EA mobile developer Firemonkey hit with mass layoffs | Pocket

EA’s Firemonkeys Studios will see layoffs of around two-thirds of its 120 employees, with the studio transitioning to a monotitle approach supporting The Sims Freeplay.

The news was first reported via Twitter by journalist Jack Ryan who noted that EA was shifting the studio’s development solely to the Sims mobile spinoff. Kotaku Australia also reportedly learnt that the rough estimate would be two-thirds of the staff at the studio would either be reassigned to other projects or laid off. It’s not the first time the studio has been hit by mass layoffs courtesy of EA, as 40 to 50 staff faced the boot in 2019.

The studio was most well-known for their work on a number of racing titles, including Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Need for Speed: No Limits and Real Racing 3, a sequel to Firemint’s Real Racing 1 & 2. Firemonkeys itself was formed from the merging of two studios acquired by EA, the aforementioned Firemint and IronMonkey Studios.

The Kotaku report also noted that Firemonkeys had recently been a recipient of the Victoria Screen Incentive programme relatively recently in 2021.

EA does it again

By now it should come as no surprise that EA will cut staff to keep costs down, however the pivot to a solely monotitle approach for the studio does at least safeguard Firemonkeys’ continued existence for the time being. However, it also significantly narrows the scope of their development, as it has reportedly led to the cancellation of Real Racing 4 in favour of the continued focus on The Sims: Freeplay.

As always the question of the wisdom behind this approach will be on everybody’s mind, as continued downsizing of the studio may indicate a lack of confidence by EA in their continued success. However, it’s also a possible hit to confidence in foreign-owned studios in Australia, which has boasted a burgeoning video game scene of its own that only recently recovered from a similar downturn before 2019.

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