Firaxis hit by layoffs after Midnight Suns disappointment and departure of iconic creative lead

(Image credit: 2K Games)

Civilization and XCOM studio Firaxis has been struck by a round of layoffs, Axios reports. Around 30 developers at the company have lost their jobs so that Firaxis can perform a "sharpening of focus, enhancements of efficiencies, and an alignment of our talent against our highest priorities," which I'm pretty certain is just a hyper-corporate way of saying 'we need to spend less money'.

Naturally, Firaxis hasn't blamed anything in particular for the round of layoffs, but it's not hard to see what might have prompted the company to start reconsidering its focus and cutting costs. Marvel's Midnight Suns—for all its superhero star power—was a commercial failure, and the studio recently lost one of its most recognisable creative leads with the departure of Jake Solomon, who headed that project.

So Firaxis is probably quite keen to shore itself up in the wake of Midnight Suns' underwhelming performance, and it tells Axios that it "remains focused on developing critically acclaimed video games". Which critically acclaimed video games, you ask? Well, probably Civilization 7, which the studio announced as a kind of consolation prize back in February after Solomon's exit became public.

It's no surprise that Firaxis is focusing on something more guaranteed to hit in the wake of Midnight Sun's performance, but it's a bit of a shame, both because devs are losing their jobs and because Midnight Suns was a great game, goddammit. It was our GOTY runner-up for 2022 and a smart, Fire Emblem-esque take on the Marvel universe. 

In his Marvel's Midnight Suns review, Jeremy Peel scored the game 88% and praised it as "frequently searching, and endearingly silly". What kind of world is it where the game that lets you take Blade on a picnic doesn't sell fifty trillion copies? A bad one.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.