Firemonkeys Studios, an EA-owned mobile game developer, will reportedly undergo a significant downsizing, with around two-thirds of its 120-member workforce being laid off or assigned to other projects. As Kotaku Australia notes, this is not the first time Firemonkeys has been hit with layoffs from EA.
The studio, formed from the merging of formerly separate companies Firemint and IronMonkey Studios, gained a reputation for its racing titles, such as Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Need for Speed: No Limits, and Real Racing 3. Recently, however, the studio’s focus has been on the development and support of The Sims Freeplay, a mobile spinoff of EA’s life simulation franchise.
The move towards a monotitle approach for Firemonkeys has reportedly led to the cancellation of Real Racing 4, and many are questioning the wisdom of this approach. While it could help keep costs down and safeguard the studio’s continued existence, analysts wonder if EA’s shareholders will lack confidence in this strategy and how it will affect the broader video game industry in Australia.
Despite this, Firemonkeys received funding in 2021 in the form of the Victoria Screen Incentive programme, suggesting that the studio has found support from some corners.