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Homeworld 3 studio Blackbird Interactive confirms layoffs ‘due to economic pressures outside of our control’

One week after delaying Homeworld 3 until May, Blackbird Interactive has confirmed that an unspecified number of employees have been laid off from the studio.

The layoffs were initially reported by multiple former Blackbird Interactive employees on LinkedIn (via Game Developer). Jacob Van Rooyen, who was working as lead producer on a new project at Blackbird Interactive, said that layoffs had been made “across the company, and, unfortunately, I was one of those impacted.”

“Despite the situation, I appreciate all the experiences and wonderful people I’ve met and known at BBI,” Van Rooyen wrote. “I’ve been amazed and humbled by everyone’s support today, and I wish everyone impacted the best in landing on their feet.”

Alexander Weatherton, who was just promoted to the position of game director in November 2023 “to lead a new project,” was also among the employees let go. “After 4 fantastic years at BBI I’ve been sadly affected by a new round of layoffs,” Weatherton wrote. “I’ve grown and learnt so much these past few years and am eager to apply those learnings to my next role.”

Blackbird Interactive confirmed the layoffs in a statement provided to PC Gamer. “Due to economic pressures outside of our control, we had to take the unfortunate step of separating from some friends,” the studio said. “This is part of a realignment plan that’s necessary because of new projects that were shelved by some of our partners. We looked at multiple ways of avoiding this and regretfully other options weren’t viable.”

The studio said it is offering “extended benefits and severance” to laid-off employees, and that the cuts will not have an impact on the development of Homeworld 3.

2023 was a brutal year for layoffs in the videogame industry, and 2024 has thus far kept up the appalling pace with deep cuts to indie studios and major players alike. It has been, quite frankly, a year of crisis, and it looks set to get worse: As we noted in our look at the impact of 16,000 layoffs since January 2023, the industry was halfway to 2023’s total layoff count in January 2024 alone.

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