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5th Cell lays off staff as Scribblenauts: Fighting Words canned (update)

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Company chief says studio isn't shutting down

Scribblenauts developer 5th Cell says it has laid off staff following the cancellation of Scribblenauts: Fighting Words by publisher Warner Bros.

The number of staff affected is unknown at present. "WB cancelled [Scribblenauts: Fighting Words] today so we had to lay off the staff," said CEO Jeremiah Slaczka in a message to Polygon. "It happened so quick we're not sure what the plans are going forward yet." Slaczka added that a statement would be released in the coming hours.

Earlier today, lead animator Tim Borrelli tweeted that the entire studio had been closed:

5th Cell was founded in 2003, with a focus on mobile games. Its biggest hit to date was 2009's action-puzzle game Scribblenauts for Nintendo DS, which was published by Warner Bros. It spawned a number of sequels for Nintendo platforms and for mobile devices including iOS.

The Scribblenauts: Fighting Words page is dedicated to iOS. Polygon has contacted Warner Bros. for comment and will update this story.

Update: Here's the full statement from 5th Cell on today's layoffs:

Unfortunately, due to a project cancellation, we have had to let go of 45 of our very talented staff members today.

Layoffs aren't something we take lightly and we'd like to thank all our employees for all the hard work and dedication over the years.

5TH Cell as a company is not closing down, but our focus right now is 100% on helping our staff make the transition to other external opportunities. If we haven't already reached out, any interested employer can reach us at jobs@5thcell.com.

5th Cell lists itself on LinkedIn as having somewhere from 51 to 200 employees.