This past year has been both the best of the gaming industry and the worst. Some regard 2023 as the greatest year in videogame history with release such as Resident Evil 4, Alan Wake 2, and Baldurs Gate 3. In terms of content they would be correct, but behind all the prestige of these new titles is a recurring theme that has been sweeping developers and publishers over the past year, Lay offs. These past couple weeks have made people lose count with the amount of companies letting people go for budget cuts, department deletions, and so much more. One big company that has been shrouded in drama the past year is Unity, a company behind an engine that is widely used today. It was reported from Reuters that around 265 employees have been let go due to Unity closing Weta Digital.
Weta Digital was an FX department created by legendary filmmaker, yes the one behind The Lord Of The Rings movies. Unity decided to end their business with Jackson due to budget cuts and to become “leaner”. Fancy way of saying we need money and the best way to maintain it is to delete whole departments. Unity states that they are heading towards a company reset and want to remain focused on the main idea that is game development. While that makes sense, the incredible group at Weta Fx no longer exists.
This was foreshadowed a couple of weeks ago when talks first emerged that Unity were looking to go back to basics and focus on what really matters to them, that being game design. All this horrible news seems to be a recurring happenstance at Unity this year, because it was only a couple months ago when another controversy sprang. That being that the idea was being tossed around for making players pay by hour to play unity engine games. Thankfully the immediate uproar from the larger gaming landscape caused Unity higher to tuck their tails and admit that it was an idiotic proposal. It does make you wonder as to who exactly are the people running these companies that have such leverage in the industry.