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Two more studios announce layoffs as 2024 continues to suck for game developers

 Pieta, a boss from the upcoming Lords of the Fallen game, levels a glowing blade menacingly at the player.
Pieta, a boss from the upcoming Lords of the Fallen game, levels a glowing blade menacingly at the player.

The seemingly endless litany of layoffs that's plagued the game industry through 2023 and into 2024 continued today as two more studios have confirmed cuts to their workforces: Dead by Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive has let 40 employees go, while Lord of the Fallen publisher CI Games has reduced its workforce by 10%.

The CI Games layoffs reportedly came largely at the expense of the company's marketing team, although a GamesIndustry report says its Hexworks and Underdog internal studios were also affected. CI Games CEO Marek Tymiński later confirmed the report, saying: "To preserve business strength and stability, CI Games has made the tough but necessary decision to implement a targeted round of redundancies, affecting approximately 10% of employees across the company."

"We would like to thank each of them for the part they’ve played during their time with us," Tymiński said. "Further business optimisations are being made to the organisation's pipelines and processes."

Behaviour Interactive confirmed its own layoffs, first reported by Kotaku, in a statement provided to PC Gamer.

"Recently, changing market conditions necessitated adjusting the scope of several Behaviour projects," a studio rep said. "In these situations, our preference is always to reassign talent to other projects. Unfortunately, this option is not always available to us. These departures represented less than 3% of our total workforce." The rep later added that a total of 40 employees were let go.

The layoffs come despite apparent ongoing success at both companies. Lords of the Fallen was quite good and by all appearances a significant success, while Behaviour is on a multi-year roll with the survival horror sleeper Dead by Daylight, whose recent high-profile crossovers include horror icon Chucky and Remedy's tormented faux-author Alan Wake. Behaviour also recently revealed a singleplayer project set in the Dead by Daylight universe called The Casting of Frank Stone, set to come out this year.

Both sets of layoff are part of a broader pattern of cuts across the game industry that dominated headlines through 2023 and have carried on unabated in 2024: The first half of January has already seen layoffs at Bossa Studios, Unity, Twitch, Discord, and Lost Boys Interactive. Layoffs are an unfortunate but not unusual part of the business, and as unfair as it is the reduction as CI Games could be seen in that light: A studio reducing staff following the release of a new game, successful or not, is not atypical.

The pattern of layoffs plaguing the game industry has been largely attributed to overly-aggressive expansion during the early years of the Covid-19 pandemic that executives have now decided is no longer sustainable: Unity and Discord, for instance, both referenced a need for increased "agility" during their recent rounds of layoffs, while Twitch CEO Daniel Clancy said last week that the company is "still meaningfully larger than it needs to be" while announcing that more than 500 employees were being let go—on top of the more than 400 that had been laid off in March 2023.