In a saddening move to stay afloat, the Starbreeze layoffs gave notice to a quarter of the company’s staff. The Payday 2 developer has been struggling financially and was left with little choice in order to remain operational. The layoffs will be fully implemented in November. In the meantime, Starbreeze is helping the affected employees build their portfolios and get connected with other companies.
Starbreeze gave notice to 60 of its 240 employees in order to work toward becoming profitable once again. The layoffs will save Starbreeze over $300,000 per month as the company shifts focus back to its core business. But how did Starbreeze, a company with everything going for it after the massive success of Payday 2, get to this point?
In 2018, after the failure of Overkill’s The Walking Dead, things collapsed. With such an expensive game not returning funds, Starbreeze was hit hard. Adding to the financial failure was the company’s decision to invest money in unreleased VR technology and open overseas game studios, rather than focusing on game development and publishing. CEO Bo Andersson was booted from the company, and an alarming email revealed he claimed the staff was lazy, even after they’d spent months of hard-working crunch-time leading up to the failed game. Following that, Swedish authorities raided the Starbreeze office and arrested two people on suspicion of insider trading. Saddled with millions in debt, Starbreeze was left with little choice but to sell off its unsuccessful ventures and drastically cut employee numbers.
The fate of Payday 2 and Starbreeze is in flux. Starbreeze CEO Mikael Nermark said:
“We have divested some operations that we consider non-core and we now have to look inward to make the core business more efficient. To make staff reductions is a tough decision to make, but necessary to enable Starbreeze to develop well long-term.”
Whether these plans will manage to keep Starbreeze alive remains to be seen.