Update: The original version of this story noted that 5th Cell was believed to be shutting down in the wake of layoffs. However, studio CEO Jeremiah Slaczka later issued a statement clarifying that while 45 people were laid off, the company yet remains open. An updated version of the story follows.
5th Cell, developer of games like Drawn to Life and Scribblenauts, has laid off 45 people today after a project it was working on was unexpectedly cancelled by the publisher.
The news first came to Gamasutra's attention courtesy of animator Tim Borrelli, who noted on Twitter today that he had been laid off from the studio last week and, upon returning to the studio today, learned that the operation was being shut down.
The studio was also working on a mobile game, Scribblenauts: Fighting Words that was going to be published by Warner Bros. -- until, "WB cancelled [Fighting Words] today so we had to lay off the staff," 5th Cell chief Jeremiah Slaczka told Polygon, "It happened so quick we're not sure what the plans are going forward yet."
Gamasutra reached out to 5th Cell for further details on the matter, and received the following statement from Slaczka:
"Unfortunately, due to a project cancellation, we have had to let go of 45 of our very talented staff members today.
Layoffs aren’t something we take lightly and we’d like to thank all our employees for all the hard work and dedication over the years.
5TH Cell as a company is not closing down, but our focus right now is 100% on helping our staff make the transition to other external opportunities. If we haven’t already reached out, any interested employer can reach us at [email protected]"
As always, if you or someone you know was affected by these events you can email Gamasutra to tell your story confidentially.