Starhawk Developer Lightbox Interactive To Issue Layoffs, Potential Studio Closure Inbound [Update 2]
Some rather sad news has surfaced today which may sting hard amongst those in the PlayStation 3 camp. Official news hasn’t come in through the expected sources, but word has it that Starhawk developer LightBox Interactive will be issuing major layoffs and could be on the cusp of closing entirely in the next few days.
The news of LightBox’s current situation may sound unbelievable considering they’ve only launched one game, but the news comes from a trusted source - none other than Duke Nukem co-creator George Broussard. Broussard didn’t delve deep into the matter as per the Tweet he made as he only mentioned that Lightbox could be closed by the end of the week.
For fans of Warhawk and Starhawk the news of LightBox potentially closing is devastating. Both the Hawk games may not have been mega-hit sellers on the PS3, but they gained a stable following and as a whole are unique in the current gaming landscape. It’s understandable for a studio to potentially cut costs by downsizing its staff, though I think none of us ever expected LightBox to completely shutter after releasing only one project.
Since details are still murky on this matter it’s unknown if LightBox merely didn’t have the funds to stay open or if Sony opted to terminate their partnership with the studio in the wake of Starhawk underperforming at retail. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Sony opted to cut ties seeing as how the company has recently gone on a streak of either closing studios (Zipper Interactive, Studio Liverpool) or letting PR staff go.
Additional details on this potentially unfortunate LightBox development have yet to surface and so far key figures at the studio such as co-founder Dylan Jobe have yet to comment via outlets such as Twitter. I’ve reached out to a rep from Sony to comment on the matter and will update this article if anything comes up.
LightBox co-founder and President Dylan Jobe has commented that the company will still exist, but will be moving onto iOS development. A total of 24 staffers have been let go at Lightbox so the rumors of layoffs were indeed still true.
The current situation Lightbox finds itself in is of course similar to what Eat Sleep Play (David Jaffe's former company) went through following the release of Twisted Metal.
Details concerning the fate of Starhawk are still unknown as Sony has yet to issue a formal statement.
Sony has issued a formal comment on the matter and as expected the company decided to part ways with LightBox. The statement from Sony is as follows:
"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."