As catastrophic layoffs rattle the games industry, FPS legend John Romero says "I've never seen anything like we're seeing now"

(Image credit: Bethesda)

On the heels of 670 layoffs at EA, merely the latest publisher to add to a dizzying list of thousands of game developers put out of work in the past year – hell, in the past two months alone – FPS legend and veritable Doom man John Romero reckons this is an unprecedented dip for the games industry. 

"I've been in the game industry since I was a kid, and I've never seen anything like we're seeing now," Romero said in a tweet. "For many of us, being a game dev is not just a job, but an identity, community, and culture. I am so sorry to everyone who has lost their jobs."

In responses to other users, with one wondering if this layoff tsunami could lead to a video game crash comparable to the historic bottoming out of the 1980s, Romero acknowledges that "the industry was very small in 1983. It's not really comparable."

Asked "if you had to, do you think you could cut anyone from Id" back in the Doom days, Romero replied: "Each of us worked the jobs and hours of two people each (at least). We should have hired, if anything." 

As a bittersweet silver lining, Romero notes that "programming is a great transferable skill, and it is applicable to many industries, including games." 

There have been far too many layoffs in games for me to holistically list here, but to hit some of the biggest recent cuts: Microsoft shed nearly 2,000 people across Xbox, Activision Blizzard, and Zenimax (Bethesda); Riot laid off over 500 staff and shuttered its burgeoning indie publishing arm; Sony cut 900 people, including many at Naughty Dog and Insomniac, and closed PlayStation London entirely; and major engine maker Unity laid off a staggering 1,800 people, roughly 25% of its employees

As developers attempt to "survive 2024," analyst says the industry's "gotta get to GTA 6 and hope."

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.