Relic Entertainment lays off employees to give itself 'the best possible chance to survive in an increasingly volatile industry'

Company of Heroes 3 key art - three Allied soldiers on a rocky peak, shooting and throwing grenades at enemies
(Image credit: Relic Entertainment)

A week after being sold off by parent company Sega, Company of Heroes studio Relic Entertainment has announced that it is laying off employees.

"Earlier today we shared details with Relicans about a layoff," the studio wrote on LinkedIn. "Letting people go was not an easy decision, and was made solely with the goal of providing Relic the best possible chance to survive in an increasingly volatile industry. It does not in any way reflect the expertise, passion, or character of any of the impacted employees."

Relic said that employees being let go are being given "severance packages, extended benefits, and outplacement support options." The number of people being let go wasn't specified, but in a separate post external development producer Robyn Smale pegged the number at 41.

The layoffs come less than a year after 121 employees at Relic were let go as part of a restructuring effort aimed at ensuring "maximum focus is placed on our core franchises." All told, the two rounds of layoffs represent a very deep cut into Relic's staffing: In 2019 the studio had just under 250 employees according to a Daily Hive report, and aimed to grow to around 330 over the next five years; Relic's LinkedIn page indicates it has 201–500 employees.

"This isn't a trim of fat, this is a cut to the bone," senior game producer Aryon Billings, one of the employees let go in the layoffs, said on LinkedIn.

It's a sad outcome for a 27-year-old studio that's given us games including Homeworld, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, Space Marine, and Company of Heroes, and without wanting to read too much into it, saying the cuts were necessary to provide "the best possible chance to survive" does not inspire confidence in its long-term future. It's hard to imagine that a storied studio like Relic could simply close up shop, but under these circumstances—and in the current industry environment—it no longer seems out of the question.

"To those we are saying goodbye to, we are deeply sorry that it has come to this," Relic concluded. "We thank you for everything you have done for our studio and our projects, and we wish you all the best."

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.