H1Z1 Developer Announces Layoffs to “Realign” Workforce

H1Z1 developer Daybreak Games let go of some of its employees just a bit over a month after the game went free-to-play. The layoffs seem to affect various departments within the company, including members of the H1Z1 team, and come shortly after rumors tied them to Columbus Nova—the Russian company that was sanctioned by the U.S.


“Daybreak confirms we are realigning our workforce to better position our company for the future,” the company said in a statement. “Because of this, we have had to make an extremely difficult decision to part ways with some of our employees across various disciplines at the studio. We are doing everything we can to take care of each affected individual by providing them appropriate transition assistance.”

“Daybreak remains focused on publishing and developing large-scale online games and will continue to service our existing and long-standing games and franchises.”

The layoffs come shortly after the United States government froze assets owned by numerous Russian oligarchs that were accused of participating in “destabilising activities,” some of which interfered in the country’s 2016 elections. One businessman affected by the sanctions is Viktor Vekselberg, who owns Renova Group. Renova Group is a subsidiary of Columbus Nova, the company that is believed to own Daybreak Games.

Daybreak released a statement denying their affiliation with Columbus Nova, claiming that their owner, Jason Epstein, is a “former member of Columbus Nova.”

The full statement is below.

“There has been some confusion concerning Daybreak’s ownership and rumors about the state of the company that have circulated from a few online game websites, and we want to set the record straight. We assure you that these rumors are entirely false and that there’s no impact on our business or games in any way whatsoever.”

“From the get-go, Daybreak has been primarily owned by Jason Epstein, a longtime investor who also has investments in a variety of media properties. Jason acquired Daybreak (formerly SOE) in February 2015 and has been the executive chairman and majority owner of the company since that time.”

“We’re well aware of prior statements from Daybreak indicating our company was acquired by Columbus Nova. We have since clarified that the company was acquired by Jason Epstein when he was a partner at Columbus Nova, which he left in 2017. We’ve also taken steps to clarify those facts on our website and on third-party internet sites to ensure that all of the information currently made available is consistent and accurate.”

“We apologize for the previous miscommunication and hope that this clears up any confusion. As always, we greatly appreciate your continued support for our games, and we’ll continue to work hard to bring the best experiences to you.”