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Deliver Us Mars studio KeokeN laying off development team

The company now hopes to use Kickstarter to fund a third entry in the Deliver Us franchise and rebuild 'brick by brick.'

Chris Kerr, News Editor

April 30, 2024

3 Min Read
a tiny figure on a red martian landscape
Image via KeokeN

Deliver Us Mars developer KeokeN Interactive has laid off its development team after failing to bring in work.

"We've had to lay off our team at KeokeN because of nothing substantial materializing directly after our visit to GDC. We’ve unfortunately exhausted all our possible options for publishing, work for hire, and co-development," wrote CEO Koen Deetman and MD Paul Deetman on X.

"It is our utmost priority to make sure our lovely team finds a new home somewhere else, so if you have any positions available in Programming, Tech Art, Porting, Level Design, Audio, Animation, Production, Office Management, contact us, so that we can introduce you to the very best people who have been at the heart of KeokeN over the past 10 years."

"Brick by brick" via Kickstarter

Although the wider team is being let go, it sounds like KeokeN will endure in some form. Koen and Paul said they intend to rebuild the studio "brick by brick." In the short term, that means launching a Kickstarter campaign to secure financing for a prototype threequel called Deliver Us Home.

"It has become abundantly clear that what is most important to us and our team is you, our community. You play our games, you make our games shine, you make us feel special as you believe in us," added the pair. "You have showed up consistently in both the good and the bad times, from our debut Kickstarter in the past to our recent video asking for help. Because of you, we’ve reached millions of people. We have always needed you and continue to do so."

KeokeN has laid off its workforce around a month after it asked its player community to help them find a publishing or investment partner by circulating footage of five prototypes. It was a plea that indicated the studio was in big trouble.

"We need your help, and we need it fast. Over the past two years, we've pitched five games to 40 publishers in over 200 pitch meetings. We haven't been able to land a deal—yet," it wrote. "Looking back on the past 10 years of KeokeN history, we realized we haven't yet called upon our greatest strength: our community. You. In the past, you've enabled our dreams and ensured enormous success for both our debut game Deliver Us The Moon and its sequel Deliver Us Mars.

"Thus, we felt it is time to bring our games out in the open. We're revealing the five projects we've been working on, and kindly ask you to spread the word in our search for investment partners."

Those projects included a third mainline entry in the Deliver Us franchise called Deliver Us Home (heading to Kickstarter soon), spin-offs such as Delver Us The Moon: Huygens and Deliver Us VR, and entirely new projects We Are Human and Expeditions.

KeokeN isn't the first studio to make layoffs this year. Thousands of developers have lost their jobs after major companies like Sony, Microsoft, EA, Embracer, Unity, Take-Two and many more chose to sanction redundancies to realize their dreams of becoming more sustainable and generating shareholder value.

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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