Start to Six, the developer most famous for breakout hit Zombies, Run! have announced a number of redundancies at the company including the departure of their CEO Adrian Hon.
Six to Start made their name with the motivational fitness game Zombies, Run! back in 2011 after setting itself a goal of raising $12,500 to fund its production via Kickstarter.
In the end it earned almost six times that figure ($72,627) and Zombies, Run! proved to be a smash hit with 8.5 million downloads, 300,000 active users each month, of which - at the last reported number - 50,000 paid for a subscription.
Following this success the scene was set for its sequel, The Walk and more recently the Marvel-themed Marvel Move and the ZRX app platform.
The studio was acquired by fitness and metaverse company OliveX in 2022
Hon took to X (formerly Twitter) to announce his departure saying that he would be leaving early next year after 17 years with the company.
After almost 17 years, I'll be leaving Six to Start early next year.— Adrian Hon (@adrianhon) October 18, 2023
I've had the privilege to work with incredibly talented and kind colleagues on important, award-winning games like Zombies, Run!, Marvel Move, We Tell Stories, The Walk, Smokescreen, The Code, and more.
While the precise number of leavers isn’t known Hon commented that "many other people are leaving Six to Start too, sadly, but many people are staying.” Hon stated that he would be taking a break before starting a new role.
"Games are a hard business. We chose to make [games] that help people get fit and stay healthy - games that people wouldn't regret playing, games that we wouldn't regret making. And I think we achieved that.”
"A little over 50% of staff are being let go"
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz Hon confirmed that, “Six to Start currently has around 25 full-time and part-time staff, comprising a mix of employees and contractors. A little over 50% of staff are being let go, including myself, owing to a restructuring by OliveX, our parent company. Some people are going this month, and others will be staying on for a few more months.
"Ultimately OliveX are facing the same pressures that are affecting the rest of the games industry – macroeconomic challenges that make raising money harder, interest rates, a return to a pre-Covid level of demand for games and digital experiences, etc."
The company was snapped up by OliveX in 2021 with the health, fitness and metaverse organisation acquiring the developer for $6.65 million. It’s not known if a further $2.85 million depending on performance was exchanged.
“At OliveX we're passionate about making fitness fun, and that’s exactly what Six to Start does," said OliveX CEO Keith Rumjahn at the time. "With average revenues per paid subscriber exceeding £25 a year, and with real growth potential, Six to Start will bring immediate value to OliveX. Most importantly though, we see enormous benefit in their global, loyal, subscriber base and the team’s product design and monetisation expertise.”
At the time of writing it’s not known if these redundancies or Hon’s departure will have any repercussions regarding the ongoing running of the company’s ZRX: Zombies Run + Marvel Move platform and subscriptions.