In July, Ontario's Ministry of Economic Development and Trade gave provincial developer Silicon Knights a grant that it said would help the studio not only protect the 97 jobs it had at the time, but also add 80 more employees to its headcount. Yesterday, a report surfaced that the studio has not only failed to add those extra positions but, instead, instituted a round of layoffs.
According to a 1UP report this week, "sources close to the company" have confirmed a round of sweeping job cuts that have left the studio with a core team of just 25 employees. The report states that the entirety of the studio's human resources department was included in the layoffs.
Since 2000, Silicon Knights has released a total of four games. The most recent, X-Men: Destiny for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and DS, launched in September. The action game based on Marvel Comics' mutant superhero team was met with critical derision. Prior to that, Silicon Knights had produced 2008's Xbox 360-exclusive sci-fi action game Too Human, 2004's remake Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes and 2002's Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem.
The studio has also had a handful of other projects that have not seen the light of day, including Siren in the Maelstrom (which the Canadian government funded at least in part) and a Sega project that never materialized. That game was also tied into a high-profile legal battle with Epic Games over Unreal Engine 3, in which Silicon Knights accused the engine maker of not properly supporting its licensees and Epic accused the studio of deriving its purportedly in-house engine from Unreal Engine 3.
As of press time, Silicon Knights had not responded to GameSpot's requests for comment.