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Dead by Daylight studio Behaviour are laying off almost 100 staff, mere months after they cut dozens of devs

They’re calling the move “strategic changes for future growth”

A killer with a rabbit mask and a hatchet turns to face us in a shadowy forest in Dead By Daylight
Image credit: Behaviour Interactive

The makers of Dead by Daylight over at Behaviour Interactive are no strangers to the cold, calculating mindset of killers, having created plenty of them now for their multiplayer hunt-and-seek horror game. That coldness seems to have seeped into the company itself too, as they racked up their career-killing bodycount with nearly 100 more layoffs this week.

Behaviour’s announcement - the opening of which ominously dubs the studio as “The Company” in true killer-like fashion - confirmed that they will look to cut up to 95 staff. Of those almost 100 devs, the majority will be laid off from the developers’ Montreal studio.

In true corpospeak, the announcement euphemistically dubbed the firing of dozens of people as “strategic changes for future growth”, citing a “challenging period for the games industry” amid “unprecedented competition” as part of thinking behind the move. The studio also noted that their headcount has more than doubled from just shy of 600 employees to 1,300 staff in the last five years, in what seems to be a sadly continuing trend of games companies having richly gorged themselves during the at-home pandemic boom - Behaviour calls it “remarkable growth” - only to forcibly vomit up their blameless workers as things then contract due to the lightening of lockdowns and the subsequent cost-of-living crisis.

Behaviour say that the “multiple strategic changes to its corporate structure” - i.e. putting dozens upon dozens of people out of a job - will help “ improv[e] the distinction between its product, production, business development, and marketing resources” as the studio double down on their “historical strengths” of horror and development services, along with a possible expansion into whatever “location-based entertainment” means.

Murderous action in a Dead By Daylight screenshot.

For all their hard work on the likes of Dead by Daylight, Behaviour waved off the laid-off devs with the caring, heartfelt acknowledgement that “each of these individuals offered valuable contributions to Behaviour” - which I’m sure they’ll be grateful for as they try to pay their rent and put food on the table - while adding that Dead by Daylight’s development won’t be affected by the changes. (Upcoming single-player spin-off The Casting of Frank Stone is being worked on over at Supermassive, so that won’t be affected either.)

“I would like to express my deep personal appreciation for any employee affected by today’s changes,” said CEO Rémi Racine. “While changes to our structure and strategic vision have led to challenging decisions, we are confident that these decisions will position us for continued success. As we begin the next phase of Behaviour’s growth, our commitment to excellence in our products and workplace culture remains steadfast.”

The latest layoffs at Behaviour come fewer than six months after close to 50 staff were cut at the start of the year, meaning around 10% of the studio have been dropped in 2024 so far. Behaviour are far from the only studio to be part of the unrelenting barrage of job losses across the games industry over the last year or so, with thousands of staff losing their jobs at developers, publishers and more. Hard to match that level of fear and wanton destruction with someone in a pig mask, honestly.

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