EA studio Firemonkeys allegedly set for significant layoffs

A new report alleges EA's Firemonkeys Studio is in the process of being scaled down.
firemonkeys melbourne studio ea

A new report from Kotaku Australia has alleged EA’s Melbourne-based Firemonkeys Studio is set to undergo major layoffs, with around two-thirds of staff impacted. Some staff will allegedly be moved to new projects at Firemonkeys, while others will be laid off.

According to Kotaku Australia‘s reporting, the news was announced internally in April 2023, with EA executives flying into Melbourne, Australia to inform staff that Firemonkeys would become a ‘monotitle’ studio working solely on mobile game, The Sims FreePlay – a title which has earned the studio several award nominations, including an Australian Game Developer Award nod for Excellence in Ongoing Games.

As part of these changes, studio general manager Joe Donoghue was reportedly made redundant in late April 2023.

Read: Firaxis Games, Midnight Suns and XCOM studio, hit by layoffs

Kotaku Australia also reports that several projects in development have been cancelled as part of these alleged structural changes, including Real Racing 4, a sequel to the popular Real Racing mobile series. It’s believed work on other mobile racing games will shift to an EA studio in India, called Slingshot Games, with current Firemonkeys staff aiding this development transition.

As noted by Kotaku Australia, this isn’t the first instance of layoffs at EA’s Firemonkeys. In 2019, a major round of layoffs reduced the studio’s headcount by around 40-50 staff members. At the time, it was expected to close – but a dedicated team continued work on the studio’s major franchises.

The studio was formed in 2012 by the merging of two separate Australian studios, Firemint (Flight Control) and IronMonkey Studios (Mass Effect Infiltrator).

In March 2023, EA CEO Andrew Wilson announced a move away from ‘projects that [did] not contribute to [EA’s] strategy’ for the future. This was to result in ‘restructuring’ which was ‘expected to impact approximately six percent of [the] company’s workforce’.

Update 2/6: An EA spokesperson provided GamesHub with the following statement:

‘We are constantly transforming to deliver games and services that keep our players engaged, connected, and inspired. It’s with this focus that we will be making some changes to the structure of Firemonkeys Studio, allowing teams there to focus on supporting live services for The Sims FreePlay. Robust support for Real Racing 3 and Need for Speed: No Limits will transition to existing teams at EA. We will continue to work closely with all relevant teams as we undergo this transition.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.