Poor Too Human sales on Xbox 360 culprit to Silicon Knights lay off?

October 7, 2008

Poor Too Human sales on Xbox 360 culprit to Silicon Knights lay off? Too Human developer Silicon Knights recently announced plans to lay off 26 of its 180 employees.  The clues seem to indicate that the lay off might be due to the lackluster reception and sales of the recently released game, Too Human.

In a recent PR statement from Silicon Knights, Dennis Dyack, president and founder of the company, announced plans to lay off 26 employees.  He states that this is a normal business practice coming off of a ramp up of production after a launch.

He said:

“After any big game ships, there is always some attrition.  Teams are lean and mean in the beginning, grow toward the end of the project, and then whittle down once the project is finished.  To that end, Silicon Knights temporary [sic] laid-off 26 employees today while they ramp up on other projects.”

Dyack also stated, “Silicon Knights is currently working on several new and exciting games that will be announced to the public in the coming months.”

It does seem a bit odd that if Silicon Knights were in the midst of starting work on several new games that it would lay off people.  Those resources could be shifted from Too Human onto the other projects.

I’m afraid the real reason may be due to poor sales, which is most likely the real reason for the downsize. Too Human shipped in August 2008, selling around 160k units for the month.  Also, estimates for the past month and a half place sales around 300k.

The sales figure might not seem all that shabby, but considering the development life of the product on the Xbox 360, it may not be enough to cover the development cost.  Also, the costly legal battle from Silicon Knights’s lawsuit against EPIC Games over the Unreal Engine 3 might have put some financial strain on the company as well.

According to Joystiq, a source suggests that some of the employees in the layoff include “a few long-tenured ones.”  Normally if you plan to lay off short-term employees (contractors) the layoff would not include staff that has been with the company for a while.

We hope that this is not a sign that Silicon Knights might be in for some tough times ahead.  Even though Too Human received middling review scores on average, some of the studio’s past titles have been excellent. I am sure this studio will be back with some hard hitting titles in the future.

Check out our review of Too Human for more details about the game.

12 Responses to “Poor Too Human sales on Xbox 360 culprit to Silicon Knights lay off?”

  1. Matt:

    I think anyone competing against MS in anything better watch out…once they manage to figure out how to focus this kiss of death on the competition, everyone is done for!

    Seriously, it may well be a normal thing. Even long term people are cut out when something goes wrong, if some of the blame can be put on those long term people.

    Even if its from some money shortages, that’s pretty normal, too, even if its something that also needs to be corrected fast.

  2. Ivan_PSP:

    Too Human sucks. Silicon Knights has never made anything worth playing. Microsoft is the one that better watch they always lose. Microsoft is already done for.

  3. harry sachz:

    What’s the point of keeping 26 people employed, twiddling their thumbs when you’re in the planning phase of your next game? It’s simple economics, no conspiracy found here I am afraid…

  4. Antonidas:

    Ivan_PSP
    Too Human is a great game! You criticize a game you haven’t even played, how low can you get…

    And for your info, SK was the one who made “Eternal Darkness” for the GameCube who considered by many to be one of the greatest game ever created. This is the reason why Too Human is that much hyped! Though, sad to say that TH is not at par with ED, TH is still a great game!

    You’re love for your beloved PS3/2 or whatever, surely have clouded your judgement. Be a gamer for once and stop whining like an idiot!

  5. CAD:

    @ Antonidas

    That was well said and amen to that.

  6. Ivan_PSP:

    I beat almost %20 of Too Human and i got bored.

  7. youpeople:

    Too Human had the potential to be the king.Geuss they forgot to finish it though.
    It was fun,good story,looked great in HD,But they forgot to add substance.And what’s up with the ending????
    I wanted to love this game,i ended up telling it i just wanted to be friends.

  8. Norm:

    Stop lying Ivan you probably never owned anything that isn’t made by Sony.
    You probably cream yourself when you see a “my first Sony” commercial.
    I don’t believe you own a Xbox or a 360 and nothing you can say will convince me of that.

  9. Maylon:

    I played through Too Human twice and got to level 40, havent played it since but its not a terrible game.

  10. SW:

    The demo was enough to put me off.

  11. Barnabee Jones:

    Silicon Knights has had a pretty good track record up until now. Legacy of Kain, Eternal Darkness, and Metal Gear the twin snakes, were all really good games.

    Considering Too Human was in development for almost 10 years and turned out to be a stinker, coupled with the law suit could really destroy the company. Hopefully the projects they have in the pipe line work out. I would love to see another game like Eternal Darkness… dare I say a sequel.

  12. wiiboy101:

    rare ex nintendo what are they now

    silicon nights turned there back on nintendo and look at them now

    did silicon knights actually think that leaving the best gaming company on earth to make a x360 game was good business I SAID IT THEN ILL SAY IT NOW THAT DECISION WIIL BITE THERE ASS

    I REST MY CASE

    THE CORRECT THING TO DO WAS ETERNAL DARKNESS 2 FOR WII EXCLUSIVE

    BUT 3RD PARTY GAMES COMPANYS ARE RAN BY IDIOTS

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