Daybreak Game Company, the H1Z1 and PlanetSide 2 mob formerly known as Sony Online Entertainment, have laid off an unconfirmed number of staff. It’s the second wave of layoffs at Daybreak this year, and a real tough time to be laid off. It’s the usual “optimising our structure” sort of reason. Daybreak say they’ll continue to run their current and are working on new games too.
Daybreak haven’t publicly confirmed the number of people now without a job, nor which of their studios bore the brunt. Former Daybreak president John Smedley said on Twitter that 70 people lost their jobs, though he did later delete that tweet. Don’t take that number as official, though of course he’ll likely know more about it than most.
“We are optimising our structure to ensure we best position ourselves for continued success in the years to come,” Daybreak said in a statement provided to folks including Variety. “This effort has required us to make some changes within the organisation and we are doing everything we can to support those impacted in this difficult time. As we look to improve efficiencies and realign resources, we remain focused on supporting our existing games and development of our future titles.”
Daybreak’s current active lineup is battle royale shooter H1Z1 (the original PvE zombie survival mode was split off, later renamed Just Survive, then shut down in October), MMOFPS PlanetSide 2, and three free-to-play MMORPGs, DC Universe Online, EverQuest, and EverQuest II. They also publish The Lord Of The Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online, which they took over in 2016.
Daybreak have been in a bit of a state, with several recent failures and this round of layoffs following another in April. H1Z1’s battle royale mode was one of the first big hits of the genre, enough that it muscled the original survival sandbox mode out into a separate game, but it declined massively after Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds launched, and then Fortnite Battle Royale hit. Before that, EverQuest Next with its impressive Minecraft-y terrain-smashing ended up scrapped in 2016 before it even launched (it “wasn’t fun”, they said), and Daybreak closed its building-focused precursor EverQuest Landmark a year later.
Losing a job is never easy but just before Christmas, oof. Studios and industryfolk are using Twitter hashtag #daybreakjobs to help connect folks to open positions.