Due in large part to poor sales of co-op first-person shooter Overkill’s The Walking Dead, Swedish video game developer and publisher Starbreeze today filed for reconstruction with the Stockholm District Court, with CEO Bo Andersson leaving his position and resigning from the company board of directors.
The company that brought us The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is not in great financial shape. Late last month Starbreeze announced it would be instituting a program to “review costs” and “focus on core business,” which involves developing games internally and via subsidiaries like Payday 2 developer Overkill Software. In a press release issued today, the company says the latest sales statistics for Overkill’s The Walking Dead point to an expected shortfall of cash in January 2019.
This projected shortage is what has propelled the company to file for reconstruction. Somewhat similar to Chapter 11 reorganization in the U.S., reconstruction gives the company more time to figure out solutions to its financial woes. It’s sort of like a time-out for debt payments, making it so the company doesn’t have to pay suppliers and vendors prior to the reconstruction filing. The proposed reconstruction framework will allow Starbreeze employees to continue to receive regular salaries and for everyday operations to continue unhindered.
Overkill’s The Walking Dead is Starbreeze’s first big internally-developed release since 2013's Brothers. It’s a four-player survival shooter set in the universe of the hit television series. Reaction to the game on Steam has been mixed, which does not bode well for its planned February 5 release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
In a separate press release, Starbreeze announced the departure of CEO Bo Andersson. “In this phase, Starbreeze needs a different kind of leadership and we have therefore decided to ask Mikael Nermark to take on the full responsibility with our full mandate for this new phase,” said Starbreeze Chairman Michael Hjorth in the release. Deputy CEO Mikael Nermark will step in as acting CEO with Andersson’s departure.