[Update: Source claims that Atomic is “pretty much dead”]
Independent US studio Atomic Games has been forced to lay off “many” staff members after failing to secure funding for its Iraq-based war title Six Days In Fallujah.
“Due to a mixture of fears about the edgy subject matter of Six Days In Fallujah, as well as low videogame sales this summer, we have been unable to secure full-scale funding from a major publisher for Six Days In Fallujah. This has caused us to reduce the size of our studio today. Development at Atomic will continue with a smaller team that will be funded by our sister company, Destineer,” the company said in a statement.
Konami was originally set to publish the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC title but backed out following a public backlash over its subject matter. Presented in a documentary-like style, Six Days In Fallujah is based on the 2004 US military campaign Operation Fury, in which the US lead an assault against an Iraqi insurgence in the city of Fallujah.
“We wish to assure the dozens of marine veterans who have collectively invested hundreds of hours in this project that, while we have been badly wounded, we will fight on. The stories of your brothers’ courage and sacrifice in Fallujah must be shared with the world,” Atomic added.
“All of the 75 people in the Atomic studio have stayed with us until this week. This is a testament not just to their commitment to Six Days In Fallujah, but also to their character when faced with adversity and personal financial risk. We encourage videogame development studios wishing to speak with the many talented and loyal staff who are affected by this situation to contact the jobs page on the atomic.com website.”
While Atomic gave little clue as to the number of affected employees, an anonymous source has told IndustryGamers: “Out of 75 people, less than a dozen are left and about a third of that isn’t even developers. The remaining team is basically a skeleton cleanup crew that will be gone soon too. They are trying to downplay the extent of these layoffs, but the reality is that Atomic is pretty much dead.”