GameBaba Universe

Layoffs have happened at the indie game studio Airship Syndicate. The Wayfinder maker parted ways with around 12 employees on the last day of January. A spokesperson for the company said the layoffs were necessary for the survival of the studio’s plans.

Airship Syndicate Has Laid Off Around 12 People, Slash Executives’ Pay

“This decision was made to ensure that Airship Syndicate can continue to operate and deliver great experiences,” said the spokesperson for the studio in a statement sent to Kotaku. “In addition to reducing staff, Ryan Stefanelli, president, and Joe Madureira, CEO, will be reducing their pay while we work to secure our future plans.”

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Austin, Texas-based Airship Syndicate was founded in 2014 by four former employees of Vigil Games including Stefanelli and Madureira. Three years after being founded, the studio shipped its first game titled Battle Chasers: Nightwar in 2017. Two years later, they published Darksiders Genesis.

Airship Syndicate was later contracted by Riot Games via Riot Forge to make additional games in the League of Legends universe. Consequently, Ruined King: A League of Legends Story was born in 2021. Airship Syndicate has distinguished itself in DnD-style games and MMORPG. Their latest game Wayfinder released in August 2023 in partnership with Digital Extremes had mixed reviews.

Airship Syndicate Has Laid Off Around 12 People, Slash Executives’ Pay

“Become a Wayfinder and unlock their powers as you choose your path and playstyle while pushing back a hostile force that has overtaken your world,” read the game’s blurb. “Control the Chaos as you directly shape and customize the endless adventures you go on with friends because Wayfinders are stronger together.”

Airship Syndicate informed Kotaku that regardless of the challenging nature of the layoffs, the studio will continue to put work into Wayfinder and will be “talking more about our future soon”. Interestingly, GameBaba Universe checked the company’s career page and discovered that General Application was still being accepted—notwithstanding the layoffs.

Ex-Airship Syndicate employee was not shocked by the layoff

In most instances, employees rarely foresee layoffs. It just drops like a tornado and sweeps them away. However, that may not be the case with Airship Syndicate. At least one former employee said he was not shocked suggesting that the company may be in a bigger financial crisis.

Airship Syndicate Has Laid Off Around 12 People, Slash Executives’ Pay

“Well, it’s happened to me now,” wrote UX designer Joshua Bowlby. If you haven’t heard yet, Airship Syndicate had some layoffs today. I was one of the few that were let go. I know it wasn’t an easy decision but given the circumstances, it wasn’t a total shock.

“I am so proud of the company and what we have put together and the team behind it. I have learned so much about being a game dev by this team. I know this decision wasn’t easy for anyone to make and that was apparent by the way they did it. I still felt cared for till the end.”

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Level designer Jason Lepanen was also affected by the layoff. Inasmuch as Lepanen admitted that it was not a pleasant experience, he was grateful for the time he spent at the studio. “You don’t often get the chance to work with so many friends at once. I am happy to have done so no matter the tenure  – short or long,” he wrote.

“Airship Syndicate had some layoffs today, and unfortunately, I was one of those affected,” wrote producer and voice actor Pranshu Mishra. “I have nothing but love for the team, and I know that while I had to leave today, the future will still be bright for the Airship.

Airship Syndicate said their next project will be “a character-focused, free-to-play action game”. According to them, the project is “the culmination of our decades of experience”. Hopefully, the uncertainty in the studio will not hinder the project from coming to fruition.