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Another PlayStation Studio, Media Molecule, Hit By Layoff. 20 Employees Impacted

Another PlayStation Studio, Media Molecule, Hit By Layoff. 20 Employees Impacted

Last week, we reported that PlayStation’s Visual Arts was hit by layoffs. It seemed like an isolated event at that time. However, it is becoming clear that the sweeping job cut may spread to other PlayStation studios. The next PlayStation studio to feel the pinch is Media Molecule.

Based in Guildford, Surrey, Media Molecule is a British video game maker. It was founded in 2006 but was acquired four years after by Sony Computer Entertainment (now Sony Interactive Entertainment) and has become part of the SIE Worldwide Studios.

Media Molecule is best known for bringing Dreams and LittleBigPlanet to gamers. According to multiple sources, the studio management plans to cut employee headcount from 135 to 115. The employees have already been informed about the decision.

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The first LittleBigPlanet game was released in 2008 on PlayStation 3, two years before the studio was acquired by Sony. Media Molecule’s latest game is Dreams. It was released on PlayStation 4 in 2020.

The studio founders, Kareem Ettouney, David Smith, Alex Evans, and Mark Healey, were all former developers at the now-defunct Lionhead. Healey left the studio in April this year. It is believed that part of the reason for the layoffs was the studio’s shift to “an exciting new project”. However, the studio did not spill details about the new project nor give a timeline for its release.

“Media Molecule is working on a new project,” the company revealed in April. “We are not ready to talk about this yet, we can confirm that it is not Dreams 2, or the Dreams IP.”

Media Molecule is the fourth PlayStation studio to be hit by layoff. PixelOpus was shuttered in May. Earlier this month, Naughty Dog laid off dozens of contract staff. Just last week, PlayStation’s Visual Arts also cut roles.

Media Molecule confirmed the layoff in a tweet

After the news went viral, several news outlets reached out to Media Molecule for comments. Rather than addressing them individually, the company put out a tweet to confirm the layoff. According to the message shared on October 24, the company admitted to making “significant strategic changes during the past year,” especially taking on a new IP.

“We have had to make the difficult decision to begin the consultation process for team members within certain departments of the studio,” read part of the message. “This is a tough moment for the individuals impacted and the studio overall.”

The company promised to support those impacted by the layoff, taking a moment to reminisce on the important role they have played in the company. Although IGN reported that live support for Dreams ended last month and that there will be no further update for the game, the company had something a little different to say.

“We will continue to support the Dreams Community for the foreseeable future and will update on future plans at a later date,” the company said in a statement.

This year has seen a long list of layoffs and studio shutdowns in what appears to be a major shakeup in the gaming industry. From the shutdown of Volition to the massive layoffs by CD Projekt Red, there has been a growing call for unionization in the gaming industry.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies went on a hiring spree to cope with the transition to remote work. That period was also characterized by an increase in spending by people confined to their homes and looking for entertainment. A combination of lower spending and inflation has made layoffs almost inevitable as most companies face soaring production and running costs.

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