H1Z1 Dev Announces Layoffs Amid Bizarre Ownership Confusion

Studio calls it a realigning for the future.

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Now Playing: Free PS4 Battle Royale Game H1Z1 Hits Open Beta Next Month - GS News Update

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H1Z1 developer Daybreak Games has laid off a portion of its workforce, just over a month after the game went free-to-play to compete with games like PUBG and Fortnite. Gamasutra reports that the cuts appear to be across various departments, including some members of the H1Z1 team. Daybreak confirmed the layoffs in a statement to GameSpot.

"Daybreak confirms we are realigning our workforce to better position our company for the future," the statement read. "Because of this, we have had to make an extremely difficult decision to part ways with some of our employees across various disciplines at the studio. We are doing everything we can to take care of each affected individual by providing them appropriate transition assistance."

Meanwhile, Daybreak has caused some confusion regarding its company ownership, after suggesting that it was acquired by investment firm Columbus Nova three years ago as it had initially said. That led the company to issue a statement on its website clarifying that Daybreak was actually acquired by Jason Epstein while he was a partner at Columbus Nova. Epstein left the investment firm in 2017.

The original press release from 2015 definitely does state that Columbus Nova acquired Daybreak, however. As MassivelyOP notes, this sudden change could come down to larger political movements. Columbus Nova is listed as a subsidiary of Renova Group, one of the Russian companies whose assets were recently frozen by the United States Treasury department. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the action was in response to several Russian activities, including arming Syrian forces and cyber crime to interfere in elections. A spokesperson said the distinction between Epstein and Columbus Nova had never been corrected before, so the company is issuing that correction now.

The developer just announced that H1Z1 will get a PS4 open beta on May 22, introducing several console tweaks to the game. Those include a radial menu, streamlined UI, and simplified loot system. The crafting system is being removed altogether, to maintain the pace of matches. Also helping keep up the pace is a faster-moving deadly gas zone. You can read our H1Z1 review for more details on how the PC version fared at launch earlier this year, but it sounds like the console port will be significantly changed.

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