Crash Bandicoot developer Toys for Bob is now assisting Raven Software with the development of Call of Duty: Warzone, as first revealed on the team’s Twitter account. While former Toys for Bob employees indicated that layoffs had occurred behind the scenes, Call of Duty publisher Activision, which owns Toys for Bob, now disputes those reports and notes that the studio is still working on the Crash Bandicoot franchise.
“There has not been a reduction in personnel recently at the studio,” said Activision in a statement to Digital Trends. “The development team is operating fully and has a number of full-time job openings at this time. The studio is excited to continue supporting Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, and more recently, provide additional development support to Call of Duty: Warzone.”
Toys for Bob is best known for Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. The developer confirmed that it’s now working in a support role on Activision’s popular battle royale game.
“Toys for Bob is proud to support development for Season 3 of Call of Duty: Warzone, and look forward to more to come,” Toys for Bob tweeted.
The news comes after a shaky year for Call of Duty: Warzone. The game was in rough shape following its integration of Black Ops Cold War last year. This integration combined both games’ progression systems and weapons, but came with a litany of bugs and balancing issues. Since then, the community has been vocal about the myriad of problems the game faced, and it was clear Raven didn’t have the bandwidth to address everything in a timely manner. Warzone remained in this shape from December 2020 until April 2021 — a long time for one of the leading battle royale games.
Video Game Chronicle reports that “virtually every studio at Activision is now working on Call of Duty.”
According to former Toys for Bob team member Nicholas Kole (as originally reported by VGC), this shift has supposedly come with layoffs. “Everyone I interfaced with and worked along was let go,” Nicholas said. “I’m very glad it’s not a [total] shuttering,” the former staff member added, in response to the news of Toys for Bob’s announcement.
Same! Altho everyone I interfaced with and worked along was let go, I’m very glad it’s not a totally shuttering
— Nicholas Kole (@FromHappyRock) April 30, 2021
Another former employee simply tweeted, “I no longer work at Toys for Bob,” with a crying emoji.
I no longer work at Toys for Bob… ???? https://t.co/58NbuvSbZz
— Blake the Non-Binary Robot (@nonbinary_robot) April 29, 2021
Despite the posts, Activision now says that no recent layoffs have occurred at the studio.
Despite the update, the news is notable considering Crash 4’s underperformance compared to recent games in the series. According to SuperData (via GamingBolt), Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time sold only 402,000 digital units within its first month on the market, which was noticeably lower than the performance of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, which sold 520,000 digital units in a single day.
In the United States, Crash 4 peaked at the 11th spot on the NPD sales charts, while the N. Sane Trilogy debuted as the fourth-bestselling game of the month when it launched in June 2017.
This isn’t the first time Activision has shifted a studio into a support role. Following the launch of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 remake, developer Vicarious Visions was moved to a support role by Activision. Vicarious Visions will no longer create original games going forward and will instead provide development help on Blizzard Entertainment titles. Fans worry this could be the fate of Toys for Bob, as well.