Deck Nine, known for the fantastic Life is Strange: True Colors along with the soon-to-be-released The Expanse: A Telltale Series, is the latest studio to be impacted by staff layoffs. The layoffs occurred last Friday and have impacted 30 staff members. Narrative Designer Elizabeth Ballou broke the news on Twitter, stating the following:
“Today, many of my brilliant, kind, and talented coworkers at Deck Nine were laid off, and my heart is breaking for them. If your game studio is recruiting, please keep an eye out for D9 folks; you won’t regret it.”
Ballou further extrapolated, indicating that many narrative leads elected to remove their own roles rather than let the lower-level staff lose their position. She stated that the leads on the team were “given swords” and instead chose to “fall on them, laying themselves off instead of choosing among the rest of us.”
To elaborate. The leads on my team were given swords and chose to fall on them, laying themselves off instead of choosing among the rest of us.
I've never seen anyone in games do something that metal and I hope I never have to again. https://t.co/IbKKppNr3O
— elizabeth ballou (@lizbetballou) May 20, 2023
Another member of the narrative team that also departed confirmed this information, saying she “stepped away voluntarily.” In a comment response to games outlet Game Developer, Deck Nine stated they were “forced to lay off thirty amazing people.” While there’s no quoted reason behind the layoffs, the studio did note that the affected were “talented people who did nothing wrong,” and that they both wish the best of their careers and would love to work with them again.
This is following a troubling recent trend of layoffs in the games space. On the indie side of things, just a few days ago Crypt of the Necrodancer developer Brace Yourself Games also let half of their workforce go.