Scribblenauts studio 5th Cell suffers major layoffs

Scribblenauts Unlimited

Following rumours yesterday that Scribblenauts Unlimited studio 5th Cell had shut down entirely, comes confirmation that the studio still exists – only now with a far smaller workforce. Lead animator Tim Borrelli tweeted yesterday that the studio had closed, but an official statement from the studio confirms that around 45 people have been laid off due to the cancellation of an upcoming Scribblenauts mobile game.

"Unfortunately, due to a project cancellation, we have had to let go of 45 of our very talented staff members today," the statement reads. "Layoffs aren't something we take lightly and we'd like to thank all our employees for all the hard work and dedication over the years.

"5th Cell as a company is not closing down, but our focus right now is 100% on helping our staff make the transition to other external opportunities. If we haven't already reached out, any interested employer can reach us at"

While the cancelled game at the heart of the layoffs was a mobile Scribblenauts title, 5th Cell did try to crowdfund a new series last year in the form of Anchors in the Drift. While the Fig-based campaign didn't attract the funding it needed, the studio did indicate that it would continue to develop the title anyway.

Scribblenauts games have traditionally found home on Nintendo and handheld devices, though Scribblenauts Unlimited did reach Steam a couple of years ago, and our reviewer thought it was quite decent. "It can occasionally drag, but Scribblenauts is a mostly funny and intelligent puzzler that may improve your lexicon to boot," he wrote. Best of luck to all the talent involved.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.