Bossa Studios, the developer of Surgeon Simulator, Experienced Layoffs

Bossa Studios, a UK-based game development company that has created titles including Surgeon Simulator, I Am Bread, and I Am Fish, has announced that 19 employees will be let go by the end of 2023. A report from GamesIndustry states that the layoffs amount to almost one-third of Bossa’s whole workforce.

The majority of the layoffs, which occurred around the end of 2023, affected employees who weren’t from the UK and worked in manufacturing and quality assurance. Henrique Olifiers, co-founder of Bossa Studios, told the website that a “perfect storm of events” leading up to the end of 2023 was responsible for the layoffs. These included the high number of high-profile games that came out in the last quarter of the year, most likely including Modern Warfare 3, Alan Wake 2, Starfield, Mortal Kombat 1, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Cities Skylines 2, and Baldur’s Gate 3, in addition to increased operating costs and postponed funding for new releases.

“Resulting from this blue moon situation, we had to make the difficult decision to reshape the studio to reflect the position we find ourselves in at the end of this year, focusing all our efforts now on Lost Skies,” Olifiers explained. “This means we find ourselves in the heartbreaking position of having to let roughly one-third of the studio go amongst them, some of our closest colleagues.”

Layoffs are Heartbreaking

Lost Skies, an open-world cooperative survival game for 1-6 people, was revealed in May 2023. It bears a striking resemblance to Bossa’s abandoned airship MMO project, Worlds Adrift. Bossa has not yet stated if the layoffs would have an impact on the launch of Lost Skies, which was scheduled for some time in 2024.

What ended up being a really bad year for those working in the gaming business was the layoffs at Bossa. In terms of games published, 2023 was undoubtedly one of the finest years ever, but it also witnessed an alarming amount of studio layoffs and the complete collapse of some, including Volition, Versus Evil, Free Radical Design, and Campfire Cabal. The Surgeon Simulator, I Am Bread, and I Am Fish properties were ironically purchased by Versus Evil parent company TinyBuild for $3 million from Bossa in 2022. Olifiers, the CEO of Bossa, stated to GamesIndustry in 2023 that the agreement provided the company with “a war chest that enables us to weather any kind of delays or large investment we decide to make in this new game we’re making.”

Massive corporations like Embracer, which owns Gearbox Software, the creator of Tomb Raider, Gearbox Software for Borderlands, Epic Games for Fortnite, and Hasbro, the owner of Dungeons & Dragons, also saw widespread job losses. Five percent of Embracer’s workforce, or 904 workers, were let go; Epic let go of sixteen percent or 830 workers; and Hasbro let go of nearly twenty percent, or 1,100 workers.