It seems like the world of western localized visual novels is taking a large hit today revealed by a group of now ex-employees of the company. Discovered by Resetera user, Sekai project staff have been tweeting on their personal channels that they seek employment after suffering a mass company lay off.
Ex-Sekai Project brand manager Frances Delgado tweeted out, “Soooooooo the entire office got laid off today… Anyone hiring?” and followed up with several other tweets mentioning that he does not know if remote employees have also been affected by layoffs, but the entire physical staff is gone. Additional ex-staff members have also removed their affiliation with Sekai Project from their Twitter bios.
Sekai Project is known for their focus on bringing Japanese visual novels to the west as well as publishing western developed visual novels. Recently, the company founded a separate games department where they planned a focus on bringing their steam titles to consoles like PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
At this time, we aren’t sure which branches of Sekai Project have been affected by the lay-offs and whether or not this will put a halt on any of the company’s upcoming releases. Currently, the publisher is running a Kickstarter for the release of the VR visual novel Tokyo Chronos, with a tier for a physical PlayStation VR version.
We hope those that have been laid off by Sekai Project quickly find work. There is currently no statement from Sekai Project about these allegations or their plans following the lay-offs, but we’ll be sure to keep up you updated.
Sekai Project’s Audi Sorlie commented on the matter on the forum’s thread with the following statement:
I can’t speak on how and why layoffs are done cause I am not privy to or in a position to talk about what happens to other employees. But what I personally can say is that no game has been cancelled or anything, I am still taking care of releases for console and even submitted a new game to QA today…
With another post reading:
There’s still staff, I don’t know what caused the restructure and can’t answer for anyone else as I’m not in management outside of handling console stuff. Just that the projects are being managed and handled like normal. I am working pretty hard on Tokyo Chronos right now so nothing there has changed either.
Sekai Project CEO Christopher Ling released a statement on Tokyo Chronos’ Kickstarter:
As some of you may or may not already know, we at Sekai Project had to make the difficult and unfortunate decision to layoff some of our staff at the company. Due to the necessity of restructuring the company to better take on the changes in the market, these layoffs were an unfortunate consequence. This was not a decision that came easily and we sincerely thank them for their commitment and time with us.
So how does this affect the status of TOKYO CHRONOS? Essentially, there will be nothing that will affect this campaign. The majority of the funds raised in the campaign is going to the developer who is unaffected by the restructuring that’s taking place at Sekai Project. Also, none of the staff that were let go are involved with the development, localization, or production of this project. Fulfillment is also being handled by Tokyo Otaku Mode which also will be unaffected by anything that has occurred. Please rest assured that we will see this project to the end and are committed to working with MyDearest, Tokyo Otaku Mode and Limited Run Games to bring you this fantastic game.
At the same time, we are also committed to instituting the proper reforms to Sekai Project so that we can continue to bring exciting projects like TOKYO CHRONOS to the masses. We’re grateful for all the support we’ve received from our backers and we’d like to assure everyone that Sekai Project will bounce back better than before.
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