Layoffs At Scribblenauts Devs 5th Cell

Scribblenauts developers 5th Cell have laid off 45 employees but, contrary to initial reports, the company say they’re not closing down. 5th Cell had been working on a new mobile version of Scribblenauts, their series about solving free-form puzzles by drawing almost anything into existence, but its surprise cancellation left them overstaffed. The situation’s a bit unclear at this point, but they had also been working on a free-to-play PC action-RPG.

Scribblenauts: Fighting Words was to be a new mobile installment of the puzzling series. Our resident thunkman John will tell you Scribblenauts is some cracking puzzling, with 2012’s Scribblenauts Unlimited being one of the very finest thunk ’em ups. Its puzzles are scenarios with freeform solutions, where you can summon objects, people, and creatures from a list of thousands (including everything from tables and ladders to Nyan Cat and Cthulhu) as you see fit.

It sounds like 5th Cell are still figuring out what to do, but confirm they have laid off 45 people. Yesterday they released a statement, as provided to Polygon:

“Unfortunately, due to a project cancellation, we have had to let go of 45 of our very talented staff members today.

“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”

5th Cell tried last year to crowdfund action-RPG Anchors in the Drift [official site] on Fig, the second game on the new crowdfunding site, but fell short of their $500,000 target (about £350k). Despite the failure, they said they were still working on it, planning to launch in summer 2016. At this point, I couldn’t tell you what’s going on.


  1. ComradeSnarky says:

    Nitpit: players do not solve puzzles in Scribblenauts by “drawing.”

    Otherwise, sad news.

  2. DantronLesotho says:

    Really sad; I love Scribblenauts. I always wondered why Scribblenauts didn’t hit on the children or educational market more; it seems perfect for it.

    • frenchy2k1 says:

      I played it with my 5 year old son and we had a great time.
      The goal would have been to replay it (or a new version) a few years later, letting him type and find the words.

  3. MadMinstrel says:

    They should really stretch their legs and do something new now. That RPG looks interesting. Scribblenauts is wonderful, but there’s only so much of it a person can take.

  4. Lintire says:

    It always sucks, but I’m not sure that Scribblenauts could ever really have served as a meal ticket.

    Such a novelty-based IP doesn’t even really serve sequels well, I don’t know anyone who has played or plans to play more than one.