Onrush, the latest game from the team behind Driveclub, did not sell well. Indeed, its sales under-performed to the extent that the developer has reportedly been hit by a number of layoffs. Plenty of staff members have been moved on, according to reports, including the director of Onrush and Driveclub, Paul “Rushy” Rustchynsky. Codemasters has argued that the Onrush developer layoffs were part of “a normal course of business.”
The decision to axe staff members allegedly came after Onrush failed to light up the sales charts. The racing combat game just scraped past 1,000 copies sold in its first week in the UK. It debuted at number 34 in the all-format chart and has never been seen since. These aren’t good numbers no matter how you try and swing it. Codemasters knew that Onrush was going to be a risky sell, however. Despite this, sources speaking to Eurogamer have had their say on the matter.
The acquisition of former Evolution Studios employees from Sony in 2016 doesn’t sound like it made for a smooth transition for Codemasters. Sources have claimed that there has been “a lack of communication between the Evolution team and the wider Codemasters entity.” Following the layoffs, the team behind Onrush feels like it will have to “work as a support studio for other Codemasters titles.” The largest layoffs were apparently given to senior staff and lead creatives, so if that’s true then it’s unlikely we’ll see a game like Onrush from Codemasters any time soon.
While poor sales can hurt a studio, laying off plenty of senior staff and creatives would be a harsh move from Codemasters. Codemasters’ argument that it is “a normal course of business” is highly debatable. It seems that there were issues between the two teams leading to the layoffs, rather than it being par for the course for the games industry in general.
Speaking to Eurogamer, a Codemasters spokesperson all but confirmed the layoffs. “This is a normal course of business after a project wraps. It would be inappropriate to comment on the day to day movement of staff changes.” Codemasters confirmed that any layoffs won’t affect Onrush’s scheduled post-release content.
Update: The original report erroneously stated that Codemasters had acquired Evolution Studios from Sony. Codemasters actually hired former Evolution Studios employees after Sony shuttered the studio in 2016. The post has now been updated to rectify this mistake.