If you’ve been visiting my site since the beginning (thank you!), you may already know that I’m a huge fan of Sucker Punch and inFAMOUS. There’s just something about being a super human and being able to run around a huge city doing what you want. We’re less than a week away from their latest game, inFAMOUS First Light, a standalone DLC pack featuring Abigail ‘Fetch’ Walker, which is why the news from earlier this week caught me off guard.
It was initially reported on Wednesday and then confirmed by Sony that Sucker Punch Productions suffered a round of layoffs at the studio. It’s odd because not only is Sucker Punch so highly regarded by critics and gamers alike, it’s also a place that you never hear situations like this happen to. It’s unconfirmed just how many people were let go, but from what it sounds like, the cuts were deeper than expected affecting even some of the core team.
I’ve heard a lot of rationale from people trying to make sense of the layoffs. Everything from “it’s what companies do after completing work on games” to “it just didn’t sell as well as they hoped.” Honestly, I can’t see either being the true factor in this. Second Son launched all the way back in March so if the layoffs were related to the completion of a project, you’d have expected to hear this news back in April or May. I can’t really see First Light being the reason as it’s not a full game and isn’t nearly as big as Second Son. The only way I could see this being the case is if they shifted a group to work on First Light while the core team moved on to their next title. It’s possible but with how long the dev cycle is for Sucker Punch, it doesn’t seem like they traditionally create multiple development teams like Naughty Dog, for example.
In terms of Second Son sales performance, from what I’ve read over these months, both Sony and Sucker Punch seemed pleased by how the game sold. The game received a warm reception upon release and Sony even bragged about the game surpassing 1 million units sold after nine days at retail. Unless the sales completely dropped off a cliff after that (which it may have surprisingly), I can’t see this as being a major reason either.
Regardless of why it happened, I want to wish everyone who was affected all the best. You guys make great games and I have no doubts you’ll land on your feet very quickly.