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Deliver Us Mars was one of the stunning releases of 2023. The studio behind the great work was KeokeN Interactive. Sadly, some of those who participated in the creation of that stunning game have been let go by the studio. At least four persons were laid off according to the official announcement from the company’s CEO Koen Deetman and managing director Paul Deetman.

Deliver Us Mars Developer KeokeN Interactive Hit By Layoffs. 4 Persons Affected

 

“Sadly, we’ve had to lay off 4 of our core team of 19 this month,” the studio’s official announcement. “This was decided after Paul and I as management already took significant pay cuts, even to the extent of not taking any salary at all the past few months.”

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In the recent past, layoffs in the video game industry have been blamed on corporate greed. However, it is refreshing to see that some executives are now making sacrifices rather than just shifting the bulk of the burden to the employees—especially those who already earn the least in the company.

 

 

“As leaders, when you are blessed to decide, plan, or do things from the company’s top, you are also burdened with taking the first hit when things get tough,” the message continued. “At least, that’s what Paul and I have always naturally drifted towards in rough waters. We try to protect the team as long as humanly possible. That is our most important responsibility.”

Deliver Us Mars Developer KeokeN Interactive Hit By Layoffs. 4 Persons Affected

The four roles affected cut across animation, 3D art, game design, and game narrative. At the end of the announcement, the execs said, “We’re fighters and we fight every day to make sure this doesn’t have to happen again”.

KeokeN Interactive celebrated 10 years last year

Deliver Us Mars Developer KeokeN Interactive Hit By Layoffs. 4 Persons Affected

Founded in 2013, KeokeN Interactive has its headquarters in Hoofddorp, Noord-Holland. The studio has a passion for creating “engaging and immersive experiences and believable game worlds”. Their first project was Deliver Us the Moon which was released in 2019.

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Deliver Us the Moon is an adventure-puzzle sci-fi thriller set in an apocalyptic near future where Earth’s natural resources are depleted. Consequently, you are sent to the moon as a lone astronaut to explore the possibility of life there and save humanity from extinction. It was one of the first indie titles to support GeForce RTX real-time ray tracing.

The game has very positive reviews on Steam. At the time of writing, it had garnered 5,554 reviews and 88% of them were very positive. On Metacritic, the reviews were generally favorable. The game’s best average score was 77 on PS4. The number dropped to 76 on Xbox One, 71 on PS5, and 68 on PC.

Deliver Us Mars Developer KeokeN Interactive Hit By Layoffs. 4 Persons Affected

“At KeokeN Interactive we believe that the possibilities of games are limitless, only bound by one’s own creativity,” the company wrote in the About section of their page on LinkedIn. “We aim to create more than just games, we create experiences players won’t forget, and stories relevant to challenges of our society today.”

KeokeN Interactive followed up that masterpiece with the release of Deliver Us Mars in 2023. The atmospheric sci-fi adventure takes players on a suspense-fuelled, high-stakes mission to recover the ARK colony ships stolen by the mysterious Outward.

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KeokeN Interactive recently added photo mode to Deliver Us Mars and players have taken pleasure in capturing the desolation of Mars. Last month, Deliver Us Mars was nominated by the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers in the Best Lead Performance in a Drama. Ellise Chappell played the role of Kathy Johanson in the game.

Deliver Us Mars Developer KeokeN Interactive Hit By Layoffs. 4 Persons Affected

At least one person has made a post about the layoffs in KeokeN Interactive

Although four people were impacted by the decision made by KeokeN Interactive executives, only 3D animator Daphne Zwarts appears to have publicly spoken about it. Her post came almost a month before the official layoff announcement suggesting the affected employees must have been informed ahead of time.

Deliver Us Mars Developer KeokeN Interactive Hit By Layoffs. 4 Persons Affected

“At the end of February, I will leave my position as an animator at KeokeN Interactive in search of new challenges and opportunities!” the animator wrote at the beginning of February. “About two and a half years ago I joined the wonderful team at KeokeN Interactive where I got to work on my first big title: ‘Deliver Us Mars’. The past few years have been an incredible journey, where I grew as an animator while working on a wide range of tasks.”

Zwarts went on to thank the studio and some of her ex-colleagues for the opportunity and for everything she had learned since joining the studio two and a half years ago. It is hard to tell when the wave of layoffs in the video industry will end—and hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long.


Anthony Emecheta

Anthony Emecheta has over a decade experience as a freelance writer. Gaming has always been a childhood hobby and he is excited to be collaborating with a gaming company as a content creator. It is like having all the things he loves in one place.

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