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 Starhawk  developer LightBox Interactive sees 24 staff layoffs
Starhawk developer LightBox Interactive sees 24 staff layoffs
October 18, 2012 | By Tom Curtis, Mike Rose

October 18, 2012 | By Tom Curtis, Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Starhawk developer LightBox Interactive has confirmed to Gamasutra that it has laid off 24 staff members, as part of a strategic shift toward creating games for iOS devices.

LightBox president Dylan Jobe explained that the affected staff members have been provided with severance packages, and that the official layoffs will happen on Friday. According to the studio's website, the Austin-based studio currently houses approximately 45 employees.

"The reason for the layoffs is a strategic shift in our product development as we move forward with a very focused and self-funded team to bring our next game to iOS devices," noted Jobe. He added that LightBox is "still very close" to both the Santa Monica Studio and Sony Computer Entertainment, the companies that Lightbox worked with on Starhawk.

The studio first took shape in 2009, when a number of veterans from the now defunct Incognito Entertainment (Warhawk, PS3) moved from Salt Lake City to Austin, Texas to set up a brand new independent studio.

Shortly after its founding, LightBox entered into a multi-year, multi-game partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment. The studio released the PlayStation 3-exclusive Starhawk earlier this year.

Starhawk launched in May to mixed reviews, though the game failed to reach the top 10 sales charts in the U.S. and the UK.

LightBox Interactive isn't the only Austin-based studio to see layoffs of late. In July, The Old Republic developer BioWare Austin was forced to lay off an undisclosed portion of its staff, and even said goodbye to executive producer and MMO veteran Rich Vogel.

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Bruno Aranda
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What Lightbox should fire is their PR team. The launch of Starhawk was really disastrous - confusion around the release dates, etc. Many people was expecting it to be available digitally, like Warhawk, but someone took the wrong decision not to do that.
Another failure in my opinion is to try to add a single player campaign. I remember many people asking for it after Warhawk was released, but I would just kept Starhawk as a multiplayer game with digital distribution as the successful Warhawk. Now they have tried to address that, but it may be too late already.

Creating games for iOS devices. Uhm, ok, seems to be what everybody else is trying to do. I like them, but it seems that is time for Lightbox Interactive to disappear in a sea of mediocrity...