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Wayfinder, Warframe publisher Digital Extremes cuts workers, divests from Wayfinder

The company recently restructured its leadership team, too

Wayfinder - Three players, taking the role of Silo, Wingrave, and Ness, prepare to face down an abstract soldier forged from the supernatural purple Gloom. Image: Airship Syndicate/Digital Extremes
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Wayfinder publisher Digital Extremes laid off more than 30 people, the company has confirmed. The layoffs were focused on the company’s external projects and publishing teams, which were handling Airship Syndicate’s Wayfinder. Employees were pulled into small meetings Thursday and quickly lost access to company accounts. The layoffs come after Digital Extremes, which released Warframe in 2013, replaced founder James Schmalz with former Warframe creative director Steve Sinclair as the new CEO in October.

The future of Digital Extremes publishing games like Wayfinder is unclear. Digital Extremes is looking to focus its resources internally, and will stop supporting Wayfinder. It will transfer full ownership over the new few months to developer Airship Syndicate, a Digital Extremes representative told Polygon. Action MMO Wayfinder was released in early access on Aug. 17 to mixed reviews, originally supported by both Airship Syndicate and Digital Extremes.

“We can confirm we have made the difficult decision to cease operations of our external projects division,” a Digital Extremes representative told Polygon. “We have had to say goodbye to a number of hardworking and highly valuable team members as a result.”

Digital Extremes had a Warframe Twitch stream scheduled for Thursday, which has since been postponed. On LinkedIn, the company said it needed to “rally 100%” on its in-house projects, like Warframe and Soulframe, to meet goals. Wayfinder developer Airship Syndicate wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that it has “no plans” to stop developing its game. “We look forward to continuing to grow the game alongside our players as we take on operations,” it wrote. “The game has a long way to go in Early Access, but with belief from our players and our dedicated Airship crew, we can — and will! — get there.”

One laid off Digital Extremes worker told Polygon that Digital Extremes was their dream job. “I’m sick to my stomach,” they said. “I don’t know how I’m going to pay rent.” Multiple impacted people were just recently hired within the past three months, they said.

If it feels like video game studios are cutting jobs every few days, that’s because they are — over the past few weeks, hundreds of people have been laid off across the industry. On Tuesday, it was nearly 100 people at Ubisoft. Before that, Destiny 2 developer Bungie went through layoffs. In late September, Epic Games cut 16% of staff, leaving more than 800 people without jobs. A website tracking game industry layoffs has counted more than 6,000 lost jobs this year alone.

Update (11/10): We’ve updated this story with comment from Digital Extremes and additional comment from Wayfinder publisher Airship Syndicate.

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