Kotaku reports that two sources said that the cuts were communicated internally at the Santa Monica, California-based studio last week and that 25 contractors have already been laid off.
The cuts were made across the art and production teams, but the majority of the layoffs were made to the studio’s quality assurance (QA) testers. It appears that full-time employees have not been affected by the layoffs at this time.
Sources also said that those who have been laid off will not receive severance pay and that those affected, as well as current employees, are being told to keep the news quiet.
Contractors who have been cut are also expected to work through to the end of their contracts, which are to be terminated at the end of October.
One contractor shared a post on LinkedIn on October 2 to seemingly validate the claims, saying that their “contract as a QA Tester/Development Support Tech at Naughty Dog is being terminated near the end of October.”
Another person, who worked as a production coordinator at the studio, shared a similar post, saying that their contract at Naughty Dog is “coming to an end soon.”
Naughty Dog has yet to share the reason behind the cuts, as well as make an official public announcement. It’s also unclear what the status of the studio’s The Last of Us multiplayer Factions spin-off is, but one source told Kotaku that although the game isn’t canceled at this point, it’s “basically on ice”.
A Bloomberg report back in May stated that development has been slowed down for quality reassessment after Destiny developer Bungie evaluated the game, but it’s not certain that the layoffs are related.
The games industry has been seeing a ton of mass layoffs recently. Only yesterday was it announced that Team 17, the British publisher behind Worms and Overcooked, saw a number of job losses, losing the company’s CEO Michael Pattinson in the process, as it’s now entered a “period of consultation”.
Just last week Blizzard laid off several members of the Hearthstone development team, citing “organizational changes” at the studio, while Crystal Dynamics – which was acquired by Embracer Group last year – also announced a number of layoffs to its team, saying that it had parted ways with 10 employees “due to an internal restructuring.”
These announcements are just to name a few, with Naughty Dog being the latest in the bunch.