Substantial layoffs have struck at US developer Gas Powered Games just days after it launched its Wildman Kickstarter campaign.
Posting an emotional video on its Kickstarter page, studio head Chris Taylor said that if the developer kept on all of its staff and its crowdfunding campaign failed, he would have to shut the company down and let everyone go without severance.
Taylor claimed that he decided it was not worth risking his staff’s livelihoods, and made the decision to lay off the team in advance.
He then proceeded to ask backers whether or not he should continue with the Kickstarter. He added however that if the Kickstarter was successful, he would try and hire the whole team back.
It is not clear however how the layoffs fit into the game’s funding structure should replacements be required for any developers who choose not to return to the company.
“This is the wackiest video update you’re ever going to see,” admitted Taylor.
“Today we laid off a substantial number of the team. Folks are going to ask, what is going on, why is he doing this. The reason was, if I ran this team through the entire Kickstarter campaign and it fails to fund, then I have to let everyone go, shut the company down, no one gets any unpaid PTO, or severance, or anything. And that’s that. And that I decided was not worth it."
He added: “I made a very, very tough decision. But I have another tough decision to make. And that’s why I’m here in this video update. Now that the team has been laid off, should I continue to campaign to see if the numbers do improve and hire them back at the end of the campaign? If they still want to come back and if they haven’t found jobs.”
“Or do I shut the campaign down tonight or tomorrow, and call it done. So help me make a tough decision. Vote with your comments, we’ll tabulate them. Do we kill the campaign, or do we keep it going? It’s up to you.”
Gas Powered’s Kickstarter for action RPG title Wildman kicked off on January 14th, and has so far raised almost $270,000, almost a quarter of its $1.1mil funding target with 25 days still left to go.