Fruit Ninja Developer Makes Half of its Existing Staff Redundant


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Halfbrick, the Australian video game developer behind smash hit mobile games like Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, has made up to 30 staff members redundant, which is nearly half of its team, CNET is reporting. While Fruit Ninja is considered as one of mobile gaming’s earliest success stories and has been downloaded over 1 billion times, times have been difficult as of late.

“Halfbrick closed its Sydney satellite office in July 2016, but maintains an office in Spain. Sources speaking anonymously to CNET estimate fewer than 30 employees remain at Halfbrick’s main office in Brisbane. At one point the Brisbane office staffed 70 full-time employees, 100 globally.”

Struggling to replicate the success of its two hit free-to-play mobile game titles, Halfbrick is now seeing a company-wide shift to move from creating new intellectual properties to maximising opportunities for those two existing brands. These new redundancies are reportedly part of this plan. 

According to sources familiar with the matter, the focus for the developer now is Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, with the new 30-man studio being tasked with working exclusively on live ops for those two IPs.

Halfbrick is yet to issue an official comment regarding the recent layoffs.


  • Aleks Oniszczak

    “Fruit Ninja Developer Slashes Staff in Half!” I think that would be the more appropriate title 🙂

  • Hosaka

    No surprises here. I can’t remember if it was the game director or lead programmer of Halfbrick’s two popular games Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride that left the company and mentioned how the CEO(?) & the studio had changed.

    Can’t remember where I saw it but pretty much the company got greedy. Profits before games. Talented people starts leaving for other companies or starting off on their own. Greedy company can’t/won’t make new games so it relies on their two hits.

  • mcfilmmakers

    Using the word redundant implies that they’re still working but doing the same work as the other half.

  • I thought the trend was buying downloads like these so-called “Publishers” do like Ketchapp. Apparantly 80k buys you enough of a boost to get your app to the top of the charts long enough to be seen so that you can double back your investment in about a week. Which explains why so many crappy games make it to the top. Absolute Games (“Publisher”) claims that they have a guy on the inside at Apple that will get your game featured. I would think that HalfBrick would know about this dirty little secret. What seems really weird to me is that developers allow “Publishers” to put their name down as the “Developer” in the App Store description. They do this to take the proceeds and be in a power position for both credit for the game and paying the developer. To me thats like selling your soul to the devil.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Yeah not crediting developers goes back to the Atari 2600 days. A group of Atari’s best programmers had enough and decided to form their own company – Activision! They put developer’s name and photo right on the box. I don’t think that lasted, but I like the idea of allowing developers to be listed in the app somewhere. Atari even removed an Easter egg from their Missile Command cartridge when a developer dared to hide his initials.