Report: High Moon Lays Off Staff, Post-Vivendi Merger
The Bourne Supremacy
developer High Moon Studios has laid off a significant portion of its staff, following the completion of the Activision-Vivendi merger, according to multiple independent Gamasutra sources.
The developer, which was originally formed in Carlsbad, CA as Sammy Studios and became independent after the Sega-Sammy merger, was acquired by Vivendi Games in January 2005. It has thus far released vampire Western title Darkwatch
and Ludlum-licensed action game The Bourne Supremacy
The layoffs, which apparently consist of a notable portion -- as many as 60 -- but not a majority of the developer's more than 150 staff, were telegraphed in the July 29th statement
from new owner Activision.
It was explicitly explained that "...the company intends to adapt the Vivendi Games' studio operations to better align the studio structure against the new product slate. The company will realign staffing at Radical Entertainment and High Moon Studios."
Since the layoffs have left the studio still operating, and other Vivendi-owned developers such as Massive Entertainment and Swordfish Studios are being considered for "the possibility of divestiture", it seems likely that unannounced post-Bourne
games are still in development at the studio.
In fact, Activision's statement that "...the company will also retain two new intellectual properties that are currently in development -- Prototype
and a second game that has not yet been announced" may imply that the second un-named project is in development at High Moon.
However, Gamasutra's requests for comment from Vivendi Games representatives regarding these reports, and an update on both High Moon Studios and Prototype
developer Radical Entertainment, which may also be in line for staff cuts, were not returned as of press time.