Updated below with Wargaming statement.
Wargaming Seattle, the Redmond-based game studio that started as Gas Powered Games and more recently worked on the hit World of Tanks franchise, is shutting down in another studio closure by its parent company, international game developer Wargaming.net.
The decision will reportedly leave around 150 employees without jobs, though efforts to recruit and re-employ them have already begun via the hashtag #WGJobs. Word of the impending closure leaked out today from employees and others in the industry, but Wargaming hasn’t yet confirmed or publicly acknowledged the plan to shutter the studio.
The move comes less than two years after the demise of Wargaming’s other Seattle-area studio, the mobile-oriented WG Cells, which was originally DropForge Games. That closure impacted 64 jobs.
One employee told Gamasutra anonymously that Wargaming’s CEO Victor Kislyi announced the Wargaming Seattle closure at a surprise all-hands meeting Wednesday morning. Sources differ on whether the shutdown is effective immediately or will occur over the next two months.
It’s the latest in a series of game studio closures in the Seattle region, including Disney’s Bellevue, Wash., game studio and Torchlight developer Runic Games. EA made layoffs last year at Seattle’s PopCap Games.
Update, Thursday morning, May 24: Wargaming issued this statement on the closure.
Wargaming will be closing their Redmond development studio as part of the company’s restructuring process. Every member of the 150-strong team that has been working on an unannounced MMO project will be offered a severance package. Wargaming will be assisting the current employees of the Redmond studio, if they decide to apply for open positions in other offices within the company. We would like to express our gratitude and thank everyone on the team for their hard work.
Wargaming Seattle began its run in 1998 as Gas Powered Games, founded by industry veteran Chris Taylor (Total Annihilation). Gas Powered Games went on to produce well-regarded PC games such as Dungeon Siege, Supreme Commander, and Demigod.
However, a failed attempt at a Kickstarter in 2012 left the company in dire straits, and it was subsequently acquired by the Belarusian/Cypriot-based Wargaming in 2013. As Wargaming Seattle, it was a satellite studio for the Wargaming family of products, most notably the wildly popular World of Tanks.
Sad to hear that Wargaming Seattle is closing. So many amazing and talented people in that studio. I want to wish them all the best and know in my heart they will soon embark on their next great adventure!
— Chris Taylor (@DeathBot9) May 24, 2018
On Twitter, the news was broken by animator Tim Borrelli, and confirmed by Wargaming employees such as Michael Schorr.
Just heard that the entire Wargaming Seattle office just shut down. 160ish people affected. Is there a hashtag to help people? #WGJobs?
— Tim Borrelli Tim Borrelli All I Hear is Tim Borrel (@Anim8der) May 23, 2018
So, today Wargaming Seattle was closed. It was a true pleasure working with and learning from my teammates. If I can help out in any way, don't hesitate to reach out. If you know someone looking for an experienced level designer, game, designer or UX designer, let's chat!
— Michael Schorr (@MichaelSchorr) May 23, 2018