Months before the weak launch of The Lamplighters League, Paradox Interactive laid off several staff at Harebrained Schemes, the studio behind the brilliant Shadowrun and Battletech games.
While some layoffs in the industry are due unsustainable hiring practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, the commercial failure of expensive projects is also resulting in issues. While lavishly produced games like Baldur's Gate 3 have risen to massive popularity, others like Harebrained Schemes’ recently released 'The Lamplighters League' have delivered losses of roughly £18 million / $22 million.
In a recent press release, Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester claimed that sales of The Lamplighter’s League were a "big disappointment" for the publisher. However, the publisher also started layoffs at the Battletech studio months before release, predicting an unsatisfactory
The press release went on to say that "game projects are by their nature always risky" and endeavoured that the company would "roll up our sleeves and do better." We'll have to wait and see if this desire to 'do better' extends to doing better by the livelihoods of their employees. One thing is for sure - investors will be keeping a close eye on Fredrik going forward.
There is hope that the industry's layoffs will lead to the creation of new studios and that everyone affected can land on their feet. Other studios and publishers have been feeling the heat, though - in recent months, Epic Games has removed almost 900 staff from its workforce. Further, contractors were let go from Naughty Dog and several employees lost their positions at Bioware.
Even beyond the games industry, however, there have been a myriad of layoffs in the tech sector. Giants like Amazon have fired numerous employees, and Meta has been trying to patch its wounds after firing 11,000 people last year.