Vibe Check Updates – May 2024

Singularity 6 Layoffs, SunnySide Delay, and Paralives EA Announcement

Singularity 6 Layoffs

It’s been awhile since we visited Palia. Let’s check in and see how they’re doing.

Nicole Carpenter (@sweetpotatoes) writes on X: "Palia developer Singularity 6 is laying off 36 or so people (40% or so?) just over a month after laying off 39 people in April. They had a smaller round of cuts in Sept. 2023, too. Two sources said a bunch of people left after the April layoffs, leaving the staff much smaller." Nicole quote tweets the following from April 4: "Hearing about two different sets of layoffs today: at the recently independent Relic Entertainment and at Palia developer Singularity 6. Numbers unconfirmed, but sound like dozens at both."
Nicole Carpenter (@sweetpotatoes) with Polygon tweets about the layoffs at S6 in September 2023, April 2024, and now May 2024

Ooo, yikes. Doesn’t look too good.

Back in August 2023, I reported that Singularity 6 employed around 195 people, at least according to their LinkedIn profile. That means that a month after their Open Beta launch, Singularity 6 laid off team members. It’s difficult to find how many were laid off at the time, since there doesn’t appear to be any official statement about the downsizing.

Early April saw a layoff of 49 people according to MMORPG News. They state that most of these lays offs happened in the creative side of things — character, narrative, and environmental teams — there were also engineers and others laid off on a smaller scale. One animator was even let go of while on vacation. If the math is correct, this would have affected around 25% of their staff at that time, though this is speculation given the unconfirmed number of people laid off in September.

Fast forward to May, we now have another 40% of the company being let go of. In addition to the 36 developers that were let go of, another smaller and unconfirmed amount of developers left after the April lay offs. According to a thread on the r/Palia subreddit, they also let go of their lead developer, art director, and last community manager as part of this move.

In total, this would mean that roughly 85 people have been confirmed laid off. Combine this with the unconfirmed numbers from September and the those that left in April; it’s easy to assume that over half of S6 is now gone.

While it’s easy to speculate what may happen next, given which teams haven’t seen reductions, the end result still remains to be seen. What do you think will happen? Will the company fold into a bigger studio or will they sell of Palia and work on something else?

SunnySide Delayed

Official statement from RainyGames and Merge Games regarding the SunnySide delay. It reads: "Hello everyone! Everyone at Merge Games is really excited to bring SunnySide to this awesome community. After some feedback and updates to the demo, we've decided to give the game a little more time to soak up sun and grow to its fullest potential. We'll now be releasing SunnySide to Steam and Epic Game Store on June 14th! We can't wait for you all to start your farming journey in SunnySide, and are so excited to welcome you to our rural Japanese town! Don't forget, you can play the SunnySide demo now and experience the first 10 in-game days to get a feel for how sweet life in SunnySide can truly be! Stay tuned on all the latest SunnySide news in our Discord server. Wishlist SunnySide on Steam and we'll see you on June 14th!"
Official statement from RainyGames and Merge about the delay to SunnySide

Let me be frank: this isn’t a terribly big surprise.

SunnySide was officially announced back in 2022. When it debuted at GDC 2022, Merge Games intimated that it would be released by the end of 2022. It didn’t come to pass and for the longest time fans had no information on when to expect this highly anticipated cozy game title to be released.

Pre-orders for physical copies for the PS5 version of the game began in March 2024. At the time, an official release date had yet to be announced and there was quite a bit of confusion in the community about why pre-orders were available ahead of a release date. It wouldn’t be until a month later that RainyGames announced the release date as May 24th for PC and July 10th for consoles.

Now, the PC release has been delayed to June 14th. This delay does not effect the physical games at this time, to be clear, it only effects the versions for the PC.

This news seems about in line with what we experienced in the demo. Even after two updates to the demo, when we played on stream we all noticed some strange bugs happening. We had a good laugh at the camera breaks, physics fails, and collision detection issues. I’ll never forget the time we passed out on the bike and the next day the camera was stuck on the bike, which we navigated to using only the mini-map. Ah, fun times!

The developers — Rainy and Sydney — both came by our final stream and confirmed for us that there were still a number of bugs to be worked out. A variety of different things can cause issues for a PC game, so it’s understandable that they would learn a few new things from the demo going live. I truly appreciate that they came by the stream, took our feedback with grace, and set the record straight on where they were at.

Given that interaction, it wasn’t terribly surprising to hear about the delay. Wishing them nothing but the best as they make a truly interesting addition to the farm sim genre!

Paralives EA Release Announced

From the Paralives Pateron announcement: "Early Access Release in 2025. We're thrilled to finally announce that Paralives will launch in Early Access on Steam in 2025! The exact date will be confirmed and announced as we get closer to the release. Early Access means that we are launching the games for everyone to play, even if it will still have missing features and bugs. The goal is to get player feedback so that we can improve the experience along with the community."
Official announcement from the Paralives Patreon announcing a planned early access release in 2025

It’s finally happening! Paralives will finally be released!

We were first introduced to Paralives back in 2019. Back then, the only teasers we had were some build mode tools and already fans were beginning to get excited. It immediately grabbed Sims 4 fans attention and speculation on a release day went crazy.

Now, five years later, we finally have a potential release date!

According to the statement made over on the official Paralives Patreon page, the idea behind launching in Early Access is to get community feedback. Even though many of the features promised wont be available during the Early Access, Alex and team have assured fans that they will be adding things to the game for free as they work the bugs out. What’s even more exciting is the promise that there will never be any paid DLC, only free updates to the game.

Looking forward to getting in on the Early Access version of this game!

That’s it for this Vibe Check Update. While we wait for the release of SunnySide, we’re still playing Coral Island over on stream and have been making steady progress in catching up to where we were before the 1.0 release. Come hang out with us sometime, we’d love to have you!