Dead Island 2, Saints Row Publisher Confirms Massive Layoffs In 2023

For a while now, we've heard several reports and rumours about unfortunate closures at some of Embracer Group's development studios, and a new financial update from the gaming giant has laid bare the scale of these cutbacks.

In an official statement from the group, it's been confirmed that around 900 employees have been laid off across various studios - amounting to roughly 5% of its overall workforce. Embracer currently runs lots of dev teams across the globe, including Tomb Raider and Marvel's Avengers team Crystal Dynamics, Dead Island 2's Dambuster Studios and many more. Here's an important chunk of the team's statement:

"As of September 30, 2023, the restructuring program contributed to Embracer’s first ever quarter-over-quarter reduction in headcount of around 900 people, or 5 % of the workforce. In this group-wide effort, we are not only discontinuing a number of studios, we have also made staff reductions and reduced the number of projects in several other studios, with a focus on improving the projected return on investment within PC/Console.

It’s never easy to part ways with talented individuals. I would like to put on record a special thanks to the people who have left Embracer in the quarter. These are difficult decisions and we do not take them lightly. For me, personally, it is crucial that the program is carried out with compassion, respect, and integrity."

This has been an ongoing process throughout 2023, and we already had confirmation of some of the casualties earlier this year. Saints Row developer Volition was completely closed a few months ago after its undercooked reboot failed to deliver - the team itself confirmed the news on LinkedIn at the time.

As for where the other layoffs lie, things are a bit more up in the air. Alongside today's official update we've seen reports that Crystal Dynamics has lost 10% of its workforce, and earlier this month we heard that TimeSplitters dev Free Radical was at risk of closure much like Volition - but neither has been officially confirmed at the time of writing. That same report on Crystal Dynamics does mention that Dead Island 2 and Payday 3 are faring much better though, so it's not all bad news for the games and teams over at Embracer.

Either way, we wish all of the developers involved in these layoffs the absolute best - and we hope there isn't any further upheaval to come from Embracer Group and its many, many dev teams.

What do you make of all this? Sad to see the confirmed loss of Volition? Tell us your thoughts down below.