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Whether it is a thousand, a hundred, or less than ten, every layoff is one too many! On Thursday, January 18, 2024, an unspecified number of employees were laid off from 31st Union, a 2K Games-owned studio. The layoff was later confirmed by 2K through a statement sent to Kotaku. In the statement, 2K said the layoff was part of “ongoing efforts to best support our studio and games”.

2K Games’ 31st Union Laid Off “A Very Small Number” Of Staff

“Today 31st Union parted ways with a very small number of team members,” read the statement. “These situations are never easy, but we’re confident in the trajectory of 31st Union. The studio is continuing to actively recruit for key roles and to grow in other ways in the year ahead.”

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At the time of writing this post, it wasn’t immediately clear the exact number of employees whose roles were made redundant. Also, it was hard to tell if the layoff affected a particular department or was a company-wide affair.

Since it was founded in 2019 by Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey, 31st Union is yet to ship a debut game. The studio was initially called 2K Silicon Valley but was later rebranded in 2020 as 31st Union.

2K Games’ 31st Union Laid Off “A Very Small Number” Of Staff

Dead Space

Condrey helped to create the Dead Space series at EA before he co-founded Sledgehammer Games in 2009. 31st Union has studios in Spain and California. During the ribbon cutting for the Spain studio, 31st Union said it hopes to expand internationally and confirmed that the entire team was working on a single IP.

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The mysterious IP remains unannounced. Last year, the studio said it had hit a “momentous” milestone following the transfer of its teams to a new California office.

Former 31st Union employees have updated their profiles

Unlike the layoffs last year, we are yet to spot bad feelings between studios and laid-off employees this year, notwithstanding that several studios have announced layoffs. On LinkedIn, we spotted two former 31st Union employees who updated their profiles to show that they were in search of new roles.

One of them was Russell Perkins who worked as a lead multimedia specialist at 31st Union. Ironically, Perkins made a post three days before he was laid off to celebrate his fourth year in the studio.

2K Games’ 31st Union Laid Off “A Very Small Number” Of Staff

“Hi everyone – my journey with 31st Union has unexpectedly come to an end,” Perkins wrote. “I am looking for a new role and would appreciate your support. Thank you in advance for any connections, advice, or opportunities you can offer”.

Another former employee who publicly wrote about the layoff was Jason Swan. “My time at 31st Union [has] come to an end, so I’m back on the market,” Swan wrote. “My background is primarily in UI Tech Design, but I’m open to discussing other opportunities as well.”

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Last year was one of the toughest for video game workers. It was estimated that over 10,000 jobs were cut across different studios in the industry. Although many thought things would change this year, that has not been the case.

Kotaku has been keeping count of the number of layoffs in the industry since the start of this year and has reported over 3,400 in the first 19 days of the year. If the layoffs continue at this rate, it may double or triple the number of layoffs last year.

Several factors have been blamed for the layoffs including corporate greed, management decision errors, the rise of generative AI tools, and corporate greed. We fear more layoffs hang on the horizon as more video game studios publicly adopt more AI tools.


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