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Just a few weeks after the launch of Agents of Mayhem, Volition has reportedly laid off more than 30 of its employees. While no further information has been provided, it seems likely that the downsizing is tied to the game's performance, or lack thereof.
This news comes to us via Kotaku, who noted that Volition was previously working with about 200 employees. In other words, dropping an excess of 30 members of the team isn't exactly a small percentage. Also noteworthy is that those ranks include general manager Dan Cermak.
Despite that fact, we can't flat-out say the layoffs were the result of poor game sales. Sales figures for the game have not been provided but, given the general lack of conversation surrounding the game, we think it's fair to guess that the game did not rake in the big bucks. Also, according to the initial report, multiple sources noted that sales of Agents of Mayhem were underwhelming so, again, that seems like a likely contribution to the loss of staff.
Following the shift in studio ownership, Volition brought out a sort standalone expansion to the world of Saints Row called Gat out of Hell. The reception was lukewarm, which may have helped spur the studio on to developing a new game, Agents of Mayhem. While set in the same universe, Agents plays quite a bit differently than Saints Row. It's less about open-world mayhem and more focused on completing missions as a customizable team of three operatives. Given the reviews we've perused, it seems like many folks felt the game's biggest flaw was the fact that it wasn't a new Saints Row.
But while poor performance could certainly be a reason for the downsizing at Volition, there's also the fact that this kind of staff roulette is common following the completion of a game, especially at a bigger studio with many members on contract for that single game. If it was determined Agents of Mayhem was basically done and wouldn't need further support, the layoffs could have come as a result. Then again, we're talking about a sixth of a studio getting axed here, so that line of thinking doesn't seem to hold as much water.
We understand that business decisions have to be made and, yes, those frequently have an impact on many employees. But we still hate to see talented men and women pack up their desks and hit the road. We hope everyone lands on their feet with a quickness.