"This decision was incredibly difficult": Relic Entertainment lays off over 100 employees

May 23 2023, 11:48 pm

Relic Entertainment, one of the longest-running video game companies in Canada, has announced layoffs that will impact over 33% of its global workforce.

The SEGA-owned company laid off 121 employees on Tuesday, May 23, and shared the news on Twitter. The Age of Empires-maker cited a combination of industry challenges as the reason.

Relic’s General Manager Justin Dowdeswell and COO Heidi Eaves emailed a message to all staff members on the day of the layoffs, which was also shared on LinkedIn

“The combination of significant project delays, rapidly rising costs, high inflation, and foreign exchange rate fluctuations have had a combined negative effect on our business,” said Dowdeswell and Eaves in a public email. “As a result, the measure of success for a studio of our size has grown, and it has put more pressure on our titles to succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

“All of these factors have led us to the decision with SEGA to reduce our studio size substantially and refocus our efforts.”

Relic Entertainment

The Vancouver-based video game studio behind genre-defining games like Homeworld, Dawn of War, Company of Heroes, and Age of Empires IV previously had 317 employees, according to its LinkedIn page. Relic also announced that it will provide support to everyone affected by the layoffs, including severance, benefits, career guidance, and outplacement services.

“The reality is we’re saying goodbye to a lot of incredibly dedicated and talented people,” added Dowdeswell and Eaves in their all-team message. “Right now, our priority is to make sure we do everything we can for them.

“To those who will be leaving, I’m deeply sorry for the impact this will have on you… To those who will be staying, I’m also sorry for the impact this will have on you. Today we’re saying goodbye to colleagues, teammates, and friends.”

Relic Entertainment

Relic Entertainment is just the latest video game studio and tech company to be impacted by layoffs. Absolute Software laid off 5% of its team in April, Electronic Arts announced a 6% reduction in its global workforce in March, and Appnovation laid off about 20% of its staff in February.

Daniel ChaiDaniel Chai

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