Big Layoffs At Thief Developer Eidos Montreal

Big Layoffs At Thief Developer Eidos Montreal

UPDATE: Thief developer Eidos Montreal laid off 27 employees today. Here’s the full statement from its parent company, Square Enix.

Yes it is true we’ve let 27 people go today, unfortunately it’s something that every major studio has to do sometimes in order to ensure you have the right set up for current and future projects. It’s never a nice thing to do but we are genuinely trying to offer as much support as much as we can. We’re trying to re-locate as many people as possible into other roles here or at our other studios and we’ve been in touch several studios in Montreal to arrange a career day for those affected by this. We’re very thankful for all their hard work and we sincerely wish them well.

Original story follows:

Thief developer Eidos Montreal has just laid off a number of employees, according to multiple Kotaku sources.

We’ve heard differing numbers, but they’re big — one source says 30-50; another says 20+. Those people requested anonymity while speaking to Kotaku.

Thief, which came out last week, received middling reviews including a “No” from Kotaku . A number of reports suggested that the game had troubles during development. In October, Eidos Montreal cancelled an unannounced game that sources have told me was connected to the Japanese branch of Square Enix.

We’ve reached out to Square Enix for confirmation.


  • Is it bad that I’m cynical enough to believe that the reason why this happened is because it didn’t sell Call of Duty numbers?

    • I’m starting to see it as the norm. Release game, then stop paying as many wages as possible.

      • Especially if you work in QA. So many stories of once their job is done they’re all killed off. Even heard of story of how they just padlocked the entire building and everybody had to assume they were fired. Leaving all their stuff inside.

        • Especially if you work in QA. So many stories of once their job is done they’re all killed off. Wow, I think I didn’t appreciate just how lucky I was to leave alive the time that happened to me…

      • It’s been the norm for a long time. The difference is they didn’t used to get reported on.

        • Absolutely correct on both counts. One of the problems with the game industry is that a lot of people who work in it are just so damn happy to be working on a game that they let their employers take advantage of them by issuing crappy wages for full time work, with little to no overtime pay and then getting sacked at the end of the project.

          I’ve been doing software engineering both as a developer and manager for over 20 years and I can tell you without a doubt that in other industries, developers and other technical people negotiate much more profitable contracts because none of them grow up “dreaming to work on a CRM program for a bank”.

          Considering that most people are going to be laid off when a production schedule closes down, I’m actually somewhat surprised that people aren’t just abandoning ship a month or two before gold. I guess a human being’s natural ability for self delusion is really that strong. (Oh it won’t happen to me!)

  • While it’s sad to see, and I’ve just finished Thief, maybe it has something to do with the way Squeenix is treating customers lately. Have to say I’m not impressed with the current release mode for Drakengard3 in Aus(digital only, really!!!), nor for the lack of Collectors Edition for Lightning returns.

  • unfortunately it’s something that every major studio has to do sometimes in order to ensure you have the right set up for current and future projects
    Fuck off. If you only hire people for one project, pay contractors. Sick of this shit when companies fire employees as soon as a product is out the door.

    • I heartily endorse not only the content of your statement but also your mode of communication.

      • I normally don’t resort to profanity on here but felt it best conveyed my feelings on the matter.

    • Yeah I have no idea why these studios aren’t just signing people on for 3 year contracts – it’s perfectly legal, you’d save on the huge redundancy bill and you look like less of a dick in the media – the HR in these game studios should be the first out the door for stupidity

      • They hire people full time because it’s cheaper than hiring contractors believe it or not.

        In a lot of places they can dismiss a full time employee with very little severance, and since people are so eager to work in the game industry they can con them into low wages, since the employee thinks that they have “made it” and are now going to work in the industry. Then they get used and turned out by that company.

        The games industry has been capitalizing on low ages and unpaid overtime for decades now, especially the big publishers – companies like EA and Activision are infamous for this. The last thing they want to do is establish a contracting market because that will raise prices substantially (contractors generally charge more than full time employees because they accept the fact that their contract will end).

        Also the position of hiring a full time employee, even if you don’t intend to keep them on later, is that if you DO need to keep them on for whatever reason, then there is no onboarding/recruitment cost associated with it. It’s basically a win/win for the game studio even though it is obviously reprehensible human behaviour.

        I run a software development company and trust me, I struggle sometimes with doing the ethical thing in the face of trying to constrain costs, so I get the pressure people are under when it comes to hiring, but one step I won’t sink to is basically lying to people.

  • Sadly it was probably just the worker drones, not the people responsible for the game’s more egregious flaws. Once you’ve reached a certain level you can often cock up with impunity.

  • Thanks for destroying the Thief franchise guys ! So long and farewell all ye maidens !

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