I’ve now written about industry layoffs no less than three times today. Between Relic Entertainment, Brace Yourself Games, and now Deck Nine Games, three studios have been affected by redundancies this week.
The developer behind Life is Strange: True Colors and The Expanse: A Telltale Series has been hit with a round of staff layoffs. The news was made live on the Friday before the long weekend, but it wasn’t until today that I heard the news.
“Today, many of my brilliant, kind, and talented coworkers at Deck Nine were laid off, and my heart is breaking for them. If your game studio is recruiting, please keep an eye out for D9 folks; you won’t regret it,” says Elizabeth Ballou. She then went out to elaborate on her tweet, indicating that managers and team leads sacrificed their jobs so that their jobs would be safe.
To elaborate. The leads on my team were given swords and chose to fall on them, laying themselves off instead of choosing among the rest of us.
I've never seen anyone in games do something that metal and I hope I never have to again. https://t.co/IbKKppNr3O
— elizabeth ballou (@lizbetballou) May 20, 2023
Confirming the layoffs is an outgoing team member, saying she “stepped away voluntarily.”
to be clear because some folks have expressed confusion privately: yes, there were layoffs today at deck nine. yes, i stepped away voluntarily. a lead's first responsibility is to their team, and that was the best way to keep most of my ppl clear of the layoff wave
— cringey ikari (@autogynosaur_jr) May 20, 2023
The former narrative lead confirmed the news, saying she voluntarily decided to part ways with Deck Nine Games. “A lead’s first responsibility is to their team, and that was the best way to keep most of my [people] clear of the layoff wave,” she said.
In a note to Game Developer, Deck Nine confirmed they were “forced to lay off thirty amazing people.” While the developer confirmed the news, it also provided no reason for the layoffs and that those affected were “talented people who did nothing wrong.”
“We wish them the very best in their careers and would love to work with them again.”