After Paradox Interactive’s decision to cut Hardsuit Labs from the development of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, it should come as little surprise that the developer has had to make layoffs. However, in response to the news breaking, Hardsuit Labs has issued a statement to say that the layoffs are small and most staff have been able to shift over to work on unannounced projects.
The layoffs have occurred just a week after Paradox Interactive made the call to remove Hardsuit Labs from their role on Bloodlines 2, and the news came from what seems to be the most heavily affected part of the team – the narrative.
Narrative designer Nicole Stanford tweeted “So unfortunately there were layoffs at Hardsuit Labs, and the entire narrative team including myself were affected.” This was corroborated by narrative lead Samantha Wallschlaeger, senior narrative designer Jordan Mychal Lemos and narrative designer Anna C. Webster. However, Webster said she was laid off “alongside the rest of the narrative department (and many others)”.
That has seemingly been contradicted by Hardsuit in a statement given to Rocket Paper Shotgun:
“While we worked hard to source some great work opportunities for the studio to move forward with, we were unable to provide work for a small number of individuals and thus made the difficult decision to part ways. This decision was not made lightly and was done so only after we felt we had exhausted the opportunities to avoid such a layoff.
“For the affected team members, with their permission, we are reaching out to partners and fellow studios in hopes that we can assist in placing our former colleagues with new opportunities. We sincerely wish the very best to our former colleagues and thank them for their contributions to the studio and our projects during their time here.
“Hardsuit Labs continues to move forward with existing and new opportunities, as well as current work on several yet unannounced projects. We look forward to sharing additional information on these games when we can in the future.”
We’d like to take the opportunity to wish well to all those affected by the layoffs at Hardsuit, and we look forward to seeing the work of those who remain at the studio.
Hardsuit Labs was developing Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 for Paradox Interactive, the game first announced in March 2019. However, a string of development delays saw the game pushed back from its Q1 2020 release window, then to 2021, and with this latest sting in the tale, delayed indefinitely as Paradox seek a new studio to resume work. Along the way, they also fired narrative lead Brian Mitsoda and creative director Ka’ai Cluney, implying that things were not going smoothly…
In their statement, Paradox said:
This game is very important to us and it has been an ambitious project from the very start. In order to meet our goals for it, we’ve come to the conclusion that a change is needed and, as a result, more development time is required.
We’d like to take this opportunity to honor Hardsuit Labs for their efforts and thank them for their hard work on the project. The studio has done a tremendous job in laying the foundations for the game and we hope that you, the community, will also appreciate their contribution to Bloodlines 2.
Paradox still, to the best of our knowledge, holds a 33% stake in Hardsuit Labs, which was acquired in early 2018 for $2 million.