Black Forest Games, the developer behind the upcoming game TMNT: The Last Ronin, has reportedly laid off 50% of its staff or around 50 employees from its 110-person workforce. The studio is owned by Embracer Group which dealt a considerable amount of layoffs from the company and its various studios last year including 900 of its staff, leading to the cancellation of 15 games.
Black Forest Games is simply the latest Embracer-owned studio to be impacted by layoffs, according to a report from Kotaku. However, unlike the layoffs at Riot Games and Discord, Black Forest employees weren’t given ‘next steps’ meetings after being terminated, so they’re left wondering what to do next.
Back in August 2023, the video game adaptation of the popular graphic novel TMNT: The Last Ronin was officially announced to be in development at Destroy All Humans! studio Black Forest Games and publisher THQ Nordic (which is also owned by Embracer Group). Reports at the time stated that it was taking inspiration from Santa Monica Studio’s God of War games in some way. Everything about it sounded very promising but now, it’s unclear what state the game is in.
Embracer Group’s strategy to scoop up developers and IPs in order to produce multiple games like a factory line and minimise its business risk clearly didn’t pan out well for the company, only putting the jobs and livelihoods of several of its employees at risk in the process. The company CEO Lars Wingefors, who had a hand in its bad business decisions, previously stated, “If you can make one game, you have a big business risk, but if you make 200 games, like we do, the business risk is less.” Wingefors still has his job.
League of Legends developer Riot Games also laid off 530 employees earlier this week and closed its third-party publishing label. If games industry leaders are correct, then we could be looking at more than just layoffs this year as they predict we’ll see complete studio closures instead.