In a surprising turn of events, the developers behind Season: A Letter To The Future, Scavengers Studio have had massive dev lay-offs despite the game’s critical acclaim.
On June 20, Scavengers Studio CEO Amélie Lamarche addressed the unexpected situation by sending an email to the staff, a message she had never anticipated writing when she co-founded the studio nearly eight years ago. The email disclosed that Season, a game centered around a woman documenting the world on her bicycle before a catastrophic event, had only sold 60,000 copies in its initial five months. This disappointing sales figure seemingly left the small Montreal-based studio with limited options moving forward.
“Given the current global economic context and Season’s financial results, we have been left with no choice but to make the difficult decision of downsizing the studio to a smaller, sustainable group of game developers,” she wrote in an email the studio shared with Kotaku. “Unfortunately, this means parting ways with all but approximately sixteen members of the Scavengers Studio team.”
Scavengers Studio CEO responds to what has transpired at the company
The remaining members of the studio will embark on a new project that focuses on gameplay, following the recent layoffs. The studio is committed to providing support, both financially and emotionally, to those affected, along with extended health coverage benefits. In a conversation with Kotaku, CEO Amélie Lamarche expressed the weight of the decision, explaining that they had spent months exploring various options and seeking additional funding.
Scavengers Studio was founded in 2015 and gained attention with the announcement of their quirky post-apocalyptic battle royale game, The Darwin Project, at Microsoft’s Xbox Showcase in 2017. After launching the game in early access, the studio shifted its focus to their next ambitious project, Season, which garnered significant attention and excitement after its stunning reveal at the 2020 Game Awards.
However, the studio faced allegations of a toxic work environment in an exposé by Gamesindustry.biz. The report implicated creative director Simon Darveau and pointed to Lamarche’s involvement. Lamarche temporarily stepped down from her position but was later reinstated after an external investigation by Solertia Consulting Group found no evidence of “systemic sexual or psychological harassment” within the studio. Darveau transitioned to a non-managerial role and eventually departed Scavengers earlier this year to assume the position of creative director at a new, currently undisclosed studio, as stated on his LinkedIn profile.
Scavengers Studio is a video game development studio based in Montreal, Canada. The studio was established in 2015 and gained recognition for their game “The Darwin Project,” a post-apocalyptic free-to-play battle royale game. They later worked on “Season,” an open-world narrative game focused on exploration and storytelling.