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Riot Games cuts 530 jobs, shuts down publishing arm Riot Forge

Riot Games is laying off about 530 employees, which represents 11% of its workforce, the Tencent-owned company announced on Monday. The League of Legends maker is also sunsetting its five-year-old publishing group, Riot Forge.

Riot Games wrote two posts about the changes, addressing the affected employees in one and its players in another. The former included details about a severance package, among other benefits like access to job placement services, counseling, visa support, as well as new laptops to replace their work computers if they don’t own one. The teams who were most affected were outside of core development.

“There’s no way around the fact that this is an extremely sad moment,” wrote CEO Dylan Jadeja. “For those who are leaving… I want to reiterate, we are deeply sorry for the impact this has on you and your family. I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for Riot, and for your dedication to players. We’re committed to doing our best to support you in this moment and through this transition.”

The note to players shares a similar sentiment, saying the layoffs were unavoidable yet necessary. “This isn’t to appease shareholders or to hit a quarterly earnings number—it’s a necessity,” Jadeja said.

He also highlighted two areas that’ll see “immediate impact” from the organizational changes -- Riot Forge and the digital collectible card game Legends of Runeterra.

Riot Forge launched in 2019 to partner with various independent developers to create new League of Legends stories. The publishing label released five games in total, including Convergence, Hextech Mayhem, The Mageseeker, Ruined King and Song of Nunu. This year, Riot Forge is set to roll out a sixth game titled Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story, which features a storyline about Yordles. Riot Forge will officially shut down after the game is released on Nintendo Switch and PC.

While Legends of Runeterra isn’t shutting down, Jadeja admits it isn’t performing as well as the company hoped. Riot Games will reduce the size of the team and focus on improving its single-player (PvE) adventure mode, the “Path of Champions.”

“Some of the significant investments we’ve made aren’t paying off the way we expected them to. Our costs have grown to the point where they’re unsustainable, and we’ve left ourselves with no room for experimentation or failure – which is vital to a creative company like ours. All of this puts the core of our business at risk,” Jadeja added.

Riot Games joins other video game publishers making job cuts, such as Epic Games, which eliminated 830 employees in September. Other companies include Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard and more.