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    Phoenix Labs is an independent developer based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    Phoenix Labs, Studio Behind Dauntless & Fae Farm, Lays Off 100 Employees And Cancels Game Weeks From Release

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    ZombiePie

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    #1  Edited By ZombiePie  Staff
    Another gut punch in the gaming industry.
    Another gut punch in the gaming industry.

    As seen in the above image, in a public statement, Phoenix Labs made an announcement that it was laying off employees and cancelling all of its game projects in progress. gamedeveloper.com is reporting that the layoffs might approach over 100 impacted employees after scanning LinkedIn, and their estimate was corroborated by other sources like GameInformer and PC Gamer. It is important to note that Phoenix Labs laid off 9% of its workforce last year, or ~300 employees. Phoenix Labs' has continually been struggling to make ends meet ever since it spun off from its previous owner, Garena. Shortly after the company regained its independence, as Garena purchased the studio in 2020, it stated to be working on as many as 10 video game projects while actively maintaining servers and content releases for Dauntless, a game they claimed at the time reached 30 million players. Of their additional projects, Fae Farm was the only one that the studio had even remotely close to a shippable state. Now, all of those ten game projects that are not Fae Farm or Dauntless are cancelled, with one of Phoenix Labs' games that was set to be released in June, also cancelled.

    Moving forward, it appears that the studio will entirely dedicate its remaining resources and workers into supporting the online communities for Dauntless and Fae Farm. These recent cuts are, as the studio admits in its press release, a last ditch effort to keep things running. However, gamedeveloper.com interviewed two fired employees from Phoenix Labs' and both offered a second reason for the cuts constantly afflicting the studio:

    On LinkedIn, former principal engineer Kris Morness said the layoffs were ordered Phoenix Labs owner Forte. The blockchain platform apparently acquired Phoenix Labs "over a year ago" in an unpublicized transaction. He corroborated a post from former UX lead Noah Watkins that said the studio's next game was just a few weeks away from being announced.

    Even if a Blockchain owner is to blame, what we appear to have is a small to mid-tier studio that expanded and expanded far too quickly, and had unrealistic goals regarding what they would be able to develop and ship post-Pandemic. Even then, that error is entirely in the hands of Phoenix Labs' management and my heart entirely goes out to those that have since lost their jobs or have seen their hard work get shunted into oblivion due to this news.

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    bigsocrates

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    Gaming's pivot to blockchain was so obviously stupid and doomed that anyone who did it for any reason other than an attempt to scam venture capitalist money from even stupider people should be banned from management for at least 10 years.

    But having 10 games in development, even pre-development, in a studio of a few hundred people is gross mismanagement. Unless it's something like DoubleFine's fortnight, where for a very defined period of time people brainstorm new game ideas and work on prototypes, it's a recipe for disaster.

    Part of the job of management is to pick the projects that they think will be best and shepherd them to release. It's one of the most important jobs of management (other jobs include making sure there's funding and that employees have what they need to get their jobs done.) This seems like a complete abdication by whoever was in charge.

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