(Image courtesy of Big Huge Games)
Hunt Valley video game development studio Big Huge Games will lay off 32 people as it restructures.
The studio, which is owned by Japan-based online video game company Nexon, disclosed the job losses Dec. 23 in a notice filed with the state’s labor department. It said the layoffs are effective Jan. 15. The news was first reported by the Baltimore Business Journal.
A well-known name in Baltimore County’s storied community of video game developers that dates to 2000, Big Huge Games is currently behind the mobile real-time strategy games DomiNations, which launched in 2015, and Arcane Showdown, which debuted in March 2020. Timonium-based Big Huge was acquired by Nexon in 2016, and DomiNations has gone on to surpass 50 million downloads and $150 million in revenue. As DomiNations’ success grew, so did the team. Leaders talked about how the studio can be a talent engine for the Baltimore area.
However, the studio was “recently restructured to reflect creative priorities such as providing stronger live operations support and new content for DomiNations,” said Nexon spokesperson Jeff Brown.
“All permanent full-time employees impacted by the restructuring have been offered severance and outplacement assistance,” Brown said.
Nexon didn’t disclose the studio’s total number of employees. On LinkedIn, 179 people list Big Huge Games as an employer, though that count may be imprecise.
The original version of Big Huge Games, which launched in 2000, was founded by a group of veterans of Firaxis Games, the studio which was behind the well-known strategy game Civilization. It found success on the gaming front with its game Rise of Nations, but ownership of the studio changed hands several times over the years. Its last reported downsizing event happened in 2012, when then-owner 38 Studios, the video game company founded by former professional baseball pitcher Curt Schilling, laid off the entire staff. The current version was created when Big Huge was revived in 2014 by a group that included two of the cofounders and other veterans of the studio.
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