After the good news of updates to the game this week in LOTRO, the bad news follows that an unspecified number of staff have been laid off at Turbine:
Even more dire, Warner Brothers told Massivelyop:
“Turbine is transitioning into a free-to-play, mobile development
studio, and as a result we are eliminating some positions. The Lord of
the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons online games will continue to
operate as they do now. Re-focusing and reducing the studio size was a
difficult decision for the company, and we are grateful to all of the
Turbine staff for their considerable contributions.”
I've seen plenty of speculation that the licensing for LOTRO wouldn't be renewed next year, which you could only imagine would lead to a shutdown of the game (rumored for years and hasn't happened so ignore, ignore), but to turn the studio and its assets into some mindless mobile game? How sad, how awful a fate for such a beautifully designed world. There is nothing like it and never will be again.
I am compelled to try to think of any good coming of it, and if some of Turbine's staff get to keep their livelihoods, then more power to those folks. Honestly, though, it's like asking DaVinci to paint the rocks in your garden. With a toothpick.
Couldn't someone buy Turbine away from Warner Brothers? Save Middle Earth!