Add them to the growing list; Media Molecule, the studio behind LittleBigPlanet and Dreams, is preparing to begin layoffs as part of “strategic changes”, with about 20 jobs on the chopping block – roughly 15% of the studio’s entire workforce.
Sports Illustrated first reported that employees had been informed of the layoffs via an internal meeting on 24 October, with Media Molecule officially confirming the news via a social media post today.
“Media Molecule has made significant strategic changes during the past year, including shifting our focus from Dreams to our new project,” the statement said. “We have had to make the difficult decision to begin the consultation process for team members within certain departments of the studio. This is a tough moment for the individuals impacted and the studio overall.”
The studio’s post goes on to promise that impacted staff would receive the “best support we can provide” during the consultation process. “Every single role that has been put at risk is delivered by someone who has contributed something special to Media Molecule.”
The Sony-owned studio confirmed that the Dreams community would be supported for the “foreseeable future” and an update on future plans would be released at a later date.
Gamesindustry.biz points out that this is the fourth Sony-owned studio to face layoffs in recent months, with the shutdown of Concrete Genie studio PixelOpus in May, Naughty Dog laying off a number of contractors earlier in October, and support studio Visual Arts initiating redundancies only this week.
Media Molecule also joins the ever-growing list of games studios more generally experiencing layoffs in what has been a particularly hellish year for game developers, with Epic Games (almost 900 jobs), Team 17, Ubisoft, and CD Projekt Red all amongst the studios reducing their workforces this year alone.
Many of the studios impacted by job losses have cut projects or ‘pivoted’ from titles that likely won’t see the light of day, while others like Epic Games have claimed that layoffs have occurred due to spending more money investing in growth and diversifying their portfolios than they’ve earned. Either way, harsher economic conditions have likely also contributed to a year of pretty heavy job losses, even as games see record sales figures.
It’s likely we’ll unfortunately see more studios added to the list as we get to the pointy end of the year, and further updates from Media Molecule on their current projects and impacted workforce soon.
Lead Image Credit: LittleBigPlanet / Sony
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