Warframe developer prepares to lay off staff as it cuts publishing arm

A group of warframes pose dramatically underground
(Image credit: Digital Extremes)

Digital Extremes, the developer behind multiplayer sci-fi shooter Warframe, has announced a "number of" layoffs at the studio. This comes as a result of plans to close Digital Extremes' publishing division. 

This closure also means that Digital Extremes will no longer be publishing free-to-play online action RPG Wayfinder. Instead, full control of the game will revert to its developer, Texas-based studio Airship Syndicate.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Digital Extremes stated: "We have made the difficult decision to cease operations of our external projects division [...] We have had to say goodbye to a number of hardworking and highly valuable team members as a result." 

At this stage, we don't yet know how many people will be affected by these layoffs. However, we do know that these redundancies at Digital Extremes follow a troubling trend of layoffs across the industry in recent months. 

Fortnite developer Epic Games laid off over 800 staff back in September - amounting to roughly 16% of the studio's workforce. Bungie, the studio behind Destiny 2, announced layoffs of its own, as has Assassin's Creed developer Ubisoft and CD Projekt Red, the folks behind The Witcher 3 and sci-fi RPG Cyberpunk 2077. In response to layoffs at CD Projekt Red, employees unionized in an effort to prevent future redundancies.

Despite being new to publishing, Digital Extremes is a long-running developer with over three decades of industry experience. Responsible for the Unreal series of classic first-person shooter titles, the studio would go on to find even greater success with Warframe. A competitor to Destiny 2, Warframe would carve out its own niche with its whip-fast combat and wide range of playable characters. 

Wayfinder would not enjoy the same level of success and was released to mixed reviews when it launched back in August. The title's review score on Steam currently stands at 'mixed', signaling an uphill battle for the developer. Given the volume and frequency of industry layoffs in recent months, it looks as though the Wayfinder developer is not alone in having some challenging times ahead. 

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Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent. 

Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure. 

Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.