Krome Studios--Australia’s biggest video game development studio with such titles as Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and the Ty the Tasmanian Tiger series--has been forced to lay off an undisclosed number of employees due to financial pressure.
Krome is one of the largest independent studios in the world, employing more than 400 full-time staff in Australia. Now, the company has been forced to make cutbacks across its three studios in Brisbane, Adelaide, and Melbourne, mirroring recent layoffs made by Melbourne-based studio Transmission Games last month.
CEO of Krome Robert Walsh said the studio is in the process of restructuring its business in the face of the challenging times faced by the games industry.
“Regrettably, an undisclosed number of employees across each of Krome’s three studio locations were informed they would be let go,” Walsh said.
“With declining game sales, the industry is really feeling the effects of the struggling economy. In spite of industry-wide cutbacks and Krome’s need to reduce costs, we’ve worked really hard to minimise the impact on our staff. These cuts, while incredibly difficult as they affect the coworkers we consider friends, are necessary as we position Krome for the future. We’re also actively pursuing several business opportunities which, if secured, will enable Krome to reemploy some of the staff given notice.”
Krome was founded in 1999 by current creative director Steve Stamatiadis and CEO Robert Walsh. Since that time, the studio has worked with publishers, including Microsoft, Activision, Lucas Arts, EA and THQ, and developed a number of internationally successful titles, including Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for the Wii, PS2, and PSP; The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night for the Wii and PS2; Viva Pinata: Party Animals; and the Ty the Tasmanian Tiger series, which has sold over 2 million copies.
Despite the news of the recent layoffs, Krome’s Web site is still displaying a “Now Hiring” banner. The call for employment reads: “For 10 years, Krome has been steadily growing and evolving. The studio has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1999. We now boast four project teams, over 400 talented people and an increasing presence in the worldwide game development industry. Isn’t it time you joined us and did the same?”
According to the Web site, the studio is hiring for nine positions in its Brisbane studio, including lead designer, lead artist, and programmer.
The studio has refused to go into more detail about the layoffs and its future. Stay tuned to GameSpot AU for more information.