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PlayStation staff cuts include up to 20% of LittleBigPlanet studio Media Molecule

PlayStation staff cuts include up to 20% of LittleBigPlanet studio Media Molecule
At one point LittleBigPlanet and Sackboy were PlayStation mascots (Picture: Sony)

A second PlayStation studio has reportedly suffered layoffs, as British developer Media Molecule and Visual Arts both see cuts.

The video games industry has seen far too many layoffs already this year, with a spate of them starting last month, that affected everyone from Microsoft to Team17 . It seems the problem is still ongoing though, with two of Sony’s internal studios reportedly involved.

The first was Sony’s Visual Arts group, a support studio that works with other developers and which lost a number of senior staff earlier in the week – although the exact number is unknown.

And now 15 to 20% of staff at LittleBigPlanet and Dreams creator Media Molecule have been let go, although Sony has so far not confirmed the cutbacks and employees were apparently only told this morning. [ Update: Media Molecule has confirmed the cuts in the tweet below.]

The layoffs no doubt stem from the fact that support for game creation tool Dreams was ended back in April , although at the time it was said that Media Molecule were working on a new, so far unannocued game – that is not Dreams 2.

Around 20 staff in total are believed to have been let go from the studio in Guildford, according to a report from GLHF .

Most of these layoffs, from all the various different companies, have been attributed to them staffing up during the pandemic, when video game usage saw a sharp increase – even if it’s now fallen back to normal.

A message from Media Molecule. — Media Molecule (@mediamolecule) October 24, 2023

Clearly there are other factors involved, but the other news from Sony this week has been the exit of head of internal production Connie Booth, who has been at the company almost since the birth of PlayStation.

She’s never been in the public eye, and most gamers have probably never heard of her, but she’s been involved in almost all first party titles since then, as well as many third party titles and exclusives.

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Her exit was first mentioned by former Sony developer David Jaffe, who called it, ‘sad, frustrating, potentially super disrespectful news’ and added that ‘the Sony we all came up with is mostly dead.’

As with Media Molecule, no official announcement has been made and it’s unclear whether Booth has left of her own accord or was laid off.

According to Jaffe, she will be replaced by Angie Smets from Horizon developer Guerilla Software. Guerilla Games’ Hermen Hulst became the head of PlayStation’s Worldwide Studios in 2019.

Sad, frustrating, potentially super disrespectful news dropping tomorrow about Playstation if my sources are correct. I talk around it in this members only video but in less than 24 hours I’m sure the journalists will get hold of it and tell the tale. It’s not a lock but these 2… — David Jaffe (@davidscottjaffe) October 23, 2023

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