The Multiplayer Witcher Spin-Off Game Reboots, Lays Off Developers
CD Projekt Red has a bunch of Witcher games in various stages of development, and one of them appears to have just undergone a major overhaul. Project Sirius, a multiplayer Witcher spin-off has “changed,” and the studio is laying off close to 30 developers who are working on it, CDPR confirmed to Kotaku.
Project Sirius was first announced last October alongside plans for a new Witcher trilogy and an open-world remake of the first game in the series by an outside studio. CDPR’s recently acquired indie studio, The Molasses Flood, known for The Flame in the Flood, was meant to be the main team behind Project Sirius, which would offer the option for single-player, and, for the first time in a Witcher game, would also include multiplayer.
It’s unclear now if that’s still on the table. Back in March, CDPR revealed a massive write-off for costs associated with its development, and now developers at The Molasses Flood have reported being laid off on May 11 after CDPR finished “defining a new framework” for the game.
“Because the project changed, so has the composition of the team that’s working on it–mainly on The Molasses Flood’s side,” a spokesperson for CDPR told Kotaku. “The concrete number of employees we parted ways with is 21 team members in the US and eight 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.
— Robert Bailey (@thrownerror) May 12, 2023
The company declined to say anything further about the game, or what precipitated the change in direction and layoffs. “Yesterday I was laid off from Molasses Flood,” tweeted now former technical narrative designer, Robert Bailey, on May 12. “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.”
The Molasses Flood is based in Massachusetts and was founded back in 2014 by former Halo, BioShock, and Guitar Hero developers. It was acquired by CDPR in 2021, who said at the time that the team would retain its own identity and not be merged with the Cyberpunk 2077 studio. The Molasses Flood team was fairly small prior to the acquisition, and it’s not clear how many developers are left following the layoffs.
In addition to its slate of Witcher games, CDPR is also currently working on a massive paid expansion for Cyberpunk 2077 called Phantom Liberty as well as a sequel to the first game that will include multiplayer content. That project, like many others at the Polish company, likely remains several years away.
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