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December 8, 2019
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Gumi lays off 32 with closure of Gumi Europe

Gumi lays off 32 with closure of Gumi Europe

June 28, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

Gumi has shut down both its Paris-based Gumi Europe studio and the mobile game Brave Frontier: The Last Summoner that studio launched in late 2018.

According a statement from the French game union STJV picked up by GamesIndustry, the 32 employees affected by the closure have published a list of grievances about Gumi’s management both before and now after the closure.

The staff say Gumi has failed to provide more than minimal severance and support to those laid off with the closure, and that it hasn’t made an adequate effort to find alternative positions for those who now find themselves without a job. They point out that Gumi EU receives public funding in the form of a 1.5 million euro tax credit “while at the same time destroying jobs without considering ways to preserve them.”

“The decision appears to have been taken by Gumi Inc. as soon as October 2018, the workers’ representative was only told about it officially in April 2019, after 6 months of a demotivating atmosphere of uncertainty taking hold on the studio,” reads the statement. “[By] April 2019, [the] date at which the employees finally learned about the studio’s closure, more than 20 people left the company after their contracts were not renewed or following their resignation due to the lack of motivation. This [led] to several departments being unable to operate correctly and having to resort to makeshift solutions in order to keep running the game and release new content for the community every week, a crucial element with the free to play economic model.”

For context, the studio’s mobile game Brave Frontier: The Last Summoner released in September 2018. The team says that by February 2019 the studio was operating without a marketing department and, two months later, internal QA had dwindled to just two interns.

The full statement penned by the studio’s employees can be read on the STJV website, and contains a more detailed breakdown of the studio’s final year according to those affected by the closure. The staff say the are asking Gumi to reconsider and reevaluate the severance being offered to those affected, and says they are considering legal action if Gumi fails to meet those demands. 

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