LightBox Interactive Faces Lay-Offs, Restructures
‘Starhawk’ drops 24 employees after ending its deal with Sony
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 16:10
LightBox Interactive, developer of the Playstation 3 exclusive Starhawk, laid off 24 employees yesterday after ending their partnership with Sony. The studio will now be exiting console development and move on to developing titles for the iOS.
LightBox Interactive President Dylan Jobe explained the downsize in a public statement.
“I am not shutting down LightBox Interactive but I did preemptively inform my staff that there were going to be lay-offs on Friday -- 24 people to be exact,” Jobe said.
“Too often in our industry, people are “let-go” with no warning, no severance, no time at all to prepare their portfolios. It’s actually quite terrible. That’s NOT how we run things here at LightBox Interactive. The whole reason for me informing my team of lay-offs before they happen is so they have time to prepare. Collect stuff for their portfolios, capture screen shots or video -- the stuff that helps people land on their feet. All 24 employees were also given a severance package.”
The studio was formed in 2009 and founded mostly by former members of Incognito Entertainment. Incognito was responsible for the development of such games as War of the Monsters, Twisted Metal Black and Starhawk’s spiritual predecessor, Warhawk.
Since the lay-offs were confirmed, Sony has also stated that they have ended their partnership with the studio, which they had helped with the development of Starhawk. The maintenance Warhawk and its successor will be handled by Sony Santa Monica from now on.
Starhawk, while critically well received, failed to find much of an audience in terms of sales. The single-player portion of the game has since been made available as a free download on the Playstation Network, with the multiplayer component also available as a separate, online purchase.
Jobe went on to detail the reasons behind the staff reduction and the move to the iOS platform.
“Why the lay-offs? Well, as you know... the industry is changing. We are moving away from traditional console development to self-fund the development of our next game on Apple’s iOS devices.
Santa Monica Studio and Sony Computer Entertainment are fantastic people and great to work with. We have had, and will continue to have, a great relationship with everyone over there and I have no doubt that they’ll continue to bring the kick-ass games -- and hardware -- to gamers everywhere.”
LightBox is by no means the only developer to suffer so far in 2012. Sony alone has shut down numerous studios this year, including the WipEout creators Studio Liverpool and Zipper Interactive, the makers of SOCOM and MAG.
The most high-profile development house closure this year involved 38 Studios and Big Huge Games, founded by former professional baseball player Curt Shilling. The ensuing debacle involving the Rhode Island government is considered by many to be the first in a trend of game developer troubles that is showing no sign of stopping, even as we approach the holiday season.