Tales from the Kenzer: Zau Developer Surgent Studios Hit by Layoffs


Tales of Kenzera: Zau developer Surgent Studios has been hit by a wave of layoffs, the studio confirmed in a statement X/Twitter on Tuesday.

The statement, which you can read in full below, explains that just a dozen or so employees were affected, meaning Surgent is unfortunately just one of many studios to experience layoffs this year.

“This is a difficult time for the games industry, but we remain incredibly proud of our entire team’s work on ZAU and the praise we’ve received from critics and players alike,” the statement reads. “Our focus now is on supporting those affected, continuing to work on ZAU, and looking to the future with our next creative projects.”

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Surgent Studios founder and Tales of Kenzera director Abubakar Salim also shared a statement on his X/Twitter account shortly after it was posted, writing, “This hurts deeply. This is not the news I wanted to share today.”

“I’m proud of what the team has accomplished in these four years. When things got tough, every single one of them was so strong, it was inspiring,” Salim added. “So to have to break this news today really sucks. I know we’re not alone, but that doesn’t make it any easier.”

He also posted links to affected employees looking for fresh jobs.

Before Surgent’s statement, Game creator noticed that many studio employees had posted on LinkedIn and other social media platforms that they were looking for work. The news came just three months after the release of Tales of Kenzera, Surgent’s debut title.

As Surgent notes in a statement, Tales of Kenzera received positive reviews when it launched for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X | S, and PC on April 23. In our 7/10 review, we said the Metroidvania “isn’t groundbreaking in the genre, but it’s lifted by a truly moving story about how to carry on in this world when your loved ones have passed on to the next.”

2024 continues to be a tough year for layoffs in the gaming industry, with major cuts at companies like Microsoft, Sony, EA, Take-Two Interactive, Square Enix, and many others.

Alex Stedman is a senior news editor at IGN, overseeing entertainment coverage. When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her reading fantasy novels or playing Dungeons & Dragons.

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