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"Wave of layoffs" at PlayStation reported by developer of unannounced game

Sony shedding jobs at support studios, according to staff

The PlayStation Logo
Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

2023's mass eradication of the games industry continues with reports of layoffs at Sony Interactive Entertainment and PlayStation Studios. It's unclear how extensive these losses are - Sony have yet to provide comment, at the time of writing - but they appear to include staff at PlayStation's Visual Arts studio, based in San Diego, which supports developers like The Last of Us creators Naughty Dog and Spider-Man 2 creators Insomniac.

"Unfortunately, following a wave of layoffs last week was my last at Playstation," reads a LinkedIn update from senior level designer and Ubisoft alumnus Daniel Bellemare, whose credits include Assassin's Creed Valhalla. "While this is certainly not news I was hoping for, I'm grateful to have had a chance to work amongst extremely talented colleagues on incredible projects and I'm leaving with good memories of my time there."

Bellamare had been at PlayStation for just five months, joining in May 2023 to work on an "unannounced project" with combat elements. His CV notes for good measure that his "role ended due to layoffs at Playstation - not performance related".

Senior technical recruiter Matt Barney has also lost his job, as detailed in a plucky emoji-strewn goodbye post. "For the past few months, I knew this layoff wave was coming," he wrote. "I love PlayStation & I always will... I mean, I stayed when I had the chance to leave, so obviously!"

Barney worked with a number of teams within PlayStation, including MLB: The Show developer San Diego Studio, God of War support studio Valkyrie Entertainment and XDEV, the UK-based studio that began life as part of WipEout creator Sony Liverpool. "To those of you within my former organization that have been impacted today, I wish you the best of luck in your own layoff!" he added.

PlayStation Visual Arts character rigging artist Sean Teo, finally, has posted that their contract "has unfortunately come to an end" as of September, though this may not be connected to the aforesaid layoff "wave". In the course of a year or so at Visual Arts, Teo worked on The Last of Us: Part 1, developing hair and cloth physics for gameplay and cutscenes.

I've mailed Sony PR for confirmation. I'll update this post as and when we hear more.

As has been much noted, this year is proving a terrific year for game releases and an absolutely terrible one for game developers. The list of companies who recently announced mass job losses includes, but is not limited to Epic, Microsoft, CD Projekt, BioWare and Creative Assembly - I'm beginning to think we need some kind of hub page. Embracer Group, especially, appear to be on a mission to gut every studio they've ever acquired, taking the axe to Saints Row and Freespace dev Volition in August.

Best of luck to everybody who's lost their job at Sony in the latest round of cuts. Thanks for passing it on, VGC.

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