Editor’s note: This story and headline were updated to reflect the WARN notice.
ArenaNet, the video game maker behind Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2, is laying off 143 employees at its Bellevue headquarters and canceling projects.
The studio confirmed the layoffs on Monday following a report from Kotaku last week. The canceled projects had not yet been announced.
A WARN notice filed with the state of Washington on Monday later revealed that 143 employees would be laid off starting this Friday, March 1.
ArenaNet, which employed more than 400 people according to LinkedIn, is owned by South Korean video game developer NCSoft.
“This is part of a larger organizational restructuring within NCSoft in the west, but the Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 game services will not be affected, nor is any upcoming game content canceled,” the company said in a statement to GeekWire.
Citing an internal email, Kotaku reported that NCSoft West’s CEO Songyee Yoon told employees: “Our live game business revenue is declining as our franchises age, delays in development on PC and mobile have created further drains against our revenue projects, while our operating costs in the west have increased … Where we are is not sustainable, and is not going to set us up for future success.”
Colleagues and fans took to Twitter to show support for the affected employees using the hashtag #Love4ArenaNet.
Friends, today is going to be very very hard for all of us, whether people stay at the company or not.
If you’d like to spread some love and appreciation for the devs, the stories we told and those we won’t get to tell, tweet some positive thoughts under #Love4ArenaNet today. ✨
— Jennifer Scheurle (@Gaohmee) February 25, 2019
Lead narrative designer Aaron Linde announced that he was leaving ArenaNet on Twitter.
Welp, I spent the weekend thinking about it, and I've decided that I'm gonna be leaving ArenaNet. Really tough decision. I adore these people. I'll miss them so. pic.twitter.com/oa17GYUhGf
— Aaron Linde [LFG] (@aaronlinde) February 25, 2019
This was the third recent restructuring in the video game industry. Last week, EA’s Australian studio FireMonkeys also announced layoffs affecting an estimated 40 to 50 people, according to the organization Game Workers Unite Australia. Activision Blizzard also said earlier this month that it would cut 8 percent of its staff, which included a shutdown of its Z2 Seattle game studio.
Game developer association IGDA Seattle is hosting a networking and recruiting event with Experis and AIE on Wednesday, March 6, for workers affected by recent layoffs.