Leak Apparently Closes Possibility Space

Developer Possibility Space has apparently shut down according to social media posts from ex-staff, as noted on GamesIndustry.biz. There's no official announcement yet, but the company website is now offline. This studio formed by Jeff Strain would be the second property owned by Prytania Media (co-founded by Strain and wife Annie Delisi Strain) to close in a short time, as Crop Circle Games (also founded by the Strains) shut down a few weeks ago. There's an intriguing twist here, as an X from Polygon reporter Nicole Carpenter (not published on Polygon) reproduces what is purported to be the letter Jeff Strain sent to staff with the news. This suggests that the studio closure is due to details leaking about its game codenamed Project Vonnegut. The terse letter concludes with the ArenaNet co-founder and Undead Labs founder saying he is stepping away from the game industry to focus on family and helping his wife with what she describes as her "personal health struggles":
Late last week I received a list of topics and questions from Ethan Gach, a reporter at Kotaku, regarding an article he's writing about Prytania Media and the closure of Crop Circle Games. Much of it was expected but I was also stunned to see non-public information about Project Vonnegut, disclosure of our publishing partner with details of our business and financial relationship, and details of internal P&L discussions and confidential all-company meetings. Mr. Gach specifically credits current employees as the source of his information.

Leaks of this nature are typically malicious and done by outside hacking, so to see internal team members under a confidentiality agreement engage in this was shocking. Given the company's own strict confidentiality and notification obligations, I immediately got on a plane for in-person meetings with our publishing partner to disclose the information breach and to discuss the impact on the project. During that discussion our partner expressed low confidence they would be willing to invest the additional resources needed to complete the game, so we mutually agreed to cancel Vonnegut.

As a result of the cancellation of the publishing relationship and after careful consideration, I am closing Possibility Space. Today is your last day of employment with Possibility Space and Prytania Media. Your final paycheck including pay for work through the end of today will be deposited to your account, along with any other required payments, as dictated by your work location. For employees located outside the United States, today will serve as the first day of your Notice Period and your final day of employment is currently scheduled for April 19, 2024. However, all non-US employees — like their US peers — will have no work obligations after today. In addition, all employees affiliated through a PEO will have their employment separation processed according to applicable law.

It will take a few more days to finalize details of the termination agreement with our publishing partner, calculate our tax, insurance, vendor, and contractor obligations, and any other outstanding liabilities, and then determine what we can offer for severance.

I've retained a D.C.-based global law firm to oversee the wind-down of the studio. An employment attorney from that firm will will soon follow up to your personal email address with additional details, and that person will be your direct point of contact from here on for all matters related to your employment, including continuation of insurance benefits, severance payments and/or associated separation agreements. A copy of this email has also been sent to your personal email address.

You may keep your development equipment provided you permanently delete all company confidential information, confirm you have done so in writing, and strictly abide by your existing confidentiality obligations, including proper handling of company IP and other confidential and proprietary information. This confirmation will be coordinated through the forthcoming communications noted above.

As of today, I am stepping away from the game industry to focus on my family and care for Annie. I wish all of you the best as you navigate this complex industry and the challenges and opportunities ahead.