The Embracer spiral continues as Insurgency: Sandstorm studio New World Interactive lays off employees

Insurgency: Sandstorm screenshot
(Image credit: New World Interactive)

Saber Interactive, a division of Embracer Group, has confirmed that it has laid off employees at its New World Interactive studio, the developer of Insurgency: Sandstorm.

Word of the layoffs first came as a rumor that New World Interactive was being closed outright, reported on Twitter by Nick Calandra of Second Wind. In a statement shared with PC Gamer, a Saber Interactive representative confirmed the layoffs but said the studio has not been closed.

"Saber can confirm there have been restructuring changes involving our New World Interactive subsidiary," the rep said. "This reorganization has unfortunately resulted in layoffs at the studio. We are working to fill existing open roles within Saber with individuals affected by these changes wherever feasible and we will be providing severance packages to those employees impacted."

Saber didn't indicate how many employees have been laid off as a result of the studio changes, but the rep said work on Insurgency: Sandstorm, New World's hit military shooter, and "unannounced future projects" will continue.

The layoffs at New World Interactive are the latest in what has been a thoroughly catastrophic year for Embracer Group and, more to the point, its employees. After a period of rapid growth that saw the company balloon into a legitimate gaming colossus—a stretch that included its acquisition of New World Interactive in 2020—the last-minute collapse of a $2 billion investment deal in May threw the company into a tailspin that's resulted in widespread layoffs and studio closures. 

In November, Embracer reported that it had cut roughly 5% of its global workforce, totalling approximately 900 employees; since then, it's laid off 50 more employees from Chorus developer Fishlabs along with the unknown number from New World Interactive, and is reportedly looking at closing Free Radical Design, the studio it resurrected in 2021 to make a new TimeSplitters game.

But it's not just Embracer: The videogame industry as a whole has suffered a virtually unprecedented number of layoffs in 2023, impacting small studios and large tech companies alike. The most recent example occurred just yesterday, when Electronic Arts announced layoffs at F1 developer Codemasters "to meet evolving business needs and priorities."

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.