Starhawk dev lays off half its staff

LightBox Interactive confirms it has laid off 24 staff as part of shift towards making games for iOS devices.

Starhawk developer LightBox Interactive has laid off half its staff as part of a shift toward developing games for iOS devices. Company president Dylan Jobe confirmed to Gamasutra that 24 of the studio's 45 employees will be let go effective Friday.

"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," Jobe said.

The studio was founded in 2009 out of the ashes of Incognito Entertainment (Warhawk, Twisted Metal). According to Jobe, LightBox remains "very close" with Sony following the layoffs.

The third-person shooter Starhawk released in May this year to a positive critical reception, but was not one of the month's top ten titles in the United States, according to NPD data.

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55 comments
ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

I knew this was coming after how poorly Starhawk faired... They shouldn't have let Sony push them into releasing the game early if it was finished it would have done much better :(

 

Not going to lie Starhawk sucked pretty bad but I still wanted LBI to get 1 more shot at making real games... 

GeneralTrouble
GeneralTrouble

One of my favourite games as was Warhawk. A very misunderstood game. It's not COD or any other shooter i.e run, point, shoot. You have to learn how to play it properly. If you jet pack 50 ft up in the air across an open map of course you're going to get owned. That's why on foot you use terrain. Getting base raped? There's a big enough spawn area to be able to break out and failing that there's plenty of skill choices so you spawn with the right weapons to help yourself. I'm not saying raping isn't an issue but there's plenty of ways to get out of it.

There should, however, be an option to set a rank limit on servers so that noobs can find their feet without getting smashed by high level players. It's that sort of behaviour that can put people off. If I join a game with a lot of noobs I'll always try to take it easy and message people with hints and tips. 

It could be a fantastic game if people gave it a real chance. For a "jump in and play" multiplayer it's a good as any.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Been part of the Starhawk community for ages, way before the thing was officially announced.  When it did come round I got involved in the private beta looking for bugs and all sorts..

 

Main problem with the game is that half of the time the developers didn't actually listen to the Warhawk veterans, most of the focus was just on nerfing things to make it easier for noobs.

 

The game is good now (finally) but the support just isn't there.  Sony pretty much failed to even advertise the thing which is a major let down as the publisher.

 

Could have been huge but never will be, it's a sad state of affairs.

 

Hearing that the company is going to focus on iOS games just depresses me.. So much talent but shifting to focus on the wrong market.

 

Console gaming is slowly dying :(

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

5 hour singleplayer, dosen't sound like it helped this game, among some other problems within the multiplayer mode, I think i am glad i didn't jump for this game 

Scorchstar
Scorchstar

Starhawk Beta was fantastic. It had actual Starhawk-hosted servers, instead of having to play games hosted on PS3s, which made so much lag.

 

Seriously, though. Starhawk is such a good game, but the lack of official servers provided by Lightbox is ridiculous. I have stopped playing Starhawk because I can simply get no kills, and I have a pretty good internet connection.

 

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

And the new Call of Duty expansion pack will break record sales once more.

davedrastic
davedrastic

24 is actually more than half of 45. 

 

Curse of Sony? Or just not making good enough games? Bit of both perhaps.

 

I was most excited about Warhawk before I got my PS3, and I bought Warhawk as soon as I did. I only ever played it once. Just didnt grab me and i've not had a lack of games since owning the PS3.Battlefield 1943 really filled the gap that I thought Warhawk would - a simple, fun multiplayer PSN game - no need to put in a disk.

 

I'll give Starhawk a go seeing as I have it for free via PSN+ but I'd be surprised if I love it. I do think Sony should look after their developers a bit more though. It seems that Insomniac got a bit of a rough deal - they don't have ownership of their IP and their games never sell as much as they ought to. I don't think the Killzone series has sold as much as it deserves to either.

TheLordHimself
TheLordHimself

I kind of feel bad for not buying it, but at the same time I've had to really cut back on my purchases. I used to buy all my games on day 1, but  I realised that by just waiting a year I can get the game for a quarter of the price. I guess I'm not fully supporting the industry, but nowadays I really can't afford to.

Halloll
Halloll

I liked Starhawk more than bf3. was hoping to see a sequel on the ps4 with unlimited build cap.

nurnberg
nurnberg

Starhawk is still an unpolished mess to this day.  The game was a big disappointment.

vadagar1
vadagar1

and they will never learn *shakes head*

 

good games make more money in the long run, bad games make more money ONCE

green_scorpion
green_scorpion

Putting an online pass on a game thats 30% single player is a great way to fail.

SolidTy
SolidTy

I read about this yesterday as well, in GS forums I was linked, lol.

 

Anyways, I did enjoy Starhawk, it was truly a fun MP game. It's a shame more people didn't give it a shot. I think a lot of them would have liked it. These days it seems you have to spend more on the marketing of a new IP than actual development if you want to get modern kids attention.

ghstbstr
ghstbstr

Starhawk was an impulse buy that I bought on the day of its release, and I was surprised that it was a good game. The single-player campaign has great gameplay and a good story. I was hoping for a sequel.

firedrakes
firedrakes

it had good gameplay. but that was about it with starhawk

donmega1
donmega1

ios? really? they lay off these people do they can make a mediocre touch game? i hope the all lose there jobs. this is stupid!

Aria1368
Aria1368

Great game, Bad time, stingy PS3 owner!!!

KingofCabal
KingofCabal

Starhawk??? Lightbox???? Why have I never heard of these? And why should I care?

SonWind744
SonWind744

...Oh. Turns out Sony is ending their agreement. Again, too bad.

SonWind744
SonWind744

I own this game, and it's actually kind of good. Too bad about the layoffs and shift to iOS devices. Nice to know they're still "'very close' with Sony", though.

Lucca202
Lucca202

They do know that making a successful iOS game depends more on dumb luck than anything else, right?

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

People get laid off after a project is done, nothing new. Especially if it was a failure of a game that is Starhawk. 

SergioMX
SergioMX

Starhawk was a bit of a disappointment for me. Online is so unbalanced and you're either dominating or getting dominated. There's hardly ever a close game. Shame too cause I was a huge Warhawk fan.

Vickman178
Vickman178

Starhawk is a hell of a lot of fun in my opinion! Sad to see all these layoffs happening lately but iOS games are like 98% total garbage.

 

Its just filled with stunt racing games that are all a bunch of clones of each other, flash games that you can play free on your computer. etc etc...

 

I have had my iPhone 4 for almost 2 years now and I literally never use the app store and the games I did download can barely entertain me for more than 3 minutes. The only thing I have on there now is Temple Run. 

EPaul
EPaul

So sad to see I was a big Warhawk fan played around 300hrs but i still haven't gotten Starhawk yet. The beta  didnt grab me like Warhawk did i still plan on getting it lately this year.

toddx77
toddx77

Never played Warhawk and only played the beta for Starhawk and while it was fun it wasn't something I was going to rush out and buy.  Also the fact it is online only does not help.  

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

 @warhawk-geeby Exactly if they didn't worry about nerfing they would have done better.

 

I wish they just took WH threw in some new maps and pretty graphics(for the children) and released. They would have saved in developing and released a better game.

zarathustrax7
zarathustrax7

 @Jshaw71 Oh, man. I downloaded free on the playstation plus and haven´t played yet. 

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

 @Scorchstar That would be Sony's fault.

 

Sony treated LBI like a **** and pretty much doomed this game by forcing out the door early with crappy severs like most Sony first party games these days... It is part of why I'm not buying a ps4 I will go PC instead.

davedrastic
davedrastic

 @TheLordHimself The games industry won't collapse just because you're not buying new release games. I wouldnt feel bad about it.

 

Yeah i've been buying low cost games for most of this generation. Last year I bought a ton of new release games and I think splashing out on that has quenched my thirst - I just don't feel the need to buy the new games now, or to lust after them so much, I've wanted Max Payne, Lollipop Chainsaw, Saints Row 3, but we know there'll be a Max Payne Gold Collection or such, and that will fall to $20 at some stage. Lollipop will be $20 within a matter of months - Shadows of the Damned dropped in price quickly. Saints Row 3 can be bought for $20 already (although when on special sale).

 

There's a load of games to be released over the next 6 months that I'll want but I'm more than happy to wait as I have so many games to enjoy. I want Far Cry 3 but I've not played Far Cry 2 once yet, and i've owned it for at least 2 years. Assassins Creed 3 looks good - but I owne 1 and 2 and haven't played them yet. Black Ops 2 looks the best but i've just re-purchased MW2 and Black Ops for cheap in the GAME sales and they'll last me a long while.

 

Oh and I have more driving games than I need.

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

 @SolidTy  I wouldn't call it a great game but Sony failed LBI on multiple levels. They didn't allow for a long enough development period 3 more months would have made a massive difference on how well the reviews went over plus a better time of year to release the game..

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

 @SolidTy Couldn't agree more, Sony failed spectacularly on the advertisement for this one.  It's a great game but just doesn't have a fanbase.

SeAzhrei
SeAzhrei

@donmega1 Kinda harsh but I can't really argue the sentiment.

CruiserCaptain
CruiserCaptain

 @SergioMX

 I totally fell in love wiht this game at first, before many people had it. The multiplayer rounds were fun, but then once the ranks filled out and more people were playing bigger games it did become unbalanced. Once you lost your hold the game was over. I think the last round I played consisted of dropping in to a circle of about 10 tanks and just getting Base-'Ravaged'. Plus the jet's flying over dropping bombs and those huge super bombs... the thing is this happned all the time. I was on both the winning and losing side of this situation... niether are fun after the first few minutes.

The game had GREAT ideas... but once you had your enemy surrounded, the game was over... even if it happened in ther first few minutes. I rarely ever got to engage in a "battle", it was mostly just rape.

willsoonbegone
willsoonbegone

 @SergioMX My thoughts exactly. I was a huge Warhawk fan and was really excited for Starhawk. But it was just so frustrating and unsatisfying to play, I traded it back within a few week.s

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @toddx77 A lot of people thought it was online only...so strange. :( It had a fun campaign, but yeah, you aren't the only one I heard say this.

CruiserCaptain
CruiserCaptain

 @toddx77

 Yeah the single player was like a long tutorial. And to be honest some co-op wound have been fun on the campaign. The game also came with a survival mode, which was called "co-op" but it was lame, overwhelming and rarely felt fun. Plus with only 5 maps for it, the novelty wore off fast.

xolivierx
xolivierx

@a1450358509 @KingofCabal well, if it's a gem, it's crappy gem...the game now sells at 39$ or is that 29..not sure...anyhow I have the game and it's a crappy multiplayer Game that tries to be a mix between Halo and Unreal tournament...FAIL

awheaten
awheaten

@CruiserCaptain @SergioMX l mean... I agree to a point... First of all... Im a fan boy of this game. This game is really good. Transforming air planes and tanks and motorcycles. This is a gem. There were the issue of balance. Which I am surprised, because that was a huge problem in warhawk. So w/that Im dissapointed. But if you play for kills... And the thrill of battle, you can look past wins and loses.

SuplexKirby
SuplexKirby

 @willsoonbegone  @SergioMX It just didn't have that Warhawk feel and you can't even stay in the air with your jetpack more than 10 seconds. How can LightBox screw up so badly after their amazing Warhawk?

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

 @xolivierx  @a1450358509  @KingofCabal Are you sure you've actually played it?  A cowboy western set in space..?  where you can build your own bases..  It's like tower defence meets 3rd person shooter.  That sounds NOTHING like unreal or Halo in the slightest you twonk.

 

Minus the space part.