Texas developer Gearbox Software (Brothers In Arms series) has apparently laid off staff following the completion of the latest in the series, but has responded to rumors on the status of Aliens: Colonial Marines, insisting that the game has not been canceled despite these "tactical decisions".
Initial reports suggested that Gearbox had laid off 15 to 25 employees, in addition to 15-20 earlier this month, following disappointing sales of the recent Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway and that their first person shoot ‘em-up based on the Aliens movie, to be published by Sega, had been canceled.
Relatively little has been seen of the project, believed to be slated for a 2009 release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, since it was announced in 2006. A role-playing title based on the 1986 sci-fi horror film was also announced at the same time, but even less has been revealed of that project - which is being developed by Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II developer Obsidian Entertainment.
Responding to both the layoff and cancellation rumors, which suggested that Colonial Marines had gone over budget and would not be completed on schedule, Gearbox president Randy Pitchford released a statement to consumer blog Kotaku, apparently tacitly acknowledging the layoffs, but denying the Aliens project has ceased development.
"In 2005... we embarked upon a strategy where opportunity in the industry and the ambition of key talent here was driving a lot of growth for us. The strategy has been amazingly transformative for us," said Pitchford.
"We’ve been growing *very* fast – more than doubling in size between 2007 and 2008 and outpacing general industry growth in staff and revenue by an order of magnitude. This growth has catapulted us to become one of the most powerful independent studios in the world."
"Over the last six weeks, we’ve been adjusting our internal strategy to move from being about Opportunity, Ambition and Growth to a strategy that is oriented towards Quality, Focus and Performance."
"A number of recent tactical decisions here are a reflection of this new commitment and strategy," Pitchford's statement continued. "The timing of these tactical decisions relates more to natural maneuvering that all studios should only consider after they finish a big effort than anything else."
Pitchford also clarified that Aliens: Colonial Marines is still in production and that work is also proceeding on the company’s original intellectual property Borderlands.