Another blow to the industry as Puny Human, a co-development studio known for its work on games like The Callisto Protocol and Tribes of Midgard, has been hit with layoffs.
In a press release, Puny Human announced a “near-total shutdown of operations” which includes laying off all full-time staff and liquidating assets and intellectual property (IP).
CEO Mike Sanders expressed his sorrow and the difficulty of the decision, especially in having to let go of the “twenty hardworking individuals” who were part of the team.
Sanders attributed the studio’s liquidation to a client refusing to honor previously agreed-upon payments, blocking the cash flow necessary to continue developing their in-progress game.
As a result, Puny Human experienced consecutive losses in operating income, for which Sanders takes full responsibility, acknowledging that he failed to adequately prepare for this outcome.
The identity of the client Sanders referred to remains undisclosed.
While it’s possible that Sanders was referring to Striking Distance, the developer of The Callisto Protocol, which recently saw its CEO Glen Schofield departing and had layoffs earlier this year, there is no concrete evidence supporting this claim. Puny Human has worked with various other studios as well, leaving room for speculation.
Following the layoffs and liquidation, Puny Human will effectively cease to exist. However, the studio plans to continue supporting its plugin development and current clients until its closure.
The studio will also sell the source code of some of its early projects and seek to sell the intellectual properties it owns.
These recent layoffs are not isolated incidents. British indie publisher Team17 reportedly laid off staff members due to a corporate restructuring effort, and Naughty Dog, the developer of The Last of Us, is also reportedly letting go of several staff members.
More details about the undisclosed client behind Puny Human’s closure may emerge in the future.