Starhawk developer Lightbox Interactive has confirmed significant lay-offs and an abrupt shift in focus.
In a statement provided to GameInformer, Lightbox president Dylan Jobe confirmed 24 staff will be let go this Friday.
“All 24 employees were also given a severance package,” he said, noting that the lay-offs were announced ahead of time to give staff time to prepare and begin seeking new employment.
“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.”
Lightbox was enmeshed in a multi-title contract with Sony, but the two companies have parted ways.
“Sony Computer Entertainment can confirm that it has amicably ended its working agreement with developer LightBox Interactive, Inc. We have had a positive and long-standing working relationship with this talented studio, and wish them the best of success in their next endeavor. Starhawk and Warhawk will continue to be supported by Santa Monica Studio,” a Sony spokesperson said.
“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,” Jobe added.
Word of the lay-offs first broke courtesy of 3D Realms’ George Broussard, whom I’m starting to think of as a kind of industry banshee.
“Good luck to my buddies at LightBox in Austin. Layoffs and rumors of near whole studio gone by Friday,” he tweeted.
A couple of Lightbox staffers also made cryptic statements on Twitter, the most telling of which is associate producer and community manager Pete McKay’s comment “And so another chapter closes on my life. Let’s see where I go next”.
Lightbox’s first release, Starhawk, launched in May and received reasonable but not inspiring reviews. Sony didn’t reveal sales numbers but it didn’t crack the NPD’s charts. Lightbox is quite a young studio, founded in 2009, and largely staffed by former members of Incognito, which produced Warhawk and several Twisted Metal games.