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Aliens:CM Co-Developer Layoffs; BioWare San Fran Closed

It probably isn't a surprise that Aliens: Colonial Marines (A:CM) co-developer (?) TimeGate Studios was hit with layoffs. The game has been one of the most controversial titles since Duke Nukem Forever, and currently looks to fall in place next to Ion Storm's "legendary" Daikatana and Atari's E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

For TimeGate, the news of layoffs is unfortunate given the developer's portfolio prior to it’s A:CM involvement including Section 8 and the awesome F.E.A.R. series. Rumor has it that around 25 people were let go Monday morning, and possibly due to a publishing deal that fell through last week.

TimeGate president Adel Chaveleh confirmed with Polygon that some of the team has been let go, but didn't verify the actual number. "Today, we had to make the difficult decision to let go of some great game developers," he said. "This is never easy, and we're doing all we can to assist those developers affected."

Chaveleh added that TimeGate is preparing (as is the entire industry) for the transition to next-generation consoles and new business models. "As part of this reinvention, all projects and strategic initiatives continue to move forward at the studio," he said.

So far there's no real answer as to how much input TimeGate had in the A:CM project. Just before the game's launch, Gearbox Software co-founder Randy Pitchford claimed that TimeGate spent an equal amount of time working on the project as Gearbox. Many have claimed that Gearbox mismanaged the entire production while one anonymous Sega official actually accused Gearbox of embezzlement.

Meanwhile, Electronic Arts has reportedly closed the BioWare studio in San Francisco, laying off 25 to 30 employees. This studio, focused on mobile and social games development, was best known for developing the now-closed Dragon Age: Legends for Facebook and the browser-based Mirror's Edge 2D. The studio was originally launched as EA2D but was branded as a BioWare studio in August 2011.

This sudden closure was actually expected, as Frank Gibeau mentioned that a change was coming after Sony semi-revealed the PlayStation 4 in late February.

"Thousands of our existing employees have been retrained and redeployed to work on the new platforms and initiatives," he said. "But when it is not possible to redeploy a team, we soften the tough decisions with assistance.  This week we let some people go in Los Angeles, Montreal as well as in some smaller locations.  These are good people and we have offered outplacement services and severance packages to ease their transition to a new job."

Additional sources claim that EA found that it was just too expensive to develop mobile titles in Redwood Shores, California. Nevertheless, there are now roughly 55 ex-BioWare and ex-TimeGate developers now on the streets looking for new jobs.

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