Few will find disappointment in the fact that developer Slant Six will be laying off one quarter of its staff today. Responsible for the lackluster Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Slant Six was also the cause for SOCOM: Confrontation’s critical beating. While both games sold fairly well, reviews ensured that, in the long run, both titles would prove to be failures for the developer and would leave a bad taste in the mouths of many gamers.
A rep for Slant Six confirmed with gaming website Gamespot.com that the layoffs are currently a temporary action. “We must stress that these are temporary layoffs, which means we are working very hard on new business prospects so we can reinstate every single person affected. As an independent and close-knit studio it is a very difficult but necessary business measure due to the current project cycle demands,” the source elaborated. Though the developer uses the word temporary in confidence, the reinstatement of these employees is still determined through future outcomes.
Whether or not Slant Six will be able to overcome its current financial hardships is dependent on the success of two future titles: one being a self-published downloadable title known as Strata Scavenger while the other is being released in collaboration with an as-of-yet unnamed major publisher. Little is known about Strata Scavenger, save for the fact that it’s the developer’s first attempt at publishing its own content.
The employees being laid off will receive benefits for another thirteen weeks which brings them right into the 2013 New Year. Due to the lack of details on either title, it can be assumed that neither will be available until at least the 2nd quarter of 2013; and if the “temporary” status of the layoff is dependent on the success of future titles, these individuals may be waiting well over a year to even hear about their potential reinstatement. Chances are, few will sit around and wait, and by the time the developer is ready to rehire, the laid off employees may not even be available at the time of the staffs restoration, forcing Slant Six to search elsewhere for replacement developers.
Slant Six isn’t the only developer who had to face layoffs. Over the past year, companies including Studio 38 saw layoffs within its development staff which led to the closure of Rise of Nations developer, Big Huge Games. Even gaming mogul Blizzard Interactive was forced to cut off 600 of its employees, though it did so with minor impact on its development staff.
When the recession first hit, many expected the entertainment industry to overcome and survive with little to no impact. Unfortunately, between numerous layoffs and a few shut downs, it’s quite evident that even the video game industry cannot overcome a declining economy as some initially thought.