Six Days in Fallujah developer Atomic Games is making cuts to its workforce as the group continues in its struggle to secure publisher support.
The company declined to reveal how many of its 75 staff were let go last week, or indeed at what stage the Fallujah project is at, yet an anonymous source claims that only a skeleton crew of“less than half a dozen” remains.
The layoffs mark a significant turnaround for the North Carolina-based studio, which initially had its Iraq War third-person-shooter backed by Konami, before the publisher pulled out due to severe public backlash.
Atomic’s controversial title is based on the Second Battle of Fallujah, which took place in 2004 during the Iraq War and saw civilian casualties and losses from both the US military and Iraqi insurgents. An initial PR campaign gave the title much exposure, yet it was condemned as a cheap shock-tactic by many observers.
“Due to a mixture of fears about the edgy subject matter of Six Days In Fallujah, as well as low videogame sales this summer, we have been unable to secure full-scale funding from a major publisher,” said Atomic Games in a written statement.
“This has caused us to reduce the size of our studio today. Development at Atomic will continue with a smaller team that will be funded by our sister company, Destineer.”
“We wish to assure the dozens of marine veterans who have collectively invested hundreds of hours in this project that, while we have been badly wounded, we will fight on. The stories of your brothers' courage and sacrifice in Fallujah must be shared with the world,” the developer added.
“All of the 75 people in the Atomic studio have stayed with us until this week. This is a testament not just to their commitment to Six Days In Fallujah, but also to their character when faced with adversity and personal financial risk.”
Yet an anonymous source has told IndustryGamers that the layoffs at Atomic have been substantial, with less than half a dozen staff remaining.
“The remaining team is basically a skeleton cleanup crew that will be gone soon too. They are trying to downplay the extent of these layoffs, but the reality is that Atomic is pretty much dead," the source said.
Atomic Games has yet to respond to the source’s claim. Develop is seeking comment.