Looks like Gameloft has gotten in some hot water with the government of New Zealand. Callaghan Innovation, a business-related agency owned by the New Zealand government, is demanding that the France-based game studio repay a $3 million government grant because it is closing down its studio in Auckland. The closure will reportedly result in the loss of around 150 jobs, estimated to be about a fifth of the game development workforce in New Zealand.
Iain Butler, a spokesman for Callaghan Innovation, initially said the government grants agency had given Gameloft a research and development grant of $2.9 million back in 2014. The total has since been updated to $3 million on the agency’s Twitter, which confirmed they can reclaim the money under a “claw back” clause:
Here’s the tl;dr on Gameloft – Yes we can claw back the money. No they didn’t get $15m. Or even $10m. Their peeps will find wrk in NZ gaming
— Callaghan Innovation (@callaghannz) January 28, 2016
The total sum of the grant was clarified in response to a question about whether there was a long statement from the agency on the issue:
— Callaghan Innovation (@callaghannz) January 29, 2016
The mention that dismissed Gameloft employees will be able to find work at other companies in the country may be a little optimistic, though the NZ game industry is reportedly still growing and expected to add more jobs in the future. Whether or not those new opportunities will be enough to absorb the blow of a fifth of the workforce losing their jobs remains to be seen.