For Immediate Release
PUNY HUMAN ANNOUNCES LAYOFFS AND CLOSURE
Raleigh, North Carolina (October 3, 2023) — After 16 years of operation, Puny Human, LLC is announcing a near-total shutdown of operations, including actions taken to lay off staff and begin liquidating assets and intellectual property.
Puny Human, a PC and console game developer, is on track to eliminate all remaining full-time positions before the year’s close. In the Summer of 2023, two employees left the company, and Puny Human eliminated fourteen additional full-time positions. The remaining two positions will be removed by the end of 2023. The company has also started liquidating company assets and begun an effort to sell certain intellectual property assets and open-source others.
“After several months of necessary silence on the topic, I am announcing unplanned layoffs from earlier this year, and that will continue as we seek to minimize all our future video game development efforts. Taking Puny Human from a full-time staff of twenty hardworking individuals in 2023 to zero is heartbreaking and difficult to reveal to our communities, advocates, and friends,” says CEO and Studio Manager Mike Sanders. “Unfortunately, a client refused previously agreed-upon payments, which deprived us of the cash flow to fully pitch our in-progress title and triggered successive failures in our operating income. I take full responsibility for not sufficiently preparing for this outcome.”
Puny Human was formed in 2007 as a spiritual continuation of the modding group Team Dystopia, responsible for releasing Dystopia, the cyberpunk, first-person dual-world shooter in 2005. Puny Human supported Dystopia until early 2023 while simultaneously developing, crowdfunding, and releasing Blade Symphony in 2013 to positive acclaim. Two years later, Puny Human released one of the earliest titles running Unreal Engine 4, Galacide, a mash-up between the match-3 puzzle and shoot’em up genres.
Since 2016, Puny Human has served as an outside development vendor supporting studios on a variety of exciting and high-profile titles, mostly in an engineering capacity. Puny Human assisted the development of titles such as Trover Saves the Universe by Squanch Games, The Bard’s Tale IV by inXile Entertainment, Tribes of Midgard by Norsfell, and most recently, The Callisto Protocol by Striking Distance Studios.
“Sixteen years ago, a group of tenacious and passionate individuals founded this company,” Sanders continues. “We developed three fantastic and groundbreaking original titles and contributed to more than thirty amazing video games and software projects in the last eight years. I cannot thank our fans, former developers, founders, and wonderful partners enough for their support since 2007. It was because of them that a group of enthusiastic, talented kids were able to build a beautiful tapestry of games, updates, and stories to tell. Thank you, forever.”
In 2018, Puny Human began the development of a spiritual successor to Dystopia, titled Zero Day, targeting to secure venture capital funding by quarter 2 of 2023. Additionally, Puny Human has released multiple code-based plugins on the Unreal Engine Marketplace, including Arc Inventory and Arc Plugins.
Prior to closing its doors, Puny Human will seek to release the source code of some of its early projects and sell its intellectual properties while continuing to support its plugin development and remaining current clients.