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.