Following reports and speculation last night and this morning, publisher THQ has formally announced a change in direction for its upcoming action game, Warhammer 40K: Dark Millennium.
Previously designed to be a massively multiplayer online game with a much larger scope and thus the need for a more intensive post-release support programme, THQ and co-developers Vigil and Relic have shifted the genre of the game to that of an “immersive single player and online multiplayer experience with robust digital content, and engaging community features.”
This drastic change has not come without a great cost, however, as employees at both Vigil and Relic have been affected by the reduction in the game’s scope – a despairing 79 full-time employees at Vigil Games in Austin, Texas have been let go, while a further 39 employees at Relic Entertainment in Vancouver have also been laid off.
At Vigil, work continues on the team’s incredibly exciting Darksiders II as well as Dark Millennium, while Relic Entertainment will continue to work in its Company of Heroes and Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War franchises.
Jon Gillard, Head of Licensing for Warhammer 40K license holder, Games Workshop, said of the new direction for Dark Millennium:
“We are genuinely excited about the new direction that THQ is taking with Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium, and we are sure that this will be a great addition to the ever growing stable of authentic and engaging Warhammer 40,000 video games.”
President and CEO of THQ Inc, Brian Farrell, however, was left with the task of explaining the change in direction and the news of layoffs at Vigil and Relic:
“As previously announced, we have been actively looking for a business partner for the game as an MMO. However, based on changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO, we believe the right direction for us is to shift the title from an MMO to a premium experience with single and multiplayer gameplay, robust digital content and community features.
“Because we believe strongly in the high-quality and vast creative work that is in production, this is the right decision for both our portfolio and for gamers devoted to this powerful property.”
Immediately following the news, development studios around the world sent out news of vacancies at their companies, so we hope all those affected by the staff cuts will find their feet soon.
What was your interest level in Warhammer 40K: Dark Millennium prior to this announcement? Would you have played the game as an MMOG? Did you even know the game was in development? Are you now more likely to play Dark Millennium now that it’s a more traditional singleplayer and multiplayer game?