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The CEO of Larian Studios and the director of Baldur’s Gate 3 Swen Vincke has often criticized the recent wave of layoffs in the game industry. He took a swipe at publishers while receiving the Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA) Best Narrative award for Baldur’s Gate 3.

Larian Studios Boss Suggests Publisher Greed Behind Mass Layoffs In Video Game Industry

“Greed has been f**king this whole thing up for so long, since I started,” the Larian Studios boss said. “I’ve been fighting publishers my entire life and I keep on seeing the same, same, same mistakes over, and over and over.”

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The GDCA and the Independent Games Festival Awards are part of the Game Developer’s Conference held in San Francisco. Both events criticized companies that have made workers redundant since last year which has seen job security in the game industry plummet.

“It’s always the quarterly profits,” the Larian boss continued, “the only thing that matters are the numbers, and then you fire everybody and then next year you say ‘shit I’m out of developers’ and then you start hiring people again, and then you do acquisitions, and then you put them in the same loop again, and it’s just broken…”

Larian Studios Boss Suggests Publisher Greed Behind Mass Layoffs In Video Game Industry

“You don’t have to. You can make reserves. Just slow down a bit. Slow down on the greed. Be resilient, take care of the people, don’t lose the institutional knowledge that’s been built up in the people you lose every single time, so you have to go through the same cycle over and over and over. It really pisses me off.”

The Larian Studios boss is not the only one who criticized the layoffs in the industry

Other studio heads including the GDCA host Alanah Pearce all spoke against the layoffs in the game industry. Pearce currently works at Sony Santa Monica studio, the PlayStation first-party studio best known for the God of War franchise.

Larian Studios Boss Suggests Publisher Greed Behind Mass Layoffs In Video Game Industry

Alanah Pearce

“People in this room have lost their jobs,” Pearce noted. “People who normally attend GDC every year have had to cancel because coming here is sort of an extravagant luxury when you don’t know when your next paycheque is coming.”

“We’ve lost people with years of experience who have worked hard to make some of the games nominated tonight, but more importantly, we’ve watched our friends get laid off, we’ve seen how that impacts their families, their children.”

During her speech, Pearce took a swipe at Geoff Keighley’s 2023 The Game Awards by displaying a “Please Wrap it Up” message on screen as her speech continued. The Game Awards was criticized for not giving developers time to express themselves.

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While the Larian Studios team was on stage to collect their award for the Game of the Year win, a teleprompter with the message “Wrap it up” was displayed on the screen. What made it more painful was that the message came while the Larian team was paying tribute to their departed colleague.

The chairperson of the Independent Game Festival, Shawn Pierre, also spoke against the layoffs in the game industry. While introducing the awards evening, Pierre said developers are not treated with the respect they deserve.

“We’ve already seen thousands of people losing work this year because they’re not being valued the way they should be,” Pierre said. “People are working overtime and on weekends only to be left behind when a game is completed. It’s unhealthy, it’s certainly not sustainable, and the end result of this is a weaker game industry for all of us.”

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Xalavier Nelson Jr., the studio head of Hypnospace Outlaw and developer of Strange Scaffold, who presented the Best Narrative award to the Larian boss also commented on the layoffs.

“This past year, unfortunately, the most common narrative brought to us by the games industry is that making fantastic games requires layoffs and the destruction of human lives,” said Nelson Jr. “This story is not only cruel, but it is definitively and provably false.”

Around 10,000 workers in the video game industry were laid off last year. Over 7,000 have been laid off in the first three months of this year—and there is no sign that the finish line has been crossed.

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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