I was happy to hear last week that Project Sirius, the Witcher spinoff game in development at CD Projekt’s Molasses Flood studio, was back on track after running into some kind of trouble earlier this year. But as a result of changes to the project’s new direction, 29 people, most of them employees at The Molasses Flood, have been laid off.
Sirius was revealed in October 2022 as “an innovative take on The Witcher universe,” being developed by Molasses Flood with support from CD Projekt Red. CD Projekt had acquired Molasses Flood, whose previous games include The Flame in the Flood and Drake Hollow, six months prior to that, in April 2022.
But in March of this year, CD Projekt wrote off a significant portion of the game’s development costs up to that point, and said it was evaluating “the scope and commercial potential” of the game, and “formulating a new framework” for it.
A regulatory report released last week announced that “work on defining a new framework for Project Sirius” had been completed, and that some of the financial writeoffs had been reversed as a result. But shortly after that, several Molasses Flood employees said on social media that they’d been let go. Today CD Projekt confirmed the layoffs in a statement sent to PC Gamer.
“Because the project changed, so has the composition of the team that’s working on it – mainly on The Molasses Flood’s side,” a company representative said. “The concrete number of employees we parted ways with is 21 team members in the US and 8 in Poland (working on the project outside of the US).”
Yesterday I was laid off from Molasses Flood.It’s not as fun to update the bio this time.I enjoyed the work I’d been doing until my last day and would love to keep doing that.If anyone has any leads on a narrative and/or tech design position I’d be happy to take a look.May 12, 2023
I’m sad to say I was laid off from The Molasses Flood. I’m starting to look for new opportunities now. If you know of a friendly and fun studio that is working on a stylized game and needs an environment artist, please let me know!https://t.co/WG9fyS3hBVhttps://t.co/PQ9eJBRLa5May 12, 2023
Yesterday was my last day at The Molasses Flood, due to layoffs. I had been working with some of the best people on a multiplayer Witcher title that I was so proud of. If anyone needs a Senior World Builder or Env Artist, please let me know.https://t.co/BKlCYqEmYz pic.twitter.com/YH6qEUV7v8May 12, 2023
CD Projekt declined further comment but 29 fired employees is a potentially very deep cut to the development team. There were 60+ people working on Sirius when it was revealed last year, and while there’s no way to know how much the team has grown since then, the short span between announcement and running aground didn’t give it much time for expansion. Business-focused social media platform LinkedIn currently lists The Molasses Flood as having 11-50 employees—that’s not a precise measure by any stretch but it’s obviously a relatively small studio.
Project Sirius is one of five Witcher games currently in development at CD Projekt: It’s also got an all-new Witcher trilogy in the works, a remake of the original Witcher RPG that’s being “being rebuilt from the ground up in Unreal Engine 5.”
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