Sega Studios Layoffs

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Layoffs Hit Sega Studios Across Europe

Creative Assembly and Hardlight Studios Affected

Sega announced layoffs impacting Creative Assembly, developer of the Total War series, and Hardlight, developer of Sonic mobile games. The layoffs are part of a shift in "focus and resources," according to Sega, as the company restructures its European operations.

Nearly 350 Jobs Cut

Close to 350 jobs will be eliminated across Sega's European studios. The layoffs comprise a mix of permanent and temporary contract positions. Creative Assembly, based in the UK, expects to cut up to 90 permanent jobs. Hardlight, a Brighton-based studio, will lose 60 permanent staff. Additional temporary and contract jobs at those studios and others will also be terminated.

Restructuring for Growth

Sega says the restructuring, while difficult, will allow the company to "focus on key areas" to support future growth. The company remains committed to its established franchises like Total War and Sonic the Hedgehog. However, developing new IP and exploring emerging technologies and platforms are priorities going forward. Redirecting resources to incubation and co-development partnerships will be part of the new strategy.

Relic Entertainment Sold to Focus Home Interactive

As part of its restructuring, Sega sold Relic Entertainment to publisher Focus Home Interactive. Relic, known for real-time tactics games like Dawn of War and Company of Heroes, has been part of Sega since 2013. Sega says selling the studio will allow Relic to thrive with a publisher that specializes in strategy games. For Sega, the sale furthers its goal to streamline operations and cut costs in Europe. Focus assumes control of all Relic intellectual property and takes over the studio's Vancouver office.

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Major Restructuring Impacts Creative Assembly, Hardlight, and Relic Entertainment

According to multiple reports, Sega’s subsidiaries Creative Assembly, Hardlight, and Relic Entertainment were significantly impacted by the recent restructuring.

Creative Assembly, the studio behind the Total War franchise, allegedly laid off between 5 to 10 percent of its staff. Sources indicate positions affected include animators, artists, and programmers across multiple projects. The layoffs are surprising given the studio’s recent success with Total War: Three Kingdoms.

Sega’s mobile game developer Hardlight was also affected. Hardlight is known for developing Sonic mobile games such as Sonic Forces: Speed Battle and Sonic Dash. Anonymous sources report that Hardlight saw cuts of up to 50 percent of its staff, a major blow to the studio. The scale of cuts hints at Sega reevaluating its mobile game strategy going forward.

Relic Entertainment Sold

In a surprising move, Sega sold Relic Entertainment to World War Z developer Saber Interactive just 2 weeks after the layoffs. Relic Entertainment is best known for developing real-time strategy games like Dawn of War and Company of Heroes. The speed at which Relic Entertainment was sold suggests the studio’s projects did not align with Sega’s long term goals, leading Sega to cut its losses.

The layoffs at Creative Assembly, Hardlight, and sale of Relic Entertainment demonstrate Sega undertaking a major restructuring of its European operations. After years of inconsistent game quality and commercial performance, Sega seems focused on reorienting itself towards a more sustainable future. However, the loss of key talent and franchises may significantly impact Sega’s portfolio for years to come. Overall, while restructuring seems necessary, the scale of changes risks doing more harm than good.


What This Means for the Future of Sega's Games

Sega’s decision to downsize and sell some of its studios signals major changes for the company and its games.

Loss of Talent and Expertise

With the shuttering of Sega studios comes the loss of key talent and expertise that have defined Sega’s legacy. Developers from studios like Creative Assembly and Relic Entertainment have been behind popular strategy games such as Total War and Company of Heroes. Sega risks losing valuable talent and skills that have brought players to their franchises.

Shift Away From PC and Strategy Games

Sega’s actions indicate a pivot away from PC gaming and real-time strategy games, genres that studios like Creative Assembly and Relic Entertainment specialized in. While mainstays like Total War may continue under new ownership, Sega appears to be moving resources to other genres and platforms.

Focus on Mobile and Live Services

Sega’s restructuring points to a new focus on mobile and live service games, as evidenced by their choice to keep studios like Hardlight. Mobile and live service games are growth areas for the gaming industry, so Sega aims to tap into their potential. However, this risks alienating fans of their legacy PC franchises.

An Uncertain Future

With major changes to Sega’s studio lineup and direction, the future of the company’s games seems uncertain. While Sega pursues lucrative new opportunities, the fate of established franchises and the experiences they provide to players hangs in the balance. Sega’s ability to balance business interests with creative risks that built their brand will shape their next chapter. Overall, Sega's future appears to be at a crossroads, with both promising and precarious paths ahead.

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