2023 was plagued with some of the worst layoffs we have seen in the industry. According to an unofficial tracker, over 10,000 people were laid off in total last year. But 2024 has continued that trend and has neared 6,100 layoffs so far. This follows the news of Microsoft laying off 1,900 people recently and another smaller company has suffered just recently.
Airship Syndicate, developers of Wayfinder, Battle Chasers, Ruined King: A League of Legends Story and Darksiders Genesis has been hit with a small round of layoffs. As reported by Nicole Carpenter from Polygon.
Details on the Layoffs at Airship Syndicate
Nicole reported that 12 people were laid off Airship Syndicate. As well as the President of Airship Syndicate, Ryan Stefanelli and CEO of the company Joe Madureira taking a pay cut.
Confirmed 12 people laid off. President Ryan Stefanelli and CEO Joe Madureira will cut their pay, too. "This decision was made to ensure that Airship Syndicate can continue to operate and deliver great experiences," a rep tells me. It's not often you see execs taking pay cuts.
— Nicole Carpenter (@sweetpotatoes) January 31, 2024
It is extremely rare to see higher-ups at companies take a pay cut to help their company in the long term. But what caused these layoffs? Well, Wayfinder launched in a rough state, similar to most live service games. Between server issues, game crashes and numerous bugs on top of a grindy foundation. The game’s player numbers as a result declined and never fully recovered. According to the official Steam Charts, the game is sadly not reaching the quadruple digits, despite the game receiving numerous great content updates. While also revealing a very promising roadmap.
We at Lords of Gaming were given the privilege of previewing the game. In addition to interviewing key members of the studio at PAX East 2023. It is extremely unfortunate to see Airship Syndicate go through so much during its early access period. There is room for another MMO in the live service space, but it is ultimately up to the community to allow it to continue on and Airship Syndicate to support it.