Update: A spokesperson for Activision has refuted allegations that Toys For Bob's pivot towards supporting Call Of Duty: Warzone had resulted in mass layoffs, as suggested by one former employee.
"Reports of layoffs at Toys For Bob are incorrect," the spokesperson told PC Gamer via email. "There has not been a reduction in personnel recently at the studio. The development team is operating fully and has a number of full-time job openings at this time. The studio is excited to continue supporting Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, and more recently provide additional development support to Call of Duty: Warzone.”
Original story: Toys For Bob, the developer behind Activision's recent remakes of Spyro and Crash Bandicoot and brand new platformer Crash 4, has been enlisted to keep the Call of Duty: Warzone war machine running.
The 3D platformer veteran broke the news on Instagram and Twitter this week, announcing that it will now be working on supporting Season 3 (opens in new tab) of Activision's battle royale. This marks the second time this year the publisher has turned a throwback studio into a support house, having previously repositioned Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 developer Vicarious Visions into a full-time Blizzard support studio (opens in new tab).
The post doesn't clarify whether TFB has similarly been moved away from its own projects entirely. But that does appear to be the case according to former character artist Nicholas Cole (opens in new tab) who, when asked whether TFB was "only doing Call of Duty games now", responded with a simple "yep". Cole also suggested that there were layoffs in the transition to Warzone development, although Activision said that's not the case.
Same! Altho everyone I interfaced with and worked along was let go, I’m very glad it’s not a totally shutteringApril 30, 2021
Activision has since clarified that no such layoffs took place, that the studio is "operating fully" and actively hiring for continued support on Crash 4 and Call of Duty: Warzone.
Toys For Bob's work on throwback platformers was critically acclaimed, and the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy sold over 10 million copies as of Activision's 2019 end-of-year results (opens in new tab). But that's chump change compared to Warzone, which recently passed over 100 million players (opens in new tab). It makes sense that Activision would want to put more staff into its cash cow to help reduce the game's glitches (opens in new tab) and fend off a cheating epidemic (opens in new tab).
But like Vicarious Visions before it, it's a little sad to see Activision back away from its tremendous remastering efforts. Toys For Bob proved it could make good platforms, VV doing the same for arcade skateboarding games. It's a shame that neither will be given the space to push that talent further.