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Electronic Arts has announced a restructuring program that will lead to a 5% cut in its global workforce. The developer and publisher plan to focus heavily on its proprietary IPs, and online communities. As of March 2023, the company had around 13,400 employees meaning it could cut over 650 roles.

Electronic Arts Lays Off 5% Workforce, Close Battlefield Studio, Cancel Star Wars

“Given how and where we are working, we are continuing to optimize our global real estate footprint to best support our business,” said Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson in a letter sent to employees. “We are also sunsetting games and moving away from development of future licensed IP that we do not believe will be successful in our changing industry.”

“This greater focus allows us to drive creativity, accelerate innovation, and double down on our biggest opportunities — including our owned IP, sports, and massive online communities — to deliver the entertainment players want today and tomorrow.”

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Wilson also mentioned that Electronic Arts will be streamlining its “operations to deliver deeper, more connected experiences for fans everywhere that build community, shape culture, and grow fandom”.

Electronic Arts boss called the layoff “the hardest part of these changes”, although he admitted that not every team will be impacted. According to Wilson, the company did its best to avoid the layoffs and explored every option to limit the impact of the layoffs on their teams.

“Our primary goal is to provide team members with opportunities to find new roles and paths to transition onto other projects. Where that’s not possible, we will support and work with each colleague with the utmost attention, care, and respect. Communicating these impacts has already begun and will be largely completed by early next quarter.”

Electronic Arts believes that every action associated with the restructuring process should be concluded by the end of this calendar year. Around March last year, Electronic Arts announced a similar restructuring program that led to the layoff of 6% of the company’s workforce.

Electronic Arts announced the closure of Ridgeline Games

Electronic Arts Lays Off 5% Workforce, Close Battlefield Studio, Cancel Star Wars

Less than three years after it was established, Electronic Arts has announced the closure of Seattle-based Ridgeline Games. The studio has been increasing its staff in preparation for its debut project which was described as “a narrative campaign in the Battlefield universe”.

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A week before the closure announcement, Marcus Lehto, Halo co-creator left the company for personal reasons. Lehto reacted to Ridgeline’s closure saying, “gut punched to see EA lay off my team”, adding that the team was made up of “very talented devs”.

The “winding down” of Ridgeline Games was confirmed by Electronic Arts president Laura Miele. According to the executive, some of the impacted staff will be drafted to Ripple Effect based in Los Angeles. Ripple Effect is working on a Battlefield multiplayer series. The next Battlefield single-player project will now be handled by Criterion Games, the studio behind Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.

“Our vision for Battlefield is ambitious and exciting. The project is making meaningful progress, thanks to the strong leadership of Vince Zampella and Byron Beede and dedicated studios committed to building a Battlefield platform our fans will love,” Miele said.

“Today, we have the largest Battlefield team in the franchise’s history, with passionate people in place across the globe and our studios organized to benefit from both franchise and local leadership. Marcus Lehto recently made a personal decision to leave the project. To ensure our work continues uninterrupted, we immediately appointed leadership at Criterion to oversee our single-player work.”

Electronic Arts Lays Off 5% Workforce, Close Battlefield Studio, Cancel Star Wars

Some of the people impacted by the layoff at Ridgeline Games have publicly spoken about it including lead character artist Andres Naranjo, senior game designer Alex Bean, and environmental artist Kayla Clancey.

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“After recently passing one year with an extremely talented team full of rewarding experiences, I have sadly been affected by the layoffs at Electronic Arts (EA),” wrote production coordinator Sadie Appleton-Dorsey. “Working in the gaming industry is a dream come true, and I would love to continue, so I am #OpenToWork.”

Electronic Arts cancels Star Wars FPS

Electronic Arts Lays Off 5% Workforce, Close Battlefield Studio, Cancel Star Wars

As a consequence of the restructuring, Electronic Arts has cancelled a first-person shooter Star Wars that was in development at Respawn Entertainment. Prior to its closure, the project was headed by Peter Hirschmann, the co-creator of Medal of Honor and former LucasArts veteran.

Miele said that after an internal review, Electronic Arts has decided that Respawn Entertainment will focus on the Apex Legends and Jedi series.

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“Respawn’s unique ability to connect with players and create exceptional game experiences is unrivaled in entertainment,” Miele said in a statement. “As we’ve looked at Respawn’s portfolio over the last few months, what’s clear is the games our players are most excited about are Jedi and Respawn’s rich library of owned brands.”

“Knowing this, we have decided to pivot away from early development on a Star Wars FPS Action game to focus our efforts on new projects based on our owned brands while providing support for existing games. It’s always hard to walk away from a project, and this decision is not a reflection of the team’s talent, tenacity, or passion they have for the game. Giving fans the next installments of the iconic franchises they want is the definition of blockbuster storytelling and the right place to focus.”