In March, news spread around the world that the development of the multiplayer Witcher, with the working title Project Sirius, is undergoing a reboot, and that CD Projekt RED is working with developers from the Molasses Flood studio to “form a new framework for the entire project.”
Last week, the Polish company rushed to announce that this formation was successful and development was back on track. Furthermore, this is clearly not a complete reboot where one would have to start from scratch, as the continued creation will be based on a substantial part of the elements that Molasses Flood have already developed. CD Projekt RED is said to be excited about the new direction, but is not going to talk about the details for now.
But the changes in the project obviously did not come without losses. According to Ethan Gach, a writer for Kotaku, the studio recently laid off 29 people. As the project underwent a transformation, the composition of the team working on it was to change as well, especially on the Molasses Flood side. 21 employees from the American team and 8 from the Polish branch lost their jobs.
Among those fired is Robert Bailey, the game’s now-retired technical narrative designer. He announced the fact on his personal profile on Twitter. The structural changes also affected the art department, from which Eleanore Falck, who took care of the environment designs, was dismissed.
Given that the studio only employed a few dozen people, according to LinkedIn, the layoffs could mean really big changes. Neither Molasses Flood nor CD Projekt have yet provided an official statement.
Update: CDPR confirms layoffs at Witcher spin-off studio Molasses Flood. Says 29 devs affected and calls it the result of the game’s reboot.
“Because the project changed, so has the composition of the team that’s working on it – mainly on The Molasses Flood’s side.” pic.twitter.com/F0HwPcIYrx
— AmericanTruckSongs9 (@ethangach) May 15, 2023
The Deviation Games studio is also currently dealing with major personnel changes. According to VGC sources and accompanying individual announcements, up to 90 employees were to leave the unit. The reason in this case is supposed to be a “difficult situation” in the studio, which forced significant changes in its layout.
The team partnered with Sony in 2021, at the time numbering a little over 100 employees and consisting primarily of veterans of the Call of Duty series. He subsequently began working on an as-yet-unannounced AAA game from a brand new world, and it’s unclear how much he’s grown since then. However, the question is how these changes will affect the mentioned project, and whether we will ever see it due to the dismissal of a significant part of the team.
In addition, Jason Blundell, who co-founded Deviation with his colleague, Dave Anthony, left Deviation last year. The reason for his departure is unknown.
Again, there is no official statement from Sony or Deviation Games yet. However, the information comes a little later, news spread around the world about the planned closure of the studio PixelOpus, which is behind, for example, the game Concrete Genie, an exclusive for PlayStation 4. So Sony is apparently taking spring cleaning in its partner studios seriously this year.