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Layoffs hit F1 and Dirt developer Codemasters

Are the wheels coming off Britain's long-serving studio?

Layoffs have hit UK racing game developer Codemasters, sources close to the studio tell Eurogamer.

Around 50 jobs are being reviewed, we've been told, with north of 30 of those jobs set to go as part of a 30 day consultation period. Around 500 people work at the company globally.

Redundancies are focused on the company's brand and IT departments, which are based in Codemasters' headquarters in Southam, Warwickshire.

One source with an understanding of the situation who asked not to be named to protect their identity, said programmers and production staff are safe, but designers and artists on the Grid and Dirt team are in the firing line.

We've been told Codemasters' F1 team, based in the Birmingham office and currently working on a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One entry in the series, is unaffected, and so development on that game and other active projects continues.

A new Dirt game, in production at the Southam office, is safe, but it may not release when planned. Sources told Eurogamer Codemasters planned to announce the new Dirt soon with a view to an Early Access-style release in the middle of February, but the company has yet to secure car licenses, so this is currently unlikely.

The team behind the new Dirt has been downsized, though, with a smaller group working on the game compared to last year's Grid Autosport. One source pointed out that the new Dirt team has always been relatively small, however, with under 20 staff building the game compared to the 50 or so who made Grid Autosport.

Details remain vague for many staff, who were only notified of the consultation this week. Senior management are yet to confirm how many people from each department are staying at the company.

"As Codemasters continues its programme of strategic realignment in line with market changes, the company has reviewed its current structures to focus on areas of increased importance and decrease resources in areas where work requirements have been reduced," a company spokesperson told Eurogamer.

"As a result of this review, a small number of roles have been proposed as being at risk of redundancy. Those in potentially affected roles are now involved in a consultation period to discuss the proposal. The proposal does not affect the on-going production of titles in development and no projects have been cancelled as a result of the proposal."

Codemasters has suffered in recent years as it struggled to prepare adequately for the arrival of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in November 2013. The company has yet to release games for those systems.

In June 2014 Codemasters released Grid Autosport, then surprised many when it announced F1 2014 for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 only. F1 2014 launched in October 2014 and failed to make an impact. Since then the company has released Micro Machines-style download game Toybox Turbos as well as a raft of mobile games based on its back catalogue of franchises. The next-gen F1 game is slated for release at some point in 2015.

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