Kerbal Space Program developers confirm layoffs are coming at the end of June

Kerbal Space Program 2 screenshot - two Kerbals in spacesuits standing on the moon
(Image credit: Intercept Games)

A month after a Bloomberg report claimed that Kerbal Space Program 2 developer Intercept Games would be closed at the end of June, multiple employees have confirmed that numerous workers, and possibly the whole team, are being laid off.

The initial report was backed by an April Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) indicating that 70 employees at Take-Two's Seattle office would be laid off as of June 28, and that the studio would be closed. Take-Two declined to comment, but a couple weeks later Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said Intercept and OlliOlli developer Roll7, which was also reportedly closing, had not been shut down.

"We didn't shutter those studios, to be clear," Zelnick said. "And we are always looking at our release schedule across all of our studios to make sure that it makes sense. So we are being very judicious because we are in the middle of a cost reduction program that we've already concluded and are now fully rolling out. We've announced that we're saving $165 million in existing and future costs, but we haven't shuttered anything."

What that actually meant—that the initial closure report was incorrect, that the studios simply hadn't been closed at that point, or that they'd been gutted but would continue to exist as zombie corporate entities—wasn't clear, and elaboration was not forthcoming.

Whatever fate awaits Intercept, it will apparently be without a large number of its employees—possibly all of them. "The team at Intercept Games will be laid off as of June 28th so a great group will be out and about looking for their new roles," senior design manager Quinn Duffy wrote on LinkedIn. "As will I.

"I got to know the designers pretty well in my all-too-brief time there. These are some fantastically smart and talented people and I'm happy to vouch for their qualities. And I can say the same about the other disciplines—good folks across the board."

"My teammates and I at Intercept Games have been affected by the recent layoffs at the end of June," software engineer John Del Valle wrote in his own post. "It has been an honor to work on such a complex and amazing franchise, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to be part of the engineering team for both Kerbal Space Program 1 and 2 for over six years."

"Myself, along with my talented coworkers at Intercept Games will be laid off at the end of June," principal engineer Mark Jones wrote. "It has been an absolute pleasure working with this team, and you couldn't ask for a more dedicated group of developers who really embrace the Kerbal spirit. It will be hard to say goodbye to such a unique title and franchise, but all good things must come to an end.

"This is a tough time for this industry, and unfortunately another great group of developers are going to be out looking for work."

Based on those posts, it sure sounds like the entire team, or at least most of it, is being let go. Take-Two's prior statement, indicating that the Private Division publishing label—which is to say, not its subsidiary Intercept Games—"continues to make updates to Kerbal Space Program 2" reinforces that impression. The actual number of layoffs, and whether it constitutes a shutdown, are not yet known, however.

Whatever happens, Kerbal fans are being clear about their frustrations on Steam: Recent Kerbal Space Program 2 reviews—more than 2,100 of them posted over the past 30 days—are "overwhelmingly negative." I've reached out to Take-Two for comment and will update if I receive a reply.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.