Frontier's managing director David Walsh confirmed the news, saying "Frontier regretfully has given a total of 14 people (from a staff of 233) notice that their roles are redundant, across art (9), animation (3) and audio (2) disciplines."
Walsh states the reason for the redundancies as "due to the changing mix of skills requirements for our current and future projects," insisting that the developer's prospects "remain healthy".
"Once we took the decision to make the roles redundant, we felt it was better that the affected people knew ASAP so they can plan any further expenditure over the Christmas period accordingly and focus on their search for new roles as soon as possible. We have provided redundancy arrangements in excess of the minimum."
While little consolation to those affected, Frontier doesn't appear to be facing the same difficulty as some of the other studios that have recently announced job losses. On their website they're hiring new staff in other areas, and Walsh insists, "we are actively recruiting to shift the balance of skills we have within the company to enable us to deliver the set of projects currently in development."
The Kickstarter for Elite: Dangerous has currently collected over £780,000 of its £1.25 million goal with 18 days to go - although it's been active since the beginning of November, meaning it's rate of growth has been relatively slow. It's certainly going to be close, which makes the timing of these redundancies somewhat odd. Even if the studio's prospects are "healthy" and this move is about redeploying skills, announcing any internal restructure at a time when a developer needs to look stable seems counter-productive. Not to mention that it's just downright horrible for anyone losing their job over the Christmas period.