Job cuts continue to affect studios around the world, with Polish developer Artificer becoming the latest victim. It cut roughly half of its team.
UPDATE (February 2): Devolver Digital confirmed that a total of 28 Artificer employees will be laid off (“18 effective immediately and 10 after their current project releases”). The publisher noted that this decision was needed to ensure the studio “remains open and that their hard work is realized with the launch of their next game.”
- As reported by Kotaku, Artificer laid off around 25 people on January 31. Another 10-12 employees will be cut after they complete work on the studio’s unannounced game.
- According to Artificer’s official website, it employs over 40 people, but it is unclear how many developers will ultimately remain on the team.
- Although the studio has yet to confirm the layoffs, some employees took to social media to share the news. The list includes narrative designer Olga Ilukowicz and level artist Bartosz Danielak.
Founded in 2019, Artificer is a Warsaw-based studio run by CEO and creative director Kacper Szymczak. Its core team is best known for previously working at CreativeForge Games, where they made turn-based strategy games, Hard West and Phantom Doctrine.
Both titles were published by Good Shepherd Entertainment, which then acquired a majority stake in Artificer. In January 2021, Devolver acquired Good Shepherd, bringing both companies under its umbrella.
Last year, Artificer released Showgunners, which is also a turn-based tactics game. It currently has a “Very Positive” rating on Steam, with 93% of the 849 user reviews being positive. Devolver didn’t disclose the game’s sales figures, but it likely didn’t perform well commercially (judging by the number of user reviews).
The layoffs at Artificer are further evidence that these are tough times for developers of tactical strategy games. Last year, Mimimi Games ended its 15-year journey shortly after launching Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew. The studio, known for Desperados III and the Shadow Tactics series, noted that “our future production costs are growing faster than potential revenues of our genre.”