Home / Business / Staff blame Amazon’s game engine, Lumberyard, for layoffs and cancellations

Staff blame Amazon’s game engine, Lumberyard, for layoffs and cancellations

Further to yesterday’s report that Amazon was laying off “dozens” of staff from Amazon Game Studios, some of the staff affected by the cuts believe the company’s proprietary game engine, Lumberyard, is the issue.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal (thanks GI.biz), Amazon game devs anonymously reported the engine was not designed for multiplayer games, meaning developing games like Breakaway – which has now been cancelled – was like “driving a train while the tracks were still being laid”.

According to some sources, the development issues have been so acute the studio has permitted developers to use other game engines. “They’re still ironing out the kinks of what it means to own and maintain your own engine,” said one developer.

Beyond a handful of games such as Star Citizen or Wargaming.net’s upcoming next-gen F2P shooter, there are few examples of triple-A studios developing new titles with Amazon’s engine.

Amazon reportedly laid off “dozens” of employees from its Amazon Game Studios after shutting down multiple “unannounced projects”. Staff were told on Friday that they had 60 days to find alternative employment in the company and those unable to find alternative work in that time would receive severance packages. Amazon – which established its Game Studios in 2012 – would not confirm how many staff are affected by the changes.

These latest layoffs sadly come on the back of several other closures and cutbacks we’ve seen across studios in recent months, most recently PayDay developer Starbreeze. In a brief statement on the company’s official website, the firm said it had decided to make organisational changes “in order to make the organization more efficient and reduce costs”, resulting in 60 redundancies – primarily from its Stockholm office – by November 2019. This would see the company shed a quarter of its 240 staff as it fights to remain solvent.

Other recent layoffs and closures include Iron Tiger Studios, ArenaNet, Next Games, Forgotten Key, Define Human Studios, Bandai Namco Vancouver, and Trion Worlds. Telltale Games also laid off its staff in a studio closure back in September.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond.

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