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True Studios layoffs as UTV Ignition cuts more jobs

Publisher claims losses represent "fraction" of workforce, sources disagree

UTV Ignition has confirmed a number of job losses at the Texas-based True Studios, which developed free-to-play MMO Faxion Online.

Don Choi, vice president of UTV's online division, issued a statement to Gamasutra confirming that job losses had taken place last week, but insisted that sackings were minimal and that Faxion Online would continue to operate and be updated.

The losses were first rumoured at the end of June but UTV insisted then that only a "small console team, which was working on pre-production of an unannounced title, was laid off. The PC team was unaffected."

However, an anonymous source approached Gamasutra with information which appears to contradict Choi's assertion that only a "fraction" of staff at the studio were affected, claiming instead that the majority of staff at the Austin offices had been let go.

That source also believes that UTV's China offices will "be closing in the next couple of weeks" and that severance packages for the Austin developers had been a "joke" which illustrated UTV's "clear and demonstrated inability to focus, plan or execute on many levels."

UTV seems to be shutting down most, if not all of its internal development studios, perhaps with a view to becoming a pure publisher. UK staff at UTV Ignition are also reported to be on 30 days notice as of last month, with the company's Japanese studio also expected to follow suit.

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Dan Pearson