One of the biggest blows in gaming came when Telltale Games had to shutter its doors abruptly, leaving The Walking Dead: The Final Season hanging in the balance after completing just two of the four episodes. Daybreak Game Company isn’t quite in the same position yet, but after some major layoffs it doesn’t look good for the outfit.
Gamasutra is reporting that a number of positions across several departments have been axed. Daybreak confirmed the layoffs in a statement to Gamasutra, but — as noted in the article — there were no details given on just how many people were laid off from their work.
The closest number for the headcount that was culled from the employment pool at the video game development outfit sits around 70, which is fairly significant. That number actually comes from the former president of the Daybreak Game Company, John Smedley. He had made a couple of tweets regarding the matter, but the tweets now seem to be deleted, possibly due that information not being vetted for disclosure?
The number John Smedley rolled out seems very likely, though, given that he ran the company since before it was Daybreak and was a first-party studio for Sony under the banner of Sony Online Entertainment, where it made various online games for PC and PlayStation platforms, such as DC Universe Online and Everquest.
The e-mail to Gamasutra, however, notes that the layoffs were to “optimize” the company’s structure and better position Daybreak for “years to come.” It’s supposedly looking to improve effiency and “realign resources” for future titles.
The article also points out that this isn’t the first time Daybreak was hit with layoffs. The company previously axed some of its staff back in April of this year shortly after the Battle Royale version of H1Z1 graduated from Early Access.
Periodic layoffs with no massive hiring shifts or big announcements usually isn’t a very good sign, as we’ve seen a similar pattern from other studios that eventually closed up shop — such as Telltale Games.
The big difference, however, is that Telltale actually did have a few notable announcements before closing up shop. The first was the second season for The Wolf Among Us, which was a highly anticipated project that the community was looking forward to. There was also a Stranger Things game that was supposed to be in the works after Telltale managed to strike a deal with Netflix. But after Telltale announced the shutdown the deal fell through.
Now it’s completely possible that Daybreak may recover from the slump with a strong investor and a noteworthy game pushed down the pipeline. Then again, Boss Key Productions also attempted recovery with Radical Heights after LawBreakers failed to catch the attention of audiences, but it wasn’t enough to keep the studio afloat.
Let’s hope there’s a better omen in Daybreak’s future than the fate that befell Telltale.