A FunPlus subsidiary studio has reportedly been through significant restructuring with only a "skeleton crew" remaining, giving a rise in doubts as to its future.
The studio in question, Imagendary Studios, was founded back in 2020 by Wei Wang, a former artist at Blizzard. It was later acquired by FunPlus in April 2021, and now, just over two years later, the state of the studio is uncertain.
As of yet, no first game has been announced by Imagendary despite prior word of hiring developers for an action-adventure title. The developer’s intention was to provide "AAA cross-platform experiences to gamers worldwide".
As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, recent company reviews have noted the widespread layoffs with many employees leaving over the summer, including head of studio Ryan Pollreisz, design director Michael Brinker, audio director Jason Hayes and principal effects artist Matt Cordner; it was only last year that these key team members were revealed to be on board.
Further insight comes from former Imagendary artist David Luong, who shared broader concerns around "a recessive industry", AI and the growing tech and gaming "zeitgeist" on LinkedIn.
"This dream is done, Imagendary Studios has deeply restructured, and most of us were laid off. I remained on as one of the last skeleton crew members to tidy some things up," Luong said. "We got to develop things that were never done before or documented, and I hope we can release some of that work in the future."
The impact of AI has been hard to ignore this year, influencing many developers’ strategies going forward from Homa to Roblox. Focusing on generative AI specifically, Homa recently hosted an AI hackathon and Roblox is "just at the beginning" of its artificial intelligence journey.
Sharing a similar sentiment, Scriptic’s Nihal Tharoor recently discussed AI as an additional creative tool, not a replacement.