Recently, WhatPumpkin, the primary force behind the webcomic Homestuck as well as video game spinoff Hiveswap, had a round of layoffs. Specifically, a large amount of the primary development team behind Hiveswap was let go. Due to NDAs, those who were ready to speak to us were cautious about what they could say, and didn’t want to be named, but many of them pointed to the new owner of the Homestuck IP, VIZ Media, as the reason behind the layoffs, instead of WhatPumpkin itself.
An anonymous source claimed the layoffs were purely due to VIZ restructuring, and they didn’t take the needs of WhatPumpkin staff into account. Upper management at the company stood by those in the crosshairs, and fought to keep their jobs.
VIZ has recently announced that, while development of Hiveswap is continuing, they will be shifting focus for the time being to the smaller “Friendship Simulators” called Friendsims, where you befriend characters that were previously announced for the next episode of Hiveswap. According to other public posts by the former development team, a good chunk of their work will still be used in the final version of Hiveswap‘s Act Two.
Those I spoke to were very adamant about WhatPumpkin and Homestuck creator Andrew Hussie fighting for the employees that were let go. Many of the staff also sounded hopeful that their involvement with the project wouldn’t be severed forever, as pretty much everyone I spoke to said they hope fans support the Friendsims so VIZ is more inclined to hire people back.
Both WhatPumpkin and VIZ Media have yet to respond to questions sent to them, but this will be updated if and when they do respond.