Raven Software, the developer behind the X-Men Legends games and recent first-person shooter Singularity, has laid off around 40 employees according to Kotaku.
Raven has been scaling its workforce back considerably since Activision acquired it in 1997. The company has gone from three development teams to one in about a year. Activision confirmed the latest restructuring to Kotaku but wouldn’t comment on specific numbers of people affected.
This mirrors 2009 when Activision laid off between 30 to 35 employees after the releases of X-Men Origins:Wolverine and the modern console revamp of Wolfenstein. This is unfortunate as Raven has done some great work. The X-Men Legends games were the first decent use of that license since the days of Capcom’s arcade fighters.
They formed the framework of the successful Marvel Ultimate Alliance franchise that is still making money for Activision. The Wolverine title was possibly a better use of the character than the movie it was loosely based on. If you polled comic book fans on their favorite superhero games, Raven Software games would likely be well represented.
Raven was founded in 1990 and, in addition to the aforementioned games, its lineage includes Quake titles and Soldier of Fortune. Sadly, in this economy it’s very much a matter of how much money you’ve made the company lately.
Raven’s recent release Singularity got good reviews but suffered possibly due to a lack of publicity. You had to be following that one closely to even know it released.
These stories are never good to hear. We hope the employees let go quickly land someplace they can keep making awesome games.