Dreadnought developer lays off third of workforce days after game's release

The developer of recently-released multiplayer spaceship shooter Dreadnought has laid off a third of its staff just days after the game's release. 

The layoffs at Six Foot were first revealed by Game Informer, which reported that employees had long been aware of financial issues at the developer. Earlier this summer, studio chief executive Matt Ballesteros held a team meeting informing staff that the company only had enough money to continue for a few months, and that employees were free to leave without judgement, according to the report.

The precarious situation led the team to try and finish the game as quickly as possible, with one developer telling Game Informer it felt "simultaneously both hurried and spiritless". Dreadnought launched to mixed reviews on Steam earlier this week, and shortly after, 45 staff were offered the choice to take either unemployment or unpaid leave, in the hope that they could return if Dreadnought began to make more money.

Six Foot chief operating officer Christian Svensson later confirmed that "about a third" of its developers had been laid off, and that the studio's staffing team was helping departing employees find new jobs. His statement, made on Thursday, reads:

"In August, Six Foot informed its staff of the upcoming potential for major changes to our company structure, including continued development of Dreadnought as a live product. 

"Everyone on the games team was given the option to stay on and continue working or begin searching for other opportunities with the full support of the company and the aid of our staffing team, while still receiving pay in the interim. New updates on the company’s status were delivered to the full team every two weeks from there.

"Today we regrettably confirm a reduction of about a third of our game dev workforce. We’re continuing to make available the full resources of our company to try to help those affected and their families land on their feet as quickly as possible.  

"We remain committed to Dreadnought's ongoing development, growth, and the pursuit of new projects. We are also dedicated to remaining active in helping our affected family to transition as smoothly as possible."

Samuel Horti

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play.