Another bunch of game studios have laid off employees, and we’re not even out of January yet

2024 continues to be an awful year for employees of the game industry, as another three studios have reportedly laid off employees this week. People Can Fly, the developer of games including Painkiller, Bulletstorm, and Outriders, has confirmed that “layoffs have happened,” while a Kotaku report says Destroy All Humans! studio Black Forest Games and Ruiner developer Reikon Games have also made significant cuts to staffing.

People Can Fly development director Adam Alker said in an internal email that more than 30 people working on the studio’s current project, code named Project Gemini, were being let go. Project Gemini was described as “a triple-A game that is being developed in partnership with the publisher Square Enix Limited” in a 2022 financial report, and was meant to be on a scale similar to that of Outriders, People Can Fly’s 2021 co-op shooter. However, one source told Kotaku that Project Gemini’s singleplayer campaign is going to be reduced in size as a result of the cuts.

In a statement provided to PC Gamer, People Can Fly confirmed that “layoffs have happened,” but did not reveal how many employees were let go. “At this time we have nothing to add,” a rep said. “It’s an unfortunate situation and we are doing our best to adequately support these laid off employees.”

Reikon Games, the developer of the 2017 cyberpunk shooter Ruiner, cut approximately 60 people, according to a Threads post (via GamesIndustry) by former producer Rafał Basaj. Former senior environment 3D artist Aitor Rández also reported a “mass layoff” at Reikon on a separate LinkedIn post, and multiple other former Reikon employees on LinkedIn are now indicating that they are looking for new jobs.

And finally (for the moment, at least) Black Forest Games has reportedly laid off around 50 employees. Black Forest parent THQ Nordic revealed in August 2023 that the studio was working on a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game based on the limited comic series The Last Ronin, but Embracer-owned studios have been rocked by the collapse of a $2 billion investment deal in May 2023: Hundreds of employees have been laid off, and studios including Versus Evil, Free Radical Design, Campfire Cabal, and Volition have been closed outright. Elex developer Piranha Bytes is also reportedly facing closure if it can’t find a way to move forward with its next project independently.

2023 was a brutal year for layoffs in the game industry, and 2024 has gotten off to an even worse start, with cuts at Bossa Studios, Lost Boys Interactive, CI Games, Behaviour Interactive, Riot Games, and others. Yesterday, just over three months after closing its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft laid off 1,900 employees from its gaming division, roughly 8.5% of the division’s total workforce, and cancelled Blizzard’s survival game project.