Update 2: LightBox Interactive President Dylan Jobe got back to me, confirming everything below. He also told me the employees that were let go will be receiving severance packages.
Update: Sony has ended its multi-year, multi-title partnership with LightBox Interactive, according to a statement the company made to IGN.
“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.”
“Our relatively small team has done some absolutely incredible things,” LightBox Senior Designer Trent Polack tweeted, “and it’s a result of everyone’s talent, dedication, and passion.”
Original Story: Starhawk developer LightBox Interactive has laid off 24 of its employees as part of a “shift in product strategy,” reports Polygon.
LightBox Founder and President Dylan Jobe denied the rumors of the studio’s closure following a tweet by 3D Realms Co-Founder George Broussard.
Jobe said the Austin-based developer will make a shift in a “new direction,” and will release their next game on iOS instead of PlayStation 3. “We are moving away from traditional console development to self-fund the development of our next game on Apple’s iOS devices,” he wrote in a statement to IGN. I’ve included his full email below.
LightBox Interactive was formed in 2009 by studio President Dylan Jobe and former Incognito Entertainment members. Incognito Entertainment was responsible for Twisted Metal: Black, War of the Monsters, and Warhawk. The studio had a multi-year, multi-title partnership with Sony to produce games on their platforms. LightBox released Starhawk earlier this year as part of the deal.
I’ve contacted the company for more information, and I’ll update the post if I hear back.
Dylan Jobe’s email:
I am not shutting down LightBox Interactive but I did pre-emptively inform my staff that there were going to be lay-offs on Friday — 24 people to be exact.
Too often in our industry, people are “let-go” with no warning, no severance, no time at all to prepare their portfolios. It’s actually quite terrible. That’s NOT how we run things here at LightBox Interactive. The whole reason for me informing my team of lay-offs before they happen is so they have time to prepare. Collect stuff for their portfolios, capture screen shots or video — the stuff that helps people land on their feet. All 24 employees were also given a severance package.
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.
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.