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Silicon Knights, developer of X-Men: Destiny and 2002's cult GameCube title Eternal Darkness, has laid off a large majority of staff, reports 1up. The studio is said to have dismissed 72 employees to pare its staff down to a “core staff” of 25. In July, Silicon Knights was staffed by 97 employees and had plans to hire 80 more, following a CDN $3 million Ontario government grant aimed at turning the developer into a “self-sustaining” games publisher.
At time of writing, the studio has not commented on the rumors. According to 1UP, sources have been predicting layoffs as far back as July, with “a disproportionate amount” of Silicon Knights employees updating their resumes on LinkedIn. A number of X-Men: Destiny staff are mentioned in the “Special Thanks” portion of that game's credits; one source calling themselves “SK Whistleblower” told 1UP these staffers were due for dismissal, and had initially been planned not to appear in the game's credits at all. Silicon Knights have denied this.
In 2008, the company dismissed 26 employees soon after the disappointing critical and commercial performance of action RPG Too Human. The company received a CDN $1 million investment that year from the public-sector Ontario Media Development, followed by a CDN $4 million grant from the Canadian government in 2010. At that time, the company's staff exceeded 100, with promises to use the funds to immediately create over 60 additional positions. X-Men: Destiny, the company's latest, performed even worse than Too Human, with scores hovering around the 50% mark.
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