According to reports from Kotaku, Deep Silver Volition has laid off more than 30 employees, including General Manager Dan Cermak. This follows shortly after the developer released Agents of Mayhem last month, and Kotaku’s sources indicate that the Volition was unhappy with sales numbers for the spiritual successor to the Saints Row series.
It’s always disappointing news to hear of so many losing their jobs, though this doesn’t come as much of a surprise given the mediocre critical reception of Agents of Mayhem. Our own review points out that Volition failed to make the open-world engaging–a genre they typically excel at–instead making Seoul an empty shell that wasn’t a captivating playground. The game also lacked polish, frequently dropping frames and requiring hard resets.
Finally, there were a number of bugs that cropped up during my 20 hours playing (which included completing every available mission in the game). These ranged from voice lines repeating over and over again, to some extremely odd visual glitches, and even three or four progression halting ones which required me to exit and restart the application to resolve them and continue moving forward. I also noted a number of times when the game would start chugging when there was even a moderate amount of action on screen, more than once causing the death of one of my agents.
There’s a lot to love in Agents of Mayhem, which makes the pitfalls harder to swallow. An imaginative story and cast of characters is burdened by an uninspired and soulless open-world. Exciting character combat gets pushed out of the limelight by notable slowdown and other bugs that inhibit gameplay. In a day where open-world games are evolving and giving players a lot more depth, meaning, and life, Agents of Mayhem feels like a step backwards. Volition ought to consider either abandoning or stepping up the open-world if they decide to continue the franchise.
PlayStation LifeStyle wishes the best to those that lost their jobs and hopes they can all land on their feet with another company. As of right now, there has been no official response to Kotaku’s report. We’ll keep you updated if there is any official word from either Deep Silver or Volition on the matter.