Several developers have announced that they have been laid off from PlayStation’s Visual Arts group.
Among them, former senior level designer Daniel Bellemere wrote: ”Unfortunately, following a wave of layoffs last week was my last at PlayStation. While this is certainly not the news I was hoping for, I’m grateful to have had a chance to work amongst extremely talented colleagues on incredible projects and I’m leaving with good memories of my time there.”
Bellemere is based in San Diego, and was working on an unannounced project. It’s unclear if he was based at PlayStation’s Visual Arts Group, or Sony San Diego.
The San Diego-based Visual Arts Service Group was founded in 2007 with the goal of growing some of PlayStation’s biggest franchises.
Visual Arts Service Group was recently brought to prominence for its work on The Last of Us Part 1, work that reportedly saw the game be brought in-house at the original studio Naughty Dog to finish the project.
Another former employee, Matt Barney, wrote: “Goodbye PlayStation / Sony Interactive Entertainment, it’s been real! 👋 For the past few months, I knew this layoff wave was coming 🌊 I love PlayStation & I always will… I mean, I stayed when I had the chance to leave, so obviously!
Other developers have posted on social media about their contracts with PlayStation’s Visual Arts Group ending, but it’s unclear if this was the natural conclusion of the contract term, or a layoff.
Rigging artist Sean Teo, who worked on The Last of Us Part 1, wrote on his LinkedIn page: “Hey everyone, my contract at PlayStation Visual Arts has unfortunately come to an end. I am currently looking for a new role and I am flexible with working on video games, cinematic films, and commercial work.”
2023 has seen widespread reports of job losses across the games industry, including Cambridge, UK-based Frontier Developments earlier this week.
Zen Studios has become the latest studio owned by Embracer Group to be hit with layoffs.
Embracer announced in May that a major deal had fallen through unexpectedly at the last minute, causing it to slash its earnings forecast. The deal was reportedly a $2 billion partnership with the Saudi government-funded Savvy Games Group.
This led to Embracer announcing in June that it was implementing a “restructuring program” which would involve “the closing of studios and termination of projects”.
Embracer has since made layoffs at companies including Gearbox Publishing, Tomb Raider maker Crystal Dynamics, and Knights of the Old Republic remake studio Beamdog.
It also shut down Saints Row developer Volition in August and is reportedly considering selling Borderlands maker Gearbox, which it acquired in 2021 in a deal worth up to $1.4 billion.
Related Forum: PlayStation Forum