1UP is currently reporting about a recent rumor over at Silicon Knights regarding massive layoffs. There were two credible independent sources contacting 1UP about this. One said, “Silicon Knights has had massive layoffs. They are now down to a core staff of 25 people.” The other said, “It may interest you to note that SK laid off all but 25 employees today.”
Silicon Knights has taken quite a few grants to help them stay in business, totaling $8 million going as far back as 2008. The most recent was from the Ontario Government in July 2011 for $3 million. Denis Dyack, President of Silicon Knights, said:
“The CDN $3 million investment would allow the company to improve its technology, hire 80 new people while keeping 97 current jobs and allow the company to become self sustaining.”
It has also been rumored that Joanne Dyack, Dyack’s own wife, in Human Resources, has been laid off as well. If you are unfamiliar with who Silicon Knights is, it is almost certain you have heard about their biggest failure Too Human. The company’s most recent title to be released is X-Men Destiny and has received some brutal reviews, with Metacritic showing an average score of 47%. User reviews have been just as brutal with an average of 52%.
According to 1UP, Dyack has agreed to several interview requests going back to late August through a publicist, but has been unable to fulfill those commitments. The reasons for his delay has been anything from a busy schedule to family illness.
These issues have not stopped Dyack from speaking to other video game reporters. Recently Dyack spoke to CVG about their plans for their next title, only saying “I really wish I could talk about what’s next but all I can say is that it’s incredibly exciting!”
At the time of press Gaming Bus has not received comment back in regards to these layoffs or the current state of the company. We will keep our readers up to date with any new information in regards to this matter. Our best wishes go out to all of those effected by these layoffs. Hopefully all those involved will find new gainful employment soon.
EDIT BY C. BOWEN ON 11/1/11 @ 8:05PM EST: Silicon Knights has confirmed the layoffs, though note that the remaining employees are at around 40, and that they hope the layoffs are temporary. There is no word as to how the downsizing will affect any grants the company has received from the Canadian government.
Analysis: It is no secret that Too Human performed poorly, selling only 700,000 units since release in August of 2008 up to May 2011. Unfortunately there are no numbers to show us how X-Men Destiny has fared, but looking at the reviews it isn’t hard to imagine that this game is doing poorly as well.
This companies current out look is looking very abysmal, when you go from 87 employees to 25 without giving info about your future projects, either something very bad has had to happened for that planned project (like IP rights) or something within the company broke down for them to release that many people.
This is a huge blow to the tax payers who helped this company stay a float, not to mention the local government officials who supported this. There were promises to finish the Too Human planned trilogy, this along with the recent CVG interview, this may have all only been a ploy to get said grant. With this information, it is hard for me not to think that the company took the money and is now running.
This may be a point of no return for Silicon Knights, and I can currently say my head is in a dizzying whirl wind of questions. Until we hear something from Silicon Knights, it’s only speculation at this point.