BioShock 2 and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified developer 2K Marin has been hit with heavy layoffs. Polygon‘s sources claim a “majority” of the employees have been let go, possibly enough to force the demise of the unfortunate studio.
Those who survived the layoffs are believed to be hitting the road to the new Bay Area 2K studio started up by former Gears of War producer Rod Fergusson. Fergusson recently scored a point in 2K’s book for helping Irrational Games close out development for BioShock Infinite.
2K issued a statement to Polygon confirming the layoffs.
“We can confirm staff reductions at 2K Marin. While these were difficult decisions, we regularly evaluate our development efforts and have decided to reallocate creative resources. Our goal to create world-class video game titles remains unchanged.”
For its part, 2K Marin always seemed to get the broad side of the stick. Its short history was one of plagued development and misguided following trends from its parent company. Pointless sequels and classic strategy games revived as first-person shooters have proven to not be so popular, both of which are staples of what 2K Marin is best known for.
The studio was first charged with following up BioShock, one of the most critically successful games of the last de. Despite the enormously difficult task at hand, it pulled through with BioShock 2 and turned a sequel nobody wanted into a full blown experience worth playing.
Then, when fans lashed out at the XCOM shooter 2K put them in charge of, the publisher derailed the product for a good few years and put more into XCOM: Enemy Unknown. A good move? Yes, but it came at an expense.
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified wound up in development hell, was reworked and retooled beyond recognition, and saw a cheaper than envisioned product puked onto the scene to poor reviews and even poorer sales.
You can hardly blame 2K Marin for either of these games not living up to expectations, and it’s a shame to see a studio which showed signs of brilliance be cast aside because of bad gaming politics. Here’s to hoping Rod Fergusson’s new studio can salvage this lost potential.
Best of luck finding jobs for those who didn’t make the cut.