The financial framework of the gaming industry continues to crumble, with both big and small studios suffering layoffs due to different restructuring needs. It may seem ironic, then, that a company known for its title, LittleBigPlanet, is the latest to schedule layoffs across the board.
LittleBigPlanet and Sackboy are some of the most recognizable names across all of Sony’s IPs. (Source: PlayStation.com Store)
On October 24th, Media Molecule announced an unfortunate restructuring plan, which includes laying off roughly 15% – 20% of employees. The Dream and LittleBigPlanet studio shocked fans with this announcement, expressing sadness that their successful releases were not financially sustainable.
“We have had to make the difficult decision to begin the consultation process for team members within certain departments of the studio…”, Media Molecule announced early on Tuesday, promising that “…We will make sure those impacted receive the best support we can provide during this process.”
Long-time fans of Media Molecule and its games have expressed disappointment and genuine hopes that the indie company will pull through. Since Sony owns Media Molecule, many executive decisions must align with its stakeholders’ needs. Players recognize that not all decision-making powers are held by Media Molecule alone and that major shifts from AAA studios are having tangible effects on smaller indie developers.
Media Molecule first announced its restructuring plans on Twitter, where many users expressed that layoffs could have been avoided with proper game marketing. (Source: Twitter)
Though Media Molecule’s second popular title, Dreams, was released with monumental success, it was not the financial powerhouse the company expected it to be. The sandbox-style creation kit allowed people to create their own games, leading to its rise in popularity.
Later on, mixed reviews showed that the creation tools may have been too advanced for regular gamers and not complex enough for actual game devs. Media Molecule ultimately decided to stop supporting Dreams in 2023. An announcement was made back in April stating that official support for Dreams would end in September. Currently, the game is no longer being supported, and both Dreams and LittleBigPlanet 3 are unavailable for purchase.
This announcement was made on the back of some exciting news about the future of the studio, claiming that devs are working on a new project. No information about this game or its details has been released other than the fact that the new title will not resemble Dreams in any way.
Media Molecule is currently hiring two Programming roles for an in-house project. (Source: Media Molecule Careers)
Oddly enough, Media Molecule has open career opportunities listed on its website, raising questions about the future job security of current employees. As a company once 135-strong, the existing employee count of 115 amid the 20-person layoffs is certainly giving people pause. More information about the studio’s newest project could rekindle the hope and charm it once inspired in its loyal fanbase.
As a studio that emphasizes inclusivity and collaboration more than most indie game devs, there is faith that creativity will continue to flow from Media Molecule. More details about the studio’s newest game will be announced ASAP.
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