Perfect World Entertainment confirmed the closure of two of its development studios. Runic, which was the studio behind Torchlight and Hob, and Motiga, which was the studio behind the action MOBA Gigantic.
Earlier today, a Perfect World representative provided the following statement:
"Following the news that Motiga has reduced the staff of its studio, Perfect World Entertainment can confirm that as the publisher of Gigantic, the game will continue to be available on our platforms. A core team of developers remains at Motiga, who will work with us to support the game and its players, including moving full steam ahead with the upcoming November update and future content. We cannot thank everyone enough for their contributions in making Gigantic the outstanding experience it is today.
Perfect World Entertainment recently closed the Seattle office of Runic Games as part of the company's continued strategy to focus on online games as a service. We're grateful to the team for all of their hard work bringing incredible experiences like Torchlight, Torchlight II and Hob to life. Runic Games will remain a part of Perfect World Entertainment's portfolio of studios, and its games will continue to be available to players, as we stay committed to supporting and growing Runic Games' beloved franchises.
The staff reduction at Motiga and the closure of Runic Games Seattle were unrelated. Perfect World Entertainment stands committed to delivering the best massively multiplayer online gameplay experiences to our players."
A former Motiga employee first revealed the news on Twitter, then later the studio's founder and CEO, Chris Chung, confirmed the closing to Destructoid. According to the report, around 50 people were employed by the developer and most have been laid off. In his statement, Chung said it was a "budgetary decision at the highest level" made by Motiga's parent company Perfect World Entertainment.
"Perfect World as a public company has a profitability goal and they decided to cut parts of the company that were not profitable," said Chung. "In short, Gigantic was not making enough revenue. Unfortunately, Motiga is not the only Perfect World studio being impacted by the decision." Gigantic continues live on thanks to "a maintenance team composed of [a] few dedicated folks at Motiga." Chung says they'll continue to work on the game "until some time in the future when it doesn't make sense anymore." So no need to freak out, Gigantic players. The MOBA will be sticking around as long as it keeps making revenue for Perfect World.
As for the publisher's other studios, which include Neverwinter developer Cryptic Studios and Torchlight developer Runic Games. The head of Runic Games, Marsh Lefler announced the news of Runic's closing on the front page of the studio's site by posting the very same statement Perfect World has released to the press already.
In a follow-up statement issued to Destructoid, Chung said he "may not have had all the facts surrounding what happened and I apologize for any error," ostensibly about his statement that Perfect World was closing more studios due to budgetary reasons.
While Perfect World has claimed there is no connection between the two studios closing, it seems obvious that the "focus on online games as a service" line is just a way to say that Runic's games don't make enough money off of micro-transactions. Which does sort of come down to the same reasoning as the closure of Motiga. So Chung wasn't quite wrong, he just wasn't toeing the company line quite as well as they might have liked.