H1Z1 and PlanetSide 2 developer Daybreak Game Company has suffered layoffs just days after it was reported that the company has links to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, whose assets the United States government froze earlier this week. Daybreak has denied the claims.
Vekselberg owns Renova Group, which is a subsidiary of Columbus Nova – a company that we’ve known as the owner of Daybreak. The studio denying any link to Columbus Nova is particularly surprising because former president John Smedley specifically mentioned the company in a press release in 2015. Additionally, screenshots taken from Daybreak’s website show references to Columbus Nova as well.
Daybreak offered the following explanation in a statement:
It was current executive chairman Jason Epstein, former senior managing partner of Columbus Nova that acquired Daybreak, not Columbus Nova itself. That distinction was never corrected in the past, so we are correcting that now.
Fast-forward to Thursday, when Daybreak confirmed to Gamasutra that it has laid off some staff members as part of internal restructuring.
Daybreak confirms we are realigning our workforce to better position our company for the future. Because of this, we have had to make an extremely difficult decision to part ways with some of our employees across various disciplines at the studio. We are doing everything we can to take care of each affected individual by providing them appropriate transition assistance.
Speculation now suggests that the two developments are related. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen.
H1Z1 is set to enter open beta on PlayStation 4 on May 22.