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RPG studio Thought Pennies appears to lay off employees


The game industry’s brutal year of layoffs continues, as some who haven’t yet even released a game are joining the crush of studios eliminating positions. All-remote game studio Thought Pennies—founded by mobile game industry executive Tim Ernst, according to corporate registration documents—has apparently laid off several employees.

Word of the supposed layoffs first appeared on professional networking platform LinkedIn. Art director Ken Capelli, design director Allison Carrier, and producer Kristen Halloran all made posts indicating they’d been laid off. Capelli and Halloran both referenced many former colleagues also looking for work. The profiles of all three developers indicated they were employed at Thought Pennies until October 2023.

Ernst founded Thought Pennies in early 2020, and brought on former BioWare and Pixelberry Studios writer Jennifer Hepler as lead writer in 2021. Hepler was promoted to “writing director” in 2022. The company was working on what employees described as a “multi-platform, social role-playing game.”

Little other details about Thought Pennies are available. The company appears to have been operating in “stealth mode” for the last three years with no development updates and no major announcements.

The video game industry’s brutal layoff season continues.

Writing this section of these stories has frankly become exhausting. This year we’ve seen layoffs at Lamplighter’s League developer Harebrained Schemes, the newly revived Telltale Games, Immortals of Aveum developer Ascendant Studios, Life is Strange: True Colors developer Deck Nine Games, Fortnite and Unreal Engine creator Epic Games, and a continuing parade of layoffs driven by Embracer Group’s bungled business deal with Saudi Arabia-backed conglomerate Savvy Games Group.

Developers and Industry observers are likely aware that this is not a complete accounting of all the layoffs and closures to take place in 2023.

There’s one extra depressing detail in the layoffs taking place at Thought Pennies: earlier in the year as other studios laid off workers, employees at the company implored their colleagues to apply to open positions at the studio.

It’s unclear at this time if any who took them up on that offer became victims of dual layoffs in the same year.


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