CD Projekt Red has laid off "roughly 9%" of its staff, with around 100 people losing their jobs over the next seven months.
In a statement on CDPR's website, CEO Adam Kiciński says the layoffs are part of "ongoing process of several deep transformations within the studio," which he considers "key to making quality games, on time and without crunch."
"To meet our own high expectations and ambitions to create the best role-playing games, we not only want to have the best people but also the right teams," Kiciński says. "What we mean by that is having teams that are built around our projects' needs; teams that are more agile and more effective. At this point in time, we're certain that for CD Projekt Red to grow, we need to be consistent in implementing that approach."
Kiciński continues: "There's no easy way to say this, but today we are overstaffed. We have talented people on board who are finishing their tasks and—based on current and expected project needs—we already know we don't have other opportunities for them in the next year."
He clarifies that not everyone's layoff will be immediate, adding "some employees will be let go as late as Q1 2024 but, in the spirit of transparency, we've chosen to share this information now. We want team members to have ample time to process and adjust to the change, and we've also made sure to offer everyone a comprehensive severance package."
The news comes just two months before Cyberpunk 2077: The Phantom Liberty is due to release, along with a slew of other projects happening under CDPR's belt right now. It's planning to deliver three new Witcher games over the next six years starting with Project Polaris, plus a Witcher spin-off which was announced to be in pre-production last October. It's also working on a mysterious Project Hadar, an "entirely distinct IP, created from scratch within CDPR." That's a lot of things to develop, and a dwindling number of people to do it while maintaining Kiciński's vision for a crunch-free environment.
Layoffs have always been an unfortunate possibility of any job, but they've become increasingly common in the games industry this year. Just two months ago CDPR let go 29 employees from its recently-acquired studio The Molasses Flood, who are working on the Witcher spinoff. Several other studios have also let go a number of their staff in 2023:
- Marvel's Midnight Suns studio Firaxis laid off 30 of its staff in June.
- An unconfirmed number of staff working on Star Wars: The Old Republic lost their job when development moved from BioWare to Broadsword Online Games last month.
- Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two cut a portion of its staff in March despite reporting "exponential growth in recent years".
- Embracer Group announced it was closing studios and canning some games in development, leading to an undisclosed number of layoffs in June.
- Microsoft laid off around 10,000 people in January, including employees at Bethesda and Halo studio 343 Industries.
- Crypt of the Necrodancer studio Brace Yourself Games cut around 50% of its workforce in May, shelving some unannounced projects in the process.