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Tales of Kenzera: Zau developer Surgent Studios is cutting jobs

Multiple former employees have shared the news, which comes less than three months after the studio's debut title launched.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

July 2, 2024

2 Min Read
A screenshot from Tales of Kenzera: Zau featuring the protagonist Zuberi
Image via Surgent Studios

Update (7/2/2024): Surgent Studios confirmed it laid off over a dozen of its staff. In its statement, it acknowledged the industry's "difficult time," and said it'd prioritize helping those affected by the reductions.

"I am so proud of what the team have acheieved over the course of these four years," wrote Surgent founder Abubakar Salim. "So to be delivering this news today really sucks. I know we're not alone here, but that doesn't make it easier."

The studio added that its current plans involve further support for Tales of Kenzera: Zau and "looking to the future with our next creative projects."

Original story: It looks like Tales of Kenzera: Zau developer Surgent Studios is making layoffs.

Three former employees impacted by the cuts shared the news on social media. On Linkedin, level designer Peter Brisbourne wrote "the chapter entitled 'Pete Works At Surgent Studios' is coming to a close at the end of the month," and indicated their departure was the result of layoffs.

Former Surgent technical artist Jordan Smee corroborated the news and said they're "joining all the people affected by industry layoffs this year." Over on Bluesky, another former Surgent employee said they have "officially been laid off."

The reports come less than three months after Tales of Kenzera hit shelves. The EA-published metroidvania launched on April 23 for Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X | S, and PC.

It received praise from critics and players alike, and currently boasts a 'very positive' rating on Steam from over 400 user reviews. It's unclear how well the game sold.

Surgent was founded by Abubakar Salim and is billed as a transmedia studio with "a pioneering philosophy to storytelling across film, television, games, and emerging platforms."

The company has previously worked on films including Wild Goat Surf, Essex Girls, and Measure. Tales of Kenzera was Surgent's first game project.

Layoffs have become commonplace in the game industry over the past year. Major players including Microsoft, Sony, EA, Embracer Group, Take-Two, and more have collectively axed thousands of jobs, shuttered studios, and canned projects in a purported bid to deliver sustainability and growth.

Game Developer has reached out to Surgent for comment. 

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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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