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Embracer makes layoffs at Neverwinter developer Cryptic Studios

Several current and former staffers have confirmed there has been a "reduction in force."

Chris Kerr

November 3, 2023

2 Min Read
Key artwork for Neverwinter: Jewel of the North
Image via Xbox Wire

Embracer Group has made layoffs at Neverwinter developer Cryptic Studios. Several current and former Cryptic employees confirmed there has been a "reduction in force" at the studio, although it's unclear how many people have been let go.

Linkedin posts shared by staffers indicate that many talented members of the Cryptic team have been impacted by the cuts, however, with senior community manager and writer Mike Fatum explaining that "many of the best people I know were let go from Cryptic Studios today."

In a separate Linkedin update, Cryptic lead environment artist Scot Boyd said "a lot of amazing people" have been laid off.

Embracer cuts in 2023

Workers across a variety of disciplines including art, narrative, and engineering have been axed by Embracer, which is attempting to restructure its sprawling business to become a "highly cash-flow generative business."

The Swedish conglomerate spent years acquiring swathes of studios as part of an intensive M&A strategy. Now, the company is attempting to pivot away from that "heavy-investment mode" by divesting studios, scrapping projects, and laying off developers across its colossal family of studios.

The company has already made layoffs at studios including Crystal Dynamics, Rainbow Studios, Beamdog, Zen Studios, and Gearbox Publishing. Meanwhile, other Embracer-owned studios like Campfire Cabal and Volition have been shut down for good.

Discussing Embracer's restructuring efforts during a Q&A at the company's annual general meeting in September, CEO Lars Wingefors said the firm will need to "continue making tough decisions" and signified that more studio closures and layoffs are on the horizon.

"Ultimately we are making decisions to either restructure or downsize some teams, and there will be a few cases of closures. It's difficult and it takes time, but we announced this in June and now we're at the end of September and we're confident to deliver on the targets we set out for the end of the fiscal year," he said

Wingefors indicated that Embracer would also consider divesting its studios, and there are rumblings the company is open to selling Borderlands developer Gearbox just two years after it purchased the studio for $1.38 billion.

Embracer has so far refused to comment on specific layoffs and closures. When approached by Game Developer for comment on previous cuts, a company spokesperson said Embracer will update the market on the progress of its restructuring program alongside its quarterly reports—the next of which is due to be published on November 16, 2023.

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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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