Blockchain space project Star Atlas will sack the majority of its development team and put its flagship game on the backburner in major cutbacks.
ATMTA (“Automata”) CEO and co-founder Michael Wagner said the Star Atlas team would go from 167 to 45, without giving a timetable for the restructuring. The team had already been cut from a height of 235 in 2022, meaning 190 staff will have been sacked in the space of less than a year.
In a 6-page letter to his team and the Star Atlas community, Wagner said the cutbacks were necessary after two big capital raising opportunities fell through earlier this year.
Wagner also listed the loss of $15m from the FTX collapse, a tax bill of $30m, and a reduction in value of the ATLAS token as reasons for the financial crisis.
He said the remaining team members would focus on building the SAGE game and the “mobile crew companion app”. SAGE (“Star Atlas Golden Era”) is a browser-based strategy game. The phone-based Companion app – announced less than a week ago – combines physical activity and blockchain play-to-earn mechanics.
Neither game has been the core focus of Star Atlas marketing to date, which has centred on the Unreal Engine 5 MMORPG under development.
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“Even with a reduced scope and delayed timeline on our Unreal Engine product line, we believe it still has immense potential,” wrote Wagner in the letter.
“While the team size is much smaller, we will be more agile and fully capable of delivering on our prioritized products and maintaining all other existing products.”
Wagner said the company was reducing all costs where possible.
“To demonstrate our commitment to the team and to being in this together, each of the founders will be reducing their fixed compensation by a material amount.”
Wagner personally would be taking “the minimum salary necessary to maintain exemption (no hourly tracking) compliance under existing labor laws.”
Under federal US law, if an employee makes less than $47,476 their hours must be tracked. It can be inferred from this – unless there are different state laws covering ATMTA’s operations – that Wagner will now have a base salary around $50k.
Three co-founders are listed on the Star Atlas site: Wagner, Chief Product Officer Danny Floyd and Chief Technology Officer Jacob Floyd.
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