The history of Swedish publisher/developer Starbreeze and their continued floundering attempts to stay afloat are long and complicated. The troubles go back far before where we find ourselves today though. As the company sees millions of dollars in failed investments and projects going out the door, with the most notable of these being the maligned Overkill’s The Walking Dead, the company likely not long for this world.
Now, we have news that the studio intends to shed 60 workers, which accounts for about one quarter of their overall workforce, in a bid to keep the doors open. This round of layoffs is just the latest step in a cost-cutting plan enacted by the studio, “In the past six months we have made a number of changes to the business following our strategy to focus on the core business,” explained Starbreeze CEO, Mikael Nermark.
The troubled development of Overkill’s The Walking Dead certainly didn’t help matters though. It’s far too complex a story to redcap here beyond saying that poor management, ambitious and directionless leadership, and a bunch of mistakes financially spelled doom for the project from the start. If you want a more comprehensive rundown of how the future looks really grim for Starbreeze, I highly recommend you take a gander at all-around cool guy Matt McMuscles’ video on the topic, seen down below.
With future projects being canned, things already weren’t looking good for Starbreeze. A filing for reconstruction and more downsizing late last year made things look even worse. The studio has only been staying afloat for the past few months by selling off owned properties like System Shock 3.
According to statements from the studio leadership, more than $300,000 will be saved by this latest round of layoffs, keeping the head of the company above water for at most a few months. During that time the studio will “focus on its core business, game development and publishing”. Although it does remain to be seen if these efforts will have a long-term effect, or if the fate of the company is now a foregone conclusion.