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We just entered a new month but old problems in the game industry persist. This time, it is employees of Radical Forge who are counting their losses. The Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire studio has made some cuts to its workforce which it blames on restructuring.

Radical Forge, Sea Of Thieves Co-Developer Hit By Layoffs, “A handful Affected”

Founded in 2017 by Freddie Babord and Bruce Slater, Radical Forge promotes itself as “a studio where triple-A quality and ambition didn’t need to be separated from values of kindness, creativity, playfulness, and authenticity”. The official announcement of the layoffs was posted by the company on March 1, 2024.

“We have announced some restructuring at Radical Forge to continue operating in the current challenging market,” the studio said. “This will mean that there will be a handful of people whose roles or skill sets are no longer needed on current or upcoming projects, and their contracts will end earlier than anticipated. These actions will not affect the delivery of any existing projects.”

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“This situation is heartbreaking for all involved. We are a very close-knit company and proud of the people-focused culture we have created. We will do everything we can to ease the situation of anyone affected and help them find alternative roles.”

Radical Forge, Sea Of Thieves Co-Developer Hit By Layoffs, “A handful Affected”

Radical Forge has been part of the development of high-profile titles including Sea of Thieves, Gang Beasts, and Zombie Army 4. Last week it was revealed that Zombie Army will continue with Zombie Army VR this year.

While Radical Forge has worked on third-party projects, they have their proprietary IPs which include Bright Paw (a cat-themed puzzler) and Southfield (an early-access sandbox casual farming simulation game). The studio is set to self-publish the latter which was funded by the Private Division development fund.

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Radical Forge’s LinkedIn profile says the company has 51-200 employees (the actual number may be just above 70 according to the About section of the company’s profile). Although the company did not mention the number of employees affected by the layoffs, a post from former junior tech game designer Louis Escudié suggested that the decision impacted 6 people.

Impacted Radical Forge’s ex-employees have spoken up

Radical Forge, Sea Of Thieves Co-Developer Hit By Layoffs, “A handful Affected”

Southfield

On LinkedIn, Escudié only mentioned that he was laid off and solicited the support of his connections in landing new game design roles. However, his X post was more revealing including thanking his co-workers and the Independent Workers union (IWGB) which recently criticized Rockstar for mandating staff to return to the office.

“Unfortunately, I was affected by the restructuring going on at Radical Forge,” wrote concept artist Bailey Imerson. “I truly had an amazing time at Radical Forge, and I’ll be forever grateful for the team I worked with, I’m now looking for a new role and would appreciate your support in finding any concept artist roles.

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Unlike in some cases, posts from Radical Forge’s ex-employees rarely brooded the loss. Instead, they focused on marketing their skills. The studio’s former senior tools programmer Anthony M was ready to explore opportunities outside of gaming.

Radical Forge, Sea Of Thieves Co-Developer Hit By Layoffs, “A handful Affected”

Zombie Army 4

“I have a strong C# programming background and much experience with ASP.NET Core and Blazor, so I could also explore some positions outside of Games Development and in Software,” Anthony wrote.

“Hey everyone – tragic news today as I was one of those affected by the restructuring at Radical Forge and because of this I am now open and looking for work,” wrote junior 3D artist Caolum McDonald. “I am a 3D artist with experience in 3DSMax, Maya, Blender, Substance Painter, designing and working Inside UE4/5 and Unity.”

It was estimated that over 10,000 jobs were lost in the game industry last year. After the first two months of 2024, over 7,000 have been lost already. At this rate, 2024 job losses will likely double that of 2023.


Emecheta Christian

Emecheta Christian is an avid gamer with over 5 years in the industry. He is also a poet. It is therefore not surprising that his post sometimes read like poetry.

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