Struggling Swedish studio Starbreeze has made the difficult decision to eliminate 60 jobs in an effort to remain in operation. The company is most well-known for its popular Payday franchise. The layoffs are expected to be finalized by November, accounting for 25% of the 240-person workforce.
According to Eurogamer, a source at Starbreeze has stated that the company is treating the layoffs appropriately with regards to Swedish laws and regulations in the process, “They have been very very open with everything, and they are actively looking to assist anyone affected, up to the point of allowing shared portfolio projects internally of office hours, and introductions to others companies in Stockholm."
In total, the projected savings from the reduced workforce should equate to roughly 3m SEK, or $317,000 USD per month.
The trouble for Starbreeze has long been accruing, and today’s news marks what may amount to one of the final nails in the coffin for the studio. A short two years ago at the company 2016 Christmas meeting, CEO Bo Anderson bragged about the future of the company: Payday 2 was a hit, and both Raid: World War 2 and Overkill’s The Walking Dead were expected to be successful releases. With the failing of both games, Anderson was quickly sacked, and an email leaked that presented the CEO as lamenting the laziness of his staff, despite the crunch endured by them to meet their deadlines.
At this point, The Walking Dead is almost a cursed property to develop into a game, with most developers unable to create a quality game out of the license. The day after that leaked email was sent out, Swedish authorities raided the studio’s office and arrested two people who were wanted as part of an investigation into alleged insider trading. The inauspicious trend within the company continued with other internal issues popping up from time to time.
Since then, new Starbreeze CEO Mikael Nermark states that, “In the past six months we have made a number of changes to the business following our strategy to focus on the core business”, but many wonder if trimming a quarter of the Starbreeze workforce is anything but the forestalling of the inevitable closure of the studio.
It is a sad thing to watch something so full of promise fade away.