A wave of layoffs seemingly swept across Sony Interactive Entertainment and PlayStation Studios, as recent online posts by the company's staff suggest. The extent of the job culling remains unclear, as Sony has yet to comment on the matter officially. Reports indicate the layoffs implicating the PlayStation's Visual Arts studio based in San Diego, which lends support to major developers like The Last of Us creators Naughty Dog and Insomniac, the minds behind Spider-Man 2.
Daniel Bellemare, a senior level designer with credits on Assassin's Creed Valhalla, revealed the unsettling news through a LinkedIn update. "Unfortunately, following a wave of layoffs last week was my last at PlayStation," he wrote. Having joined PlayStation just five months prior in May 2023, Bellemare had been working on a combat-intensive, yet "unannounced project." He emphasizes that his dismissal was not related to his performance but an unfortunate outcome of the layoffs.
Adding to the layoff reports was Matt Barney, a Senior Technical Recruiter. Known for his work with teams like San Diego Studio, Valkyrie Entertainment, and UK's XDEV, Barney partook in a frank, yet heavy-hearted social media farewell. "For the past few months, I knew this layoff wave was coming," he confessed, despite loving PlayStation and choosing to stay despite opportunities to leave.
Amid these revelations is the confirmation of Sean Teo's contract termination with Visual Studios. The character rigging artist, who had worked on The Last of Us: Part 1, completed his contract in September. Although unclear if his contract's end links directly to the layoff wave, his departure adds to the growing pool of talent leaving the PlayStation studios.
This year has been particularly harsh for game developers, with significant job losses echoing across the industry. Multiple high-profile companies have recently declared mass layoffs, including gaming giants like Epic, Microsoft, CD Projekt, BioWare, and Creative Assembly. The Embracer Group, in particular, has drawn attention for its ruthless downsizing, notably laying off staff at Saints Row and Freespace developer, Volition, in August.
While the wave of PlayStation layoffs stirs concern, the full implications remain obscured as Sony keeps silent. The well-being of the affected staff is of utmost concern. Layoffs not only disrupt ongoing projects of high anticipation but also highlight the gaming industry's alarming lack of job security. As we await more information, our thoughts remain with those affected by the industry's turbulent job landscape.
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