Elite: Dangerous and Kinectimals studio Frontier Developments has made 14 staff redundant, saying it’s looking to “shift the balance of skills”. The job losses have affected multiple disciplines, including art, animation and audio.
But managing director David Walsh stressed that the company remained in good financial health, and that it was still actively recruiting.
“Frontier regretfully has given a total of 14 people (from a staff of 233) notice that their roles are redundant, across art, animation and audio disciplines,” Walsh confirmed to Eurogamer. “This is due to the changing mix of skills requirements for our current and future projects – it is not a reflection on the company’s prospects, which remain healthy.
“Once we took the decision to make the roles redundant, we felt it was better that the affected people knew ASAP so they can plan any further expenditure over the Christmas period accordingly and focus on their search for new roles as soon as possible. We have provided redundancy arrangements in excess of the minimum.”
Frontier is currently in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign for Elite sequel Elite: Dangerous – at the time of writing, the project has 16,137 backers and has raised £788,047 of its £1.25 million target – and it will be interesting to see whether the move will have any effect on its success.
While redundancies are part and parcel of running a business, successful Kickstarter funding relies on goodwill from potential backers – good will that announcing redundancies ahead of Christmas is unlikely to engender.
More jarring, perhaps, is the departure of staff before the completion of Dangerous’ campaign, though Frontier would likely face greater criticism if it waited until after the project was successfully funded to let staff go. Even though the affected staff are unlikely to have been working on Dangerous, individuals putting their money behind the company may not be willing to recognise such distinctions – indeed, a small number of backers have already threatened to withdraw their pledges.