Sekai Project (visual novel publisher) allegedly laid off their entire staff today

Shizuka

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,654
Update:

Today, as many of you may have heard, we have had to make a very difficult decision in laying off many of our employees, co-workers, and friends from Sekai Project. The decision was difficult and we are sure it will impact many of them in the days to come and we wish them the best in their future endeavors.

Regarding the Status and Future of Sekai Project

Most of the staff that was let go over the course of the year was in marketing, whereas translation, programming, editing and QC are still diligently working on current and future projects. In the coming days, the company will be going through a restructure so we can be more nimble, focused, proactive and more like the company we were when we first started.

Regarding the Status of Current Projects

Many of you are likely concerned about the status of our projects, including our crowdfunding campaigns but we want to reassure you that they will continue although there may be more delays coming as we try to streamline our processes.

・We just submitted all the necessary paperwork for the EU release of Root Double: Before Crime * After Days and once we get approval from SIE, it can then be scheduled for release.
Project LUX has just been submitted for FQA to Sony. Once that’s been cleared we can begin the process of getting it ready for release on Playstation VR
・Console port for fault – milestone one is in progress with a technology demo showcased here https://twitter.com/projectwritten/status/1026376627280732161
Fatal Twelve fulfillment is still scheduled to proceed at the end of the month. Please remember to update your shipping addresses if you are expecting physical rewards.
・Designs for A Light in the Dark goods have been finalized and will be printed at the end of the month.
・Translation check and re-editing of Hoshizora Memoria is in progress
・Canvas Garden, Love’s Sweet Garnish, is almost done with QA and will be ready for release this month, pending Valve approval.
・E.N.Nach’s, CyberRebeat -The Fifth Domain of Warfare-, is almost done with QA and will be ready for release this month.
・Regarding Gate Vol. 2, this addressed previously here https://sekaiproject.com/2018/08/01/gate-vol-2-the-delays-and-an-apology/
My Girlfriend is a Mermaid!? translation is still in progress. Developer updates will be posted to the Kickstarter campaign as they come
TOKYO CHRONOS development is still in progress. Translation will begin once the campaign concludes
・Engine porting for A Clockwork Ley-Line is in progress but more difficult than expected due to an older version of the engine being ported to a newer one.
Rewrite is currently 35% translated and still in progress.

I’m sure there will continue to be challenges moving forward but thank you once again for your continued support.

Sincerely,
Christopher Ling
CEO

This was shared in another thread:

seems like something is going on at sekai
And a few other employees have changed their Twitter handles to remove any sign of the company as well.
 
Last edited:

TC McQueen

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,771
Not entirely surprised by this, mostly because they've done some really stupid shit over the past few years, like funding a Japanese dub of an American created visual novel, plus a lot of their catalog has a lot of ecchi/NSFW content, so they'd be getting reamed by any terms of service changes from platforms like Steam, PSN, XBL, etc... cracking down on that stuff.
 
Oct 26, 2017
562
Don't have to release any kickstarted Vita ports when you no longer exist as a company. Still sucks for those who were let go.
 

ShyMel

Member
Oct 31, 2017
2,300
What an incredibly shitty thing to do if true. Hope all employees are able to land better jobs.
 

Xita

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
5,424
Uhhh wtf

I mean they’ve gotten in trouble for a bunch of stuff over the years but I didn’t know it was this bad.
 

Eolz

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
7,601
FR
Wow, that's a shame, they brought some good stuff like Clannad and Rabi-Ribi (and some stuff really not as good).
Hopefully the staff lands back on their feet, seems to be coming out of nowhere.
 

MadeULook

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
1,244
Washington State
Sekai has done some questionable decisions over the years but I didn't think they were doing that badly. Sucks for all the staff involved and I hope they get back on their feet quickly.
 
Oct 26, 2017
395
Jeez. They messed up a few times but this seems drastic.I hope those employees find new work and their somewhat recent grabs like NarKarma isn't affected.
 
Last edited:

Theswweet

RPG Site
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
2,628
California
Not surprised. I've known more than a few folks that have been screwed over by their management over the years... I wish the best for those now looking for work, and hopefully some of the licenses that they had gotten access to can be picked up by others.
 

koutoru

Member
Oct 27, 2017
698
Huh, weird. I wonder what would've caused this and what will happen to the rest of their planned projects.
Best wishes to all those laid off.
 

Kalor

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,766
This feels sudden. Hopefully NarKarma lands somewhere else, which it probably will.
 

Palette Swap

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
3,987
I wish everyone laid off the best, if this is true.

I guess we’re never getting Root Double on Vita in Europe now.
 

RetroDLC

Member
Oct 27, 2017
665
Sekai has NEKOPARA, I don't get how they're in trouble. Hopefully all the layoffs find new work soon.
 

Curler

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,918
Oh good, I was hoping someone would make a topic on this, to try and figure what's going on.

What I find most weird about this move, at least now:

-currently running Tokyo Chronos Kickstarter is slate to end in 6 days: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sekaiproject/tokyo-chronos-a-new-vr-mystery-visual-novel-game/description

-new console initiative the past couple months of them porting more things to Switch/PS4

-the talk of them being more "open/translucent" on what's going on in the company, and promising more news on still active Kickstarters (there's a lot...) and news about what's going on with Vita (where they may not go forward with some of the ports, at least, physically)

It's just a VERY weird time to pull this. If it was maybe a year ago, it would make sense I guess, but then now the questions remain: WHO is still running it? Is the company still moving forward with their releases?

We need more info :x
 

Patapuf

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,406
Their stuff is niche for sure, but does it do that badly?

I thought they had a least a few decent sellers.
 

Curler

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,918
It can't possibly be a money thing unless this really is like the most mismanaged company gaming has ever seen.
This was the one thing I was thinking about. Did they just decide to dump their whole staff due to how they have been, in order to hire a more competent one that will actually finish these projects (in adequate timing)?
 

iceblade

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,790
what games did they make ?
They didn't make anything of their own I don't think, but they licensed and released Clannad, the Fruit of Grisaia series, Nekopara, and Fault: Milestone One amongst others.

Pretty sad news tbh, all the more considering they'd recently said they'd be moving more heavily into console publishing IIRC - hopefully the staff can land on their feet somehow :(.
 
Oct 26, 2017
562
This was the one thing I was thinking about. Did they just decide to dump their whole staff due to how they have been, in order to hire a more competent one that will actually finish these projects (in adequate timing)?
I highly doubt everyone on their staff was incompetent, if any at all (other than maybe the management). You don't lay off everyone like this to start over, you do this because you're done.
 

PC98_Audi

Sekai Project
Verified
Oct 26, 2017
167
Los Angeles
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...
 

RetroDLC

Member
Oct 27, 2017
665
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...
It's good to know the company still exists in some form. Hopefully a statement from higher up will clarify what's going on.
 

Curler

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,918
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...
So I guess by this, there is still a skeleton crew available? Will we still more consistant updates via Twitter etc?

Sekai is definately going to need some kind of damage control or statement to clear up consumers/Kickstarter backers' fears :/
 

PC98_Audi

Sekai Project
Verified
Oct 26, 2017
167
Los Angeles
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.
 

jonjonaug

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,929
Huh. Heck of a move.
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.
where's rewrite
 

Curler

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,918
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.
Crazy... Best luck to the few of you remaining, working on bringing (the very old Kickstarter) titles out.
 

Basileus777

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,342
New Jersey
They laid off their office staff, not everyone. Their whole structure was probably way too expensive for the current VN market (especially with Steam refusing to let new VNs release), and they'll probably persist with remote staff on a shoe-string budget like every other publisher in this space.
 

jonjonaug

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,929
They laid off their office staff, not everyone. Their whole structure was probably way too expensive for the current VN market (especially with Steam refusing to let new VNs release), and they'll probably persist with remote staff on a shoe-string budget like every other publisher in this space.
Yeah thread title should say "in-house" staff. Lots of stuff Sekai does (and other English VN publishers) uses contractors.