From Grimwell, a few days ago (now edited):
– Wolfpack and Ubisoft not so friendly. Ubi dropped the price to “FREE!” and there is no SB2 announcement. Sat in on a PVP roundtable moderated by Damion Schubert and he didn’t mention this, neither did the other WP friends. At the end of the day SB didn’t bring the $$ on a large scale despite doing many things right for MMOG’s and PVP. Possible, but not verified.
Then Ashen Temper (Wolfpack Community Rep/Designer?) somewhat disproves the rumor:
While I do love a good rumor mill, let me point out that Wolfpack is not a third-party development house but is a studio of Ubisoft (we were not originally and some people still think we are). While I would love to talk about why Shadowbane is free at the moment, I can’t until an official announcement is released (from higher up the food chain than me).
As for any future announcements (pertaining to other “possible” projects), let me say three things: (1) I learned with Shadowbane that it is not a good idea to announce a project too early in its development. Having a rabid fanbase for roughly three years was hard to manage without having more than morsels to feed them for the first two years. (2) GDC isn’t the only gaming convention in the year and I know many marketers prefer E3 over GDC. (3) That I really can’t say if or what we are working on (aside from Shadowbane) but there seems to be a lot of bread crumbs out there…
And NOW, he reconfirms it:
I wasn’t going to post this initially but I figure the word is already out (I’ve already seen it on a few webzines as well as a multitude of forums). Yes, the rumor is true: I am looking for a new job. No, I did not get fired. Nor am I the only one looking for a job. We were recently informed that as of mid-May 2006, the doors of Wolfpack Studios will be closing. Ubisoft, our parent company, will be refocusing their efforts on the console market with the new fiscal year, what with the new systems coming to market such as the X-box 360, PS3, and the Nintendo GO! (or so the rumors call it lately). This is not an unheard of practice; many game publishing companies tend to put a majority of their efforts into development of games for new systems. It is best to strike when the iron is hot, as the saying goes.
What does this mean for Shadowbane? Truth be told, I really don’t know. I wish I did because I don’t only work on the game, I play it too. Once I do know something and can officially state as much, I’ll let you all know.
In total, approximately 25 people at the Austin, TX studio have been left without work.