Earlier this week, Hasbro announced that it would be laying off approximately 1,100 employees two weeks before Christmas, as per an internal memo. At the time, I pointed out that the memo announced “the majority of the notifications will happen over the next six months, with the balance occurring over the next year.” While it doesn’t directly contradict this statement, many layoffs are happening right now.
A list of layoffs at Wizards of the Coast continues to grow—some have been substantiated via announcements on social media, while others are still being verified. Mike Mearls, a co-designer of D&D 5th edition, is potentially among their number—as per a BlueSky screenshot shared on Twitter.
(Image credit: @MonkipiQuinn on Twitter/X.)
Mearls had left WoTC’s RPG design team, and had been working on the design team for Magic: The Gathering.
This has been further substantiated by a growing list at EnWorld, as well as one being assembled by tabletop journalist Christian Coffer on Twitter. While the full scope of the layoffs is still being verified, I’ve collected what statements I can from the impacted employees.
Among this list of confirmed layoffs is art director Breeanna Heiss, senior developmental editor Eytan Bernstein, producer and host Amy Dallen, game designer Dan Dillon, product manager Natalie Egan, senior communications manager Larry Frum, and Magic: The Gathering community manager Jessie Hill.
(Image credit: Breeanna Heiss on LinkedIn.)
One reportedly-impacted employee (who has not yet made a statement on social media I can find) is Head of Publishing and Licensing Liz Schuh. If verified, this will mark the end of a position she has held for over 28 years, according to her LinkedIn profile.
I’ve reached out to Wizards of the Coast, who “are not sharing/commenting on breakdowns on geography or teams out of respect for employees”. Despite asking, I did not receive a comment on what support employees will be receiving beyond being sent a further memo. It’s still unclear whether “comprehensive packages including job placement support” will support the impacted employees through the holiday season.
In the memo itself, Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks (who received over $9 million in compensation in addition to his $1.5 million salary last year) said the layoffs are intended to “modernize our organization and get even leaner”, calling them a “lever we must pull to keep Hasbro healthy”. Cocks has not announced any cuts to his pay or compensation to achieve these goals.
During an investor meeting in October (thanks, Dicebreaker), Cocks noted that both Magic: The Gathering and D&D were having “record years”, stating: “Wizards of the Coast and
Digital Gaming revenue increased 40% behind strong contributions from Baldur’s Gate III, Monopoly Go! and MAGIC: THE GATHERING.”
While the wider health of Hasbro as a company is another thing entirely, it’s stunning that—despite these major successes—Wizards of the Coast is losing so many key staff, with the potential for more redundancies over the next six months.