The high-profile impending closure of Telltale Games has sparked a conversation about development practices within the video games industry, and their impact on employees. However, Telltale wasn’t the first or the only casualty in the past twelve months.
It’s no secret that the industry suffers from a lack of job security. Often, companies will “restructure” and lay off a significant proportion of their staff after projects are completed. In other words, a high number of layoffs are almost regular business. What’s worse is that it isn’t unheard of for developers to be in the dark about their employment status (Telltale showed everyone the door after handing them their final payment). Decisions made at the top affect those at the bottom of the chain the most.
It therefore comes as little surprise that when PC Gamer compiled redundancies and closures that occurred over the last year, the results were damning.
Well over 1,000 jobs were lost in one year, going by publicly available data. Games Industry points out that a lot of companies did not release a headcount so the actual figure is much higher.
A total of ten studios closed doors for good. Closures include:
- Visceral Games (Dead Space, Battlefield Hardline, and more) – at least 80 employees
- Telltale Games (The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and more) – 275 employees
- Boss Key Productions (LawBreakers) – approximately 60 employees
- Wargaming Seattle (Dungeon Siege) – approximately 150 employees
- Capcom Vancouver (Dead Rising) – 158 employees
- Gazillion Entertainment (Marvel Heroes) – approximately 200 employees
Harmonix (Rock Band), Hangar 13 (Mafia III), Volition (Agents of Mayhem), and Robot Entertainment (Orcs Must Die!) are among many developers who suffered layoffs.
We sincerely hope that things will improve going forward.