It's with a heavy heart we regret to inform you Stardock has laid off a number of staff following the "disastrous launch" of its strategy RPG Elemental: War of Magic. The description comes way of an anonymous, supposedly now former employee, who also noted the layoffs included developers, designers, and salespeople on the Elemental team. Company CEO Brad Wardell confirmed the rumor in the game's official forums, noting none of the core team is affected.
"Elemental's revenue was anticipated to provide the revenue both for our main games team's next project as well as a second team," he explains. "Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen so we've had to start laying people off."
"No one is being fired. None of these people did anything wrong. Stardock is a small company and each person here is truly amongst the best and brightest. So you can imagine how much it sucks for all of us to lay off anyone. We haven't had to lay anyone off since our migration from the OS/2 market in 1998. It would be great if we can bring as many of these people [as possible] back over time if the studio can afford it."
We found the game quite favorable, but a recent forum poll by Stardock has indicated customer dissastisfaction is at about 50%. The studio has since said poor decisions, oversight, and insufficient QA on a new engine led to a subpar launch, though whatever your opinion, matters have certainly improved since, especially with today's 1.07 performance patch.
We hope to examine the full story in detail in an interview with Stardock in the coming months.