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XCOM 2 Director Says He’s Never Seen Such “Horrific Layoffs” In His 25 Years In The Industry

Jake Solomon, a 23-year veteran at Firaxis, recently announced his new independent studio, Midsummer Studios.

DualShockers sat down with Solomon to speak about his new studio and its debut title, but the conversation also touched upon the tumultuous state of the gaming industry. Midsummer managed to raise $6 million in venture capital, but Solomon acknowledges they were “very fortunate” to do so given the state of the industry.

“It was very clearly different than it was a few years ago,” Solomon says of the fundraising process. “I’d think it was even worse now. It’s sort of a cascade of, there isn’t much funding for new things, then there isn’t much funding for existing things, and then you see the horrific amounts of layoffs which is crazy.”

Marvel's Midnight Suns ghost rider
Marvel’s Midnight Suns

By one estimate, there have already been over 9,500 game industry layoffs in 2024. “In my 25 years, I’ve never seen anything like it.” Solomon remarks. “We feel really fortunate to be in a position where we’re safe, we’re not tied to any publishers yet, we control our own destiny.”

Full Interview

Firaxis Veteran Jake Solomon Talks Creating A Player-Driven Life Simulator To Compete With The Sims

Midsummer Studios is a team specialising in system-driven games, and they’re looking to leave their mark on the life simulation genre.

A recent industry trend has seen higher budgets for triple-A titles as successive releases continue to ‘raise the bar’. A consequence of this is that these high-budget games need to perform even better to break even.

“I played Spider-Man 2, and I was like ‘What the fuck?’, ‘How the fuck did they make this?’” Solomon exclaims. “I swear to god, it seems more complicated than if you made Avengers: Endgame. The movies could not have been as complicated as the stuff they pulled off in this game.”

Marvel's Midnight Suns captain marvel
Marvel’s Midnight Suns

Solomon views triple-A as having evolved into quadruple-A, like Sony’s singleplayer games, and quintuple-A, like Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. “In quadruple-A, you have to be able to do very well with extreme craftsmanship and have an audience. Then you have double-A, things like Helldivers and Palword, which are more emergent,” he says.

He points to releases like Helldivers 2 and Manor Lords as a positive of the industry’s current state. We’re seeing gamers flock to these leaner, lower-budget titles that are built around emergent systems, rather than high-budget cinematics and spectacle.

Midsummer Studios is currently working on its debut project, a player-driven life simulation game. Solomon is aiming for the double-A market.


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