Co-Development Studio Puny Human To Close After 16 Years

After 16 years, co-development studio Puny Human, which has worked on games like The Callisto Protocol, is shutting down.

Published: October 3, 2023 9:25 AM /


A character in extreme close-up in The Callisto Protocol, a game that featured co-development work by Puny Human

The industry's woes continue, it seems, as another studio has been hit by layoffs. In this case, it's Puny Human, a co-development studio that has worked on The Callisto ProtocolTribes of Midgard, and more.

According to a press release, Puny Human is putting a "near-total shutdown of operations" into effect, including laying off all full-time staff and the liquidation of assets and IP.

CEO Mike Sanders says the decision is "heartbreaking and difficult", especially with regards to reducing the staff of "twenty hardworking individuals" to zero.

According to Sanders, Puny Human's liquidation is due to a client "refus[ing] previously agreed-upon payments" and thereby depriving the studio of the cash flow needed to pitch its "in-progress title".

This, in turn, led to "successive failures in [Puny Human's] operating income", for which Sanders says he takes "full responsibility", since he failed to "sufficiently prepar[e] for this outcome".

Players taking on a giant boss in Tribes of Midgard, a game on which Puny Human has worked
Puny Human's work can be seen in Tribes of MidgardThe Callisto Protocol, and more.

Sanders has clarified that the studio in question isn't one that Puny Human has made public.

Speaking on X, Sanders said that each one of the "wonderful studios" with whom Puny Human has made its relationship public has given his studio "wonderful business dealings".

In any case, Puny Human will pretty much cease to exist after these layoffs and liquidations, although it will continue to "support its plugin development and remaining current clients" prior to its closure.

In addition, the studio will be selling off the source code for some of its early projects, and will also be attempting to sell the intellectual properties to which it owns the rights.

These layoffs sadly aren't the only ones announced in recent days; British indie publisher Team17 also allegedly laid staff members off as part of a corporate restructuring effort, and The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog is also apparently letting several staff members go.

We'll have to wait and see whether more information arises regarding Puny Human's reticent client. Stay tuned.

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Joe has been writing for TechRaptor for five years, and in those five years has learned a lot about the gaming industry and its foibles. He’s originally an… More about Joseph