It looks like more Embracer studios have been hit with layoffs. 3D Realms founder Scott Miller (via GamesIndustry), who doesn’t work at the current incarnation of the studio but runs reborn indie publisher Apogee Entertainment, said on Twitter that “a lot of people, including core devs” at 3D Realms and Slipgate Ironworks have been put out of work.
“Several sources have told me this bad news,” Miller tweeted. “Sorry to hear about another drop of the axe by Embracer Group, this time landing on Danish 3D Realms. A lot of people, including core devs, will be looking for work asap. Hopefully they land jobs soon.”
(Image credit: Scott Miller (Twitter))
In a separate tweet, Miller said he’d been told that “at least half the company (Slipgate/3DR) is laid off.”
The history here’s a bit confusing: 3D Realms was founded as Apogee Software in 1987 but rebranded to 3D Realms in the mid-’90s, as the company became known for FPS games like Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior. After years of struggling (and ultimately failing) to release Duke Nukem Forever, the company laid off most of its employees in 2009 and effectively ceased operating, although it continued to function as a business entity. In 2014 it was acquired by Danish company SDN Invest, the part owner of Interceptor Entertainment, now known as Slipgate Ironworks, and returned to actively publishing games like Ion Maiden and Ghostrunner; in 2021 3D Realms and Slipgate were acquired by Embracer Group and put under the control of its Saber Interactive division.
Miller’s current indie publisher, Apogee Entertainment, isn’t owned by Embracer and hasn’t been associated with the 3D Realms name since 2021. “This one hits me hard because I worked with the new 3DR from 2014 up until when they were bought out by Embracer 2.5 yrs ago,” he tweeted. “Quite depressing that this keeps happening.”
Embracer, of course, has fallen on very hard times in 2023. After years of explosive growth, a failed $2 billion investment deal has resulted in massive layoffs across the company and numerous studio closures, including Volition, Campfire Cabal, and Free Radical Design. Embracer estimated that roughly 900 employees, representing around 5% of its total workforce, had been laid off as of November 16, and that number has grown since then with cuts at Fishlabs and New World Interactive.
Neither Embracer nor Saber have commented on the reported layoffs, but a number of employees have confirmed that they’ve been let go.
(Image credit: markiemusicpro (Twitter))
I’ve reached out to Embracer and 3D Realms for confirmation of the cuts, and will update if I receive a reply.