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Minecraft Legends developer Blackbird Interactive hit with staff layoffs

Update: A spokesperson for Blackbird Interactive confirmed the developer laid off 41 staff members, which were preceded by the cancellation of many unannounced projects.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

August 30, 2023

1 Min Read
Key art for Blackbird Interactive and Mojang's Minecraft Legends.

Over 40 employees were recently let go at developer Blackbird Interactive. Several ex-staffers on LinkedIn have announced their departure from the Vancouver studio. 

At the time of writing, Blackbird itself has not made a statement regarding the layoffs. They appear to be widespread, affecting employees in departments such as engineering, art, and design

"Breaks my heart to say it," wrote engineer Willem Toorenburgh, "but I'm one of the ones whose time at Blackbird Interactive will be coming to a close. Most of my team members are out as of today, and I'm out as of January 11th."

Blackbird's staff consisted of nearly 300 people prior to the layoffs. In recent years, the studio has released Hardspace: Shipbreaker and worked with Mojang to co-develop the Minecraft spinoffs Minecraft Earth and 2023's Minecraft Legends

The layoffs at Blackbird come days after reports that Imagendary Studios had been hit with "mass" layoffs. And last week, BioWare conducted 50 layoffs with the supposed aim of long-term reorganization.

Game Developer has reached out to Blackbird Interactive for comment and will update this story when a response is provided. 

Update: A spokesperson for Blackbird revealed the studio laid off 41 staff members total. Those layoffs were made alongside the cancellation of several unannounced projects throughout 2023. 

"This year has been incredibly tough on the industry as a whole," the statement reads. "As an independent studio, Blackbird Interactive has always been a close-knit team. Our top priority is helping position those affected for this next stage of their careers."

Already announced projects like Homeworld 3 and Earthless are said to be unaffected by the recent layoffs and project cancellations.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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