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Layoffs at Wooga as studio refocuses on story-driven games

Casual games firm plans restructure as it seeks to become market leader in its field

Wooga has announced a change in strategy that sadly has led to multiple employees being laid off.

Roughly 30 employees have been dismissed as the firm concentrates its efforts on story-driven casual games, following the ongoing success of Hidden Object titles such as Pearl's Peril and June's Journey.

"This decision was not one we took lightly but is necessary in order to fulfil our ambitions to become a market leader in this segment," co-founder and CEO Jens Begemann wrote in an official blog post.

"Change is always difficult and it is sad to see friends go. We will do our best to support the employees affected as part of this shift in strategy and ensure the transition to the next step in their career is as easy as possible."

The layoffs come ahead of an internal restructure that aims to better position Wooga to create more successful games. Begemann notes that the firm has previously been organised into studios, one for each genre the company operates in. Each team handled the entire development cycle for their products.

"Going forward, this will change," he explained. "We are currently enacting changes that will see is become organised around lifecycles and allow teams to focus on and become experts in specific development phases."

The restructure has been inspired in part by Pearl's Peril, one of the company's biggest successes. Launched in 2013, Begemann says the game has "far exceeded our initial expectations" and continues to engage an active audience as it enters its fifth year.

Wooga applied what it had learned from this title to last year's release, June's Journey, which is already one of the company's biggest titles with a "sizeable following of loyal players."

Begemann added: "The success of both titles have been clear indicators that story can be a powerful development tool and will play an important role in the future of casual games."

Wooga previously restructured two years ago when a change in strategy prompted the closure of its Black Anvil Games team, which focused on core titles, and its Japanese office.

In that instance, 40 employees were laid off as the company structured itself around three genres - puzzle, hidden object and casual simulation - with one studio handling each genre.

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