eliminated approximately 25 positions at three of its Seattle-based studios, including Surreal.

Initially reported by Shacknews, the layoffs also impacted Monolith Productions and Snowblind Studios. Acquired by WBIE in 2004, Monolith has been at work on an unannounced project following the launch of F.E.A.R. 2 in February 2009. Snowblind Studios’ most recent project was the tepidly reviewed Xbox Live Arcade title Death Tank. The developer’s Web site indicates that it is at work on an all-new action role-playing game, to be announced this year.

WBIE said the layoffs were due to redundancies created by increased collaboration among the three Seattle studios.

“We are committed to growing Warner Bros. in the game space and will be retaining robust teams in our Seattle studios,” the publisher said in a statement. “We have been moving toward sharing certain resources across the studios and have also been reallocating resources to align talent with our development needs. Unfortunately, we had a few too many resources in certain functions and some positions were eliminated in this process. Our plan is to continually review staffing needs, and as future projects evolve, we would expect to see the studios grow.”

WBIE declined to comment on whether the staff reductions will impact any of the aforementioned projects.

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WBIE cuts into Surreal, Monolith, Snowblind” was posted by Tom Magrino on Tue, 12 Jan 2010 12:03:04 -0800