Kerbal Space Program 2 producer confirms mass layoffs, contradicting CEO’s remarks

A producer on Kerbal Space Program 2 has confirmed that those working on the space flight sim are being laid off en masse. We already knew that the developers at Intercept Games would be losing their jobs thanks to a closure announcement from Washington State. Until remarks from Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two Interactive, muddied the waters. Zelnick refused to acknowledge that the studio was being closed when asked by a reporter, even going so far as to claim the opposite. “We didn’t shutter those studios,” he told IGN. But it seems clear from one producer’s testimony that Zelnick’s remarks are inaccurate.

“The team at Intercept Games will be laid off as of June 28th so a great group will be out and about looking for their new roles. As will I,” said senior design manager Quinn Duffy in a post on LinkedIn. Duffy has been working at the studio in its final months.

“I got to know the designers pretty well in my all-too-brief time there,” he said. “These are some fantastically smart and talented people and I’m happy to vouch for their qualities.”

Intercept Games was not the only studio to be affected by Take-Two’s decision to “rationalize” hundreds of people out of their livelihoods. Roll7, the creators of OlliOlli World and Rollerdrome, are also reportedly being completely closed. We’ve asked folks at Roll7 and Intercept Games for comment to clarify Zelnick’s remarks, but so far no word.

To those affected the reality appears obvious. The studios are being closed. So why doesn’t the CEO admit as much? Jason Schreier of the Washington Post points out that Take-Two behaved in a similar way with 2K Marin, a studio they shut down in 2013. Although that studio has not been operating for 11 years, executives have never admitted to closing the studio in plain language.

It’s hard to know what Zelnick (or his PR people) are thinking when they commit to inscrutable language that seems to defy reality. It is possible that, since the process of closure is ongoing, there are legal reasons (or tax reasons (or both)) behind the reluctance to state clear facts.

To close a limited company in the UK in the most simple (and cheapest) way is known as “striking off”, and costs as little as £10. However, one condition is that the company needs to have assets less than £25,000. Otherwise you need to go through a “liquidation” process, which can cost a lot more. Since it takes time to offload assets and get affairs in order, it’s possible Zelnick has been advised not to confirm any closures explicitly yet, even though notice has been served to staff. It is also possible that company names like Intercept or Roll7 are being treated as resources in themselves. In other words, the corporation may not want to close the studios in the legal sense, but instead leave them dormant on paper. Like that bit in Indiana Jones were the US government stacks the Ark of the Covenant away into a vast stockpile of looted perils.

But I don’t know. This is all thoughts-out-loud. I’m not an accountant or a corporate lawyer. Nor do I have any inside knowledge about Take Two’s practices when it comes to auto-cannibalising and absorbing the life force of its child companies. Nevertheless, we’ve reached out to them for comment too.

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