Update: Activision reached out to us with a statement on the reports of layoffs at Toys For Bob saying that they are “incorrect” and that the team is fully operational and are actually hiring for various positions.
Reports of layoffs at Toys For Bob are incorrect. There has not been a reduction in personnel recently at the studio. The development team is operating fully and has a number of full-time job openings at this time. The studio is excited to continue supporting Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, and more recently provide additional development support to Call of Duty: Warzone.
Original: Yesterday brought the news that Crash Bandicoot 4 developer Toys For Bob had transitioned to working on Call of Duty: Warzone. Many developers who worked at the studio have now been laid off as a result of that change. It seems like Toys For Bob aren’t the only studio drafted in for support either as VGC reporter Andy Robinson claims “virtually every studio at Activision” is now involved in the development of the Call of Duty franchise.
I was recently told that virtually every studio at Activision is now working on Call of Duty. https://t.co/Y5TTLwGuqc
— Andy Robinson (@AndyPlaytonic) April 30, 2021
Robinson didn’t specify which game(s) the studios have been brought in to help develop, but glancing at the opening roll for any recent Call of Duty game usually lists nearly every studio already. Development of the newest Call of Duty title, WWII Vanguard, is supposedly a disaster, and it seems like publisher Activision is trying to summon as much help as possible to get the title through the gate while also supporting the strict deadlines and ongoing development that each game demands, particularly Warzone. WWII Vanguard is supposed to be a cross-gen release, although this is reportedly holding the game back too. There are even rumors that the game is in such dire condition that Activision would consider delaying it for the release of Modern Warfare 2 Remastered instead. As WWII Vanguard is not likely to be properly revealed until late summer, there’s still plenty of time to make a decision on how they’ll proceed with the franchise.
On the other hand, the success of Call of Duty: Warzone has taken Activision by surprise—the game surpassed 100 million players in just over a year. Season Three has just begun and the game shows no signs of slowing down. Toys for Bob is the one developer we do know has been brought in to help develop this title but that has come at a cost to the team. Nicholas Kole, who worked on Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time and Spyro Reignited Trilogy, has stated this is the only thing the developer is now working on and “everyone I interfaced with and worked along[side] was let go” as a result. Other developers have confirmed the news on Twitter, sharing their own departures from the studio.
Despite the news of the layoffs and change in direction, Activision has released a statement to GamesRadar that “Toys for Bob remains the lead developer on Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time and is dedicated to delivering engaging game play experiences for fans now and in the future.” This carefully worded statement only explicitly mentions Crash 4, however, so it may just be referring to ongoing bug fixes and optimization support, rather than anything new. Whether we’ll ever see more content for that game or a new original title from Toys For Bob remains to be seen.