UK-based Bossa Studios, the developer of games including Surgeon Simulator, I Am Bread, and I Am Fish, has confirmed the layoff of 19 people at the end of 2023. According to a GamesIndustry report, the cuts represent roughly one-third of Bossa’s total number of employees.
The layoffs took place at the end of 2023, and were made mainly among QA and production staff, and employees outside the UK. Bossa Studios co-founder Henrique Olifiers told the site that the layoffs were forced by a “perfect storm of events” leading up to the end of 2023, including the large number of big-budget games that launched in the final quarter of the year—presumably including titles like Starfield, Mortal Kombat 1, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Cities Skylines 2, Alan Wake 2, and Modern Warfare 3, not to mention the continuing impact of Baldur’s Gate 3, which arrived in August—as well as increased operating costs and delayed funding for new games.
“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 said. “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.”
Announced in May 2023, Lost Skies is an open-world co-op survival game for 1-6 players that looks quite a bit like Worlds Adrift, the airship MMO project that Bossa shut down in 2019. Bossa hasn’t yet said whether the launch of Lost Skies, which was planned for sometime in 2024, will be affected by the layoffs.
The layoffs at Bossa cap off what was a distinctly unhappy year for game industry employees. While 2023 was arguably one of the best years in memory in terms of the games that released, it also saw an alarming number of layoffs across numerous studios and the outright closure of several, including Versus Evil, Free Radical Design, Campfire Cabal, and Volition. Ironically, Versus Evil parent TinyBuild acquired the Surgeon Simulator, I Am Bread, and I Am Fish properties from Bossa in 2022 for $3 million; Olifiers, the Bossa CEO, told GamesIndustry in 2023 that the deal gave the company “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.”