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League of Geeks pauses Jumplight Odyssey development after significant layoffs

"We were forced to choose between pausing development on Jumplight Odyssey or shutting down entirely."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

December 6, 2023

4 Min Read
Key artwork for Jumplight Odyssey featuring interstellar vehicles and anime-style characters
Image via League of Geeks

Australian studio League of Geeks is pausing development on Jumplight Odyssey indefinitely after making over 50 percent of its workforce redundant.

In a statement shared on X, formerly Twitter, the League of Geeks leadership team explained the entire Jumplight Odyssey team have been laid off due to "rapidly rising operation costs, a weakening AUD, poor Early Access sales, and the unprecedented withdrawal of funding opportunities across the industry."

The studio said those factors left it in a position where it could no longer afford to cover development costs.

League of Geeks' other upcoming project, a remake of Solium Infernum, will launch as planned on February 14, 2024. The studio will also continue to support Armello and its community.

The studio has compiled and shared a 'LoG Redundancies' document (Google Sheets) in a bid to help those impacted find new homes. "If you are in a position to hire them, do it," said the team. "You won't regret it. Let our loss be your gain."

In a more comprehensive development update posted on Steam, League of Geeks co-founder Trent Kusters said the studio has been struggling to find the cash needed to fill a huge funding gap.

"To be very clear, this isn’t a case of execs at the top wanting to make an extra bonus, or a call to change 'strategic direction' or any of the other things you've heard big companies say before—this one really came down to our hands being forced," said Kusters.

"This project (along with Solium Infernum) was green-lit and co-funded by ourselves and our pals at Kowloon Nights in early 2021. Since then, costs of wages, software, rent and more have increased dramatically, the AUD (we're based in Melbourne, Australia) has continually fallen against the USD, and we have been unable to return to a studio environment, lengthening development time.

"In a budget’s contingency, you allow for random external factors like this, but all of them increasing at such unprecedented levels was not something we could ever hope to plan for and as such it has created a funding gap."

League of Geeks co-founder says funding has "evaporated"

Kusters said that over the past six month "almost all funding an investment has evaporated from the games industry, and pointed to the ongoing wave of layoffs and cuts that's sweeping across the industry as evidence of that dwindling capital.

"The only projects being backed right now are sure-fire guaranteed hits," he added, explaining that League of Geeks had seen two investment deals fall through in the space of three weeks.

"This blindsided us," he said. "With our deadline for funding fast approaching, this forced us into a position where there was a very real chance of us having to close our doors completely. Sales revenue from the game in Early Access did not give us enough time to keep looking for other ways to bridge that gap. And so, we were out of time. We were forced to choose between pausing development on Jumplight Odyssey, or shutting down entirely."

As for why League of Geeks paused development on Jumplight Odyssey and not Solium Infernum, Kusters said the former was due to launch in six months while the latter is only two months out. "The amount of money required to complete Jumplight Odyssey is 2-3 times as much as SI, not to mention the complexity of console development compared to a game that is coming to PC only," they added. "There was no scenario in which we could get Jumplight Odyssey to v1.0 without a substantial financial investment. An investment that never materialized."

Kusters hopes League of Geeks might eventually restart development on Jumplight Odyssey if the stars align, and said the studio will release one final update for the Early Access title to honor the potential of the sci-fi adventure.

The game will remain on sale on Steam, and for the next 12 months half of the profits from each copy sold will be redistributed to the League of Geeks team—including those laid off.

"League of Geeks was literally founded on the belief that those who contribute to our projects should share in the spoils of our success, so it's important to us that we continue to live that value," said Kusters. "It's at least some way we can honor our friends and colleagues who have given so much to this game, and for new players to support the folks who made it special in the first place."

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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