In a surprising turn of events, the indie gaming community is bidding adieu to a beloved player in the field. Indie publisher Versus Evil, known for its decade-long journey in delivering top-notch indie games, has officially closed its doors. The news came as a shock to both fans and employees, especially considering the timing – right at the onset of the Christmas break.
The heartfelt announcement surfaced through Lance James, the head of production, who took to Twitter to share the unfortunate news. “Welp. That was a fun 10-year ride. The entire Versus Evil team has just been laid off,” he expressed with a touch of sadness. Notably, he clarified that this decision wasn’t made willingly by Versus Evil but was rather imposed on them.
Welp. That was a fun 10 year ride. The entire Versus Evil team has just been laid off.
— Lance James (@Myll_Erik) December 22, 2023
The somber revelation continued with Francis Finke, the product strategy director, who took to LinkedIn to share the depth of the situation. “Entire 13-person company, Versus Evil, laid off today, December 22, at the start of our Christmas break,” he wrote. A rare glimpse into the human side of the industry, Finke went on to list the names, positions, and experiences of those affected by the layoffs.
The studio itself joined the conversation, tweeting, “Today is a sad day. After 10 wonderful years, Versus Evil is shutting its doors. We’ve loved bringing you the best indie games we could find & sharing so many happy memories with you all, our amazing community! From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU for everything!”
Today is a sad day. After 10 wonderful years, Versus Evil is shutting its doors. We’ve loved bringing you the best indie games we could find & sharing so many happy memories with you all, our amazing community! From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU for everything! ♥️
— Versus Evil 🛡️ (@vs_evil) December 22, 2023
This abrupt closure comes merely weeks after the disheartening news of TinyBuild’s internal developer, Hakjak Studios, meeting a similar fate. The wave of closures and layoffs raises poignant questions about the gaming industry’s dual nature in 2023 – a year that has seen the release of stellar games like Baldur’s Gate 3, Zelda 2, Cocoon, Alan Wake 2, Banished Vault, and many more.
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Bertie, in a thought-provoking write-up, grapples with the paradox of a year filled with gaming triumphs juxtaposed with industry hardships. “How is it that 2023 can have been one of the best years in memory for games but also one of the worst years in memory for games, and for the gaming industry?” he ponders.
“We should be talking about 2023 as one of the years that will go down in history for games, like 2007 did. We’ve had Baldur’s Gate 3, Zelda 2, Cocoon, Alan Wake 2, Banished Vault, and – genuinely – so many more. We’ve been giddy all year at Eurogamer at the relentless quality on show. We ought to be celebrating now during this end of year period, and we will celebrate. We can’t do that alone, because there’s another story we cannot ignore: layoffs.”
As the gaming community reflects on the highs and lows of 2023, the closure of Versus Evil stands out as a poignant chapter in the industry’s ever-evolving narrative. The camaraderie, passion, and dedication that marked their journey will be fondly remembered by gamers worldwide, underscoring the human side of an industry that is not immune to the challenges of change. Indie publisher Versus Evil, you will be missed.