Around a third of the development team working on Trion Worlds’ MMO Rift have lost their jobs.

Approximately 40 people are said to have been affected by the layoffs, which were “a response to market conditions, product timelines and the natural evolution of our company,” according to a Trion Worlds representative.

“This was a difficult decision and we wish the best for those affected by these changes. At Trion, we remain focused on delivering top quality online game experiences, and are committed to supporting Rift and launching our highly anticipated new titles Defiance, Warface, and End of Nations in 2013."

Rift’s first expansion, Storm Legion, launched last month.

Subscriber numbers for the game have not been disclosed.

Last week Trion Worlds took control of in-development MMO End of Nations from developer Petroglyph and indefinitely postponed its open beta. Trion was previously only publishing the title.

There were 19 layoffs at Petroglyph as a consequence, and the two companies concluded their business together.

Trion has a third MMO franchise in development: Defiance is an ambitious offering that encompasses a TV series and a game.

A collaboration between Syfy and Trion, the open world shooter is being developed for Windows PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, and is due to launch alongside the show in April next year.

Trion scooped around US$100 million from investors to make these three MMOs. Around half of that money was spent during the development of Rift.