A large portion of Playful Studios’ full-time staff has been let go. The developer stated that the reason behind this is because of “continued changes in the global video game marketplace.” It goes on to say that the studio is going to be changing how it develops its games, with focus on “a more streamlined production model based on distributed game development and dynamic, project-based teams.” The unfortunate result of such a decision is that a large portion of the full-time staff has been let go, effective immediately.
The press release from Playful doesn’t specify how many members of the staff were let go, nor how many currently work at Playful. The release does say “we will be working closely with each person affected by this transition to help them move forward,” but gives no details on what steps Playful will be taking to do so. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford replied to Playful on Twitter noting that Gearbox was hiring—and many developers often open their doors in times of studio layoffs in the industry—so anyone let go will have potential options available.
Playful is mostly known for the Lucky’s Tale series, which was one of the first launch games for the Oculus Rift, later made into a non-VR platformer in its two sequels Super Lucky’s Tale and New Super Lucky’s Tale. Playful also made free-to-play sandbox survival game Creativerse. The studio is currently working on Star Child, a PlayStation VR cinematic platformer that was announced during Sony’s E3 2017 show. At the end of 2018 Playful canceled all pre-orders for Star Child. At the time, it claimed that the game was still in development and that the internal release date had changed, which triggered the canceled pre-orders. There’s no current word on how this layoff will affect the continued development of Star Child.