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Lightbox lay-offs confirmed, studio to refocus on mobile

Thursday, 18th October 2012 01:02 GMT By Brenna Hillier

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.

Thanks, IGN, Joystiq.

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22 Comments

  1. SameeR_Fisher

    That is pretty sad.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. YoungZer0

    Oh you gotta be kidding! That game’s fucking amazing!

    #2 2 years ago
  3. DeforMAKulizer

    Verge (Polygon) have the story in detail:

    “LightBox Interactive, the Austin-based developer behind PlayStation 3 game Starhawk, has laid off 24 of its employees, studio founder and president Dylan Jobe tells Polygon. The layoffs are part of a “shift in product strategy” at LightBox, Jobe says, which includes a move away from traditional console development.

    Jobe says he’s not shutting down LightBox Interactive. Instead, the company will self-fund a small, focused indie-style team to bring the developer’s next game to iOS, not the PlayStation 3.”

    http://www.theverge.com/gaming/2012/10/17/3518868/starhawk-developer-lightbox-interactive-hit-with-layoffs-moving-away

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Nath_gamer

    This is the saddest thing since Studio Liverpool and Zipper Interactive both shut down :( no more lightbox PS3 games?

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Nath_gamer

    How can they be making IOS games when they have a multi-title contract with Sony?

    #5 2 years ago
  6. zinc

    Hands up if you saw any marketing for Starhawk?

    I’ve never played it & yes it could be unadulterated crap, but thats not the point.

    Its a 3rd person shooter, one of thousands this gen. It needed hype! Did Sony think their brand on the box would sell it alone?

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Brenna Hillier

    Just updated guys; we’ve had confirmation now.

    #7 2 years ago
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    #8 2 years ago
  9. Nath_gamer

    :( SO SO SAD, I hear Nihilistic is doing the same thing :(

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Nath_gamer

    It so depressing to see this happening to the industry, I thought the gaming industry is growing at an extreme rate, and yet companies are being forced to either shut down completely or downsize, I hope that once mobile game get so advanced they just turn into console games and everything will be back to normal, kinda like PS Vita titles are as big as console titles (pretty much)…
    My entire life I have planned for starting up my own Game Development Studio and signing with SCE (Sony Computer Entertainment) and making the best games the world has ever seen, I hope to create jobs for people who want to work on BLOCKBUSTER games and continue the legacy of the Console games industry, and to one day overtake Films all together.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Dragon246

    Sony marketing must be a stuff of legend now.
    ….
    ….
    ….
    Cuz it doesnt exist :D

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Dragon246

    Nihilistic is also gone (changed their name to nStigate, probably cuz nihilistic name has the stigma now of being the worst handheld dev in console industry)-
    http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/10/18/call-of-duty-vita-dev-exits-boxed-game-business

    I will take almost as an admission that COD Vita will be sucking. That studio needs to shut shop. They cant make good games and should use their “skills” for something other than making games. Apple users beware, nStigate sucks. Dont buy anything from them before reading reviews.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Nath_gamer

    Dragon246 That’s really offensive, have some respect, Did you even play any of Nihilistic’s games? I have most of them and thoroughly enjoy all of them that I have, including Burning Skies, It’s not all bad that people make it out to be. They where just short on time and did the best possible with the time.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. The_Red

    Sony did an absolutely horrendous job marketing Starhawk. Seriously, for the reveal they gave a full gameplay walkthrough to GT almost DURING E3 and then one year later released the full game, AGAIT super close to E3.

    Both Starhawk and Insomniac’s Resistance 3 deserved much much more but Sony is really interested in killing its better games.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. TD_Monstrous69

    So sad to hear, seeing as how I was looking forward to what Lightbox was gonna do next with Sony. Starhawk is a great game, and it’s a shame more people didn’t play it, same goes for Lightbox, a great indie developer on the PS3. So sad to see them bow out after one game, but that’s business I guess. Also, I wanna debunk something that people here keep complaining about. Now I won’t argue about the quality of Sony’s marketing for their games (not named Uncharted), but to say that Starhawk didn’t have any advertising is just not true. The advertising for it was internet advertising, one of the ads was even on this website, and other sites like IGN, and I even remember an ad on facebook.
    Also, @Nath_gamer, you and I share a similar dream, one in which I’m pursuing now by going to school (even if it’s night school).

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Erthazus

    Sony’s fault only. Their marketing is horrible. I don’;t remember a single shit about Starhawk.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. aimei11

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    #17 2 years ago
  18. Da Man

    There were plenty of advertising for this game, and reviews showed it’s not up there to warrant a purchase.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Gadzooks!

    Sony seem to be shedding studios like crazy.

    I thought they were supposed to be the nurturing, caring sharing, fluffy altruist developer hug corporation?

    No. When it comes down to it, poor performance = developer cut loose, just like at any other corporation.

    It’s nothing to do with marketing. Starhawk was everywhere on gaming sites for months. It was just an exceptionally ‘meh’ game, and sold as such.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. zinc

    Obviously Sony are operating on a 2 strikes your out system :-/

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Dragon246

    Actually for moronic xbots out there, sony doesnt own nihilistic. But morons are not expected to understand logic. So they can continue to make moronic comments that no one gives a shit about.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. ManuOtaku

    Edit : i will scratch the comment since it was ment for other thread, sorry guys heres what i did cut, it was for the nihilistic thread.

    I will not pass judgment on this developer till a great first person shooter arrive on a handheld, especially on the vita for the console aspect on a handheld which is a key factor to FPS, went that time comes then I will see if it is their fault, or is that is not possible to do great FPS on handhelds.

    #22 2 years ago

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