This year has not been kind to the game development industry, with many studios facing layoffs. The list is long, but major studios such as 343, SEGA, CD Projekt Red, Firaxis, Riot, Take-Two, EA, and Ubisoft have been affected, along with many indie studios. While this does not necessarily mean that the industry is declining, it can actually be detrimental to existing projects.
Another studio that is reportedly being added to this list is Naughty Dog, the developers behind Uncharted and The Last of Us. According to Kotaku’s sources, Naughty Dog is laying off its employees short of their contract periods. However, the staff has been told to keep the news under wraps till the end of this month when their contract is terminated officially.
Sources tell Kotaku that no severance is being offered for those currently laid off, and that impacted developers as well as remaining employees are being pressured to keep the news quiet. Their contracts won’t be officially terminated until the end of October and they’ll be expected to work through the rest of the month.via Kotaku
As a result of this, ~25 employees were affected, not including the full-time staff, which still remains at 400. However, the worst aspect of this news is how The Last of Us’ rumored multiplayer mode, Factions might not see the light of the day due to the downsizing. Although the layoffs do tend to disturb ongoing projects, the reasoning for this particular scenario is partially different.
Last year, the project was positioned to be as big as a standalone multiplayer game, not just a game mode. Naughty Dog even citied it as the “most ambitious project the studio has ever taken.” But in June, it was reported that an internal review by Bungie prompted Sony to pull resources away from the project, the future of which is now “basically on ice.”
Nothing has been said officially, but the future for the project doesn’t seem that all too bright. With that said, we will make sure to keep you updated on all developments as new information becomes available.