Activision confirms Radical staff reduction, Luxoflux closure

[UPDATE] Publisher's "realigning [of] resources" sees Prototype staff culled, Transformers studio shuttered; Guitar Hero rumored to be taken from Neversoft.


[UPDATE 2] An Activision representative has confirmed the closure of Luxoflux for GameSpot.

[UPDATE] Unfortunately, it appears Radical isn't the only Activision studio getting its payroll trimmed. Game-blog Binge Gamer is reporting pink-slips have been handed out at Neversoft, the developer behind the most recent installments of the Guitar Hero franchise. An unspecified number of employees have reportedly already been laid off the studio, with at least one purported former staffer Tweeting his departure.

Vicarious Visions may soon be given the reins to Guitar Hero.
Vicarious Visions may soon be given the reins to Guitar Hero.

According to Binge Gamer's sources, Neversoft employees who are currently at work on the as-yet-unannounced Guitar Hero 6 will be laid off upon completion of the game. Further, the site reports the Guitar Hero franchise will reportedly be handed over to Vicarious Visions, the studio behind the Wii editions of Guitar Hero as well as Guitar Hero On Tour for the DS and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Activision had not responded to requests for additional comment concerning layoffs at Neversoft. However, the publisher did note in its initial statement that it intends to drastically scale back its output of Guitar Hero-branded games in 2010. As part of its year-end earnings report yesterday, Activision said that it would be cutting its rhythm game offerings to just two this year: DJ Hero 2 and, presumably, Guitar Hero 6.

The publisher also did not respond to reports that it had closed Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen studio Luxoflux, initially reported by industry-news specialty site Gamasutra. Notably, Luxoflux developed the first two installments in Activision's undercover gangster drama True Crime. However, when Activision announced the third iteration in the series in December, the publisher said ModNation Racers developer United Front Games would be crafting the game.

[Original story below]

For the second time in 18 months, Radical Entertainment has been hit by a round of layoffs. An Activision representative would not confirm the number of affected employees for GameSpot but did say the Vancouver, British Columbia-based developer of games like Prototype and Scarface had its number of teams reduced in order to better match its resources with the titles in development.

Prototype is Radical's most recently released title.
Prototype is Radical's most recently released title.

Activision issued the following statement:

Activision Publishing continually evaluates its resources to ensure that they are properly matched against its product slate and strategic goals. In 2010, the company's SKU count will be smaller than in 2009 driven, in part, by a decrease in the number of music-based games we will be releasing.

As we discussed on our earnings conference call yesterday, we are directing our resources against the largest and most profitable business segments, and as part of this initiative, we are realigning our resources to better reflect our slate and the market opportunities. At the same time, we are increasing our digital/online capabilities as we expect that digital/online will continue to become a more meaningful part of our business model in the years ahead.

Radical's projects have not been officially announced, but last year, reports surfaced that the studio was working on a new Spider-Man game. Activision had previously confirmed that it was working on a game for the fourth Spider-Man movie, then set for launch in the summer of 2011. However, the status of that project is unclear given that preproduction conflicts have since pushed the film's release date back. Last May, the studio also was hiring Wii gameplay designers with "an affinity for third-person open-world camera design" for a port of an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game, prompting speculation of a Wii edition of Prototype.

The last layoffs at Radical came as a result of the merger between Activision and the studio's previous owner, Vivendi Games. At the time, The Vancouver Sun reported those cuts to include 100 employees of the studio, whose Prototype was one of only a handful of Vivendi projects that Activision held onto after the merger. The Crash Bandicoot series, another Radical-developed staple, was also retained.

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Avatar image for slydaniels

I'll just say what every Classic Crash fan is thinking...STOP MAKING CRAPPY CRASH BANDICOOT GAMES!

Avatar image for Timstuff

Oh how the mighty have fallen! So Activision, tell us how that "milk Guitar Hero until no-one is buying it" business model has worked out for you?

Avatar image for toaplan

@richioso: Check out Isopod and Vigilante 8 Arcade..

Avatar image for richioso

Vigilante 8 was a really cool and fun game, hopefully the guys at Luxoflux start their own house now that they're free from Actibasterds

Avatar image for lamprey263

I don't feel too bad for Radical, I didn't care for Prototype but a lot of people did, but still, this is like the only game they have under their belt of any significance... unless you wanna count their Terminator game from 18 years ago, that was really good actually, loved the SEGA CD version not too torn up about Luxoflux either

Avatar image for SufferLikeGdid

@sprinter: I'd also like to thank them for Streets of LA. I'm guessing another prototype sequel/spinoff is out of the question now. too bad...

Avatar image for solidusScott

@ sprinter6 Holy Crap! That is a game I haven't thought about for a very long time. Oh the memories... now that I'm thinking about it I hope to see the first Vigilante 8 on the PSN.

Avatar image for sprinter6

I'm sorry to hear about this unfortunate loss Luxoflux, thank you for Vigilante 8, and Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense, I won't forget you guys.

Avatar image for azone12

why is like everyone that has mentioned prototype getting a thumbs down? Infamous troll much

Avatar image for FaintRain

prototype 2 is all we need

Avatar image for kevy619

"orlen Posted Feb 12, 2010 8:06 am PT We need a system that will allow developers to release games via DLC without constraints (or not as many as we have now). Kind of like the app store for the iphone, or like XBLA but with more freedom. I hope to see something like this for future consoles. Then devs can stick it to these publishers who only care for sales results and who discard the very people making their success as soon as sales figures don't match their asinine forecasts These giant publishers are evil, and Activision is leading the charge...." switch to pc, you might miss a few good games but you gain a bunch more, can get free user made mods and stop paying xbox live fees.

Avatar image for Spectre77

This is slightly off-topic, but I'm having a lot of fun with Prototype right now. The story is probably it's biggest weakness (other than the auto-targeting that was driving me insane last night), but it was a cool idea for a game overall.

Avatar image for wiidsduelpack

They are remaking old games. Make new games

Avatar image for firehawk998

I will now speak on behalf of the entire gaming community :- ACTIVISION PLEASE DONT RELEASE ANY MORE HERO GAMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Avatar image for Raziel_0

activision kill guitar hero games wath can i say... it deserv this.

Avatar image for Jorlen

We need a system that will allow developers to release games via DLC without constraints (or not as many as we have now). Kind of like the app store for the iphone, or like XBLA but with more freedom. I hope to see something like this for future consoles. Then devs can stick it to these publishers who only care for sales results and who discard the very people making their success as soon as sales figures don't match their asinine forecasts These giant publishers are evil, and Activision is leading the charge...

Avatar image for Rev8691

2014 headline: ACTIVISION REDEEMING THEIR NAME. that story is inevitable.

Avatar image for Rev8691

there is only one thing Activision needs to do; find a new CEO. simple as that,

Avatar image for Humorguy_basic

Now I understand why Activision did a deal with to sell their back catalogue (currently, Space Quest III, IV and V and Phantasmagoria) - they need ever penny they can get! Let's face it, PC games sales down, hardcore video games (PS3 and 360) are levelling off and only the casual games on casual machines (Wii and DS) are doing any real numbers. At the same time, we get more interest every month for indie and retro video games. The future doesn't look good for those games publishers that cannot bring themselves to release games that cost less than $20 million and generally can no longer produce games with depth, gameplay, story or good AI!

Avatar image for GSx0

To all game studios, stop making crappy games and keep your jobs.

Avatar image for evmiller

Frak Activision! I hope it dies.

Avatar image for deactivated-5b2b9ea41d3e8

So the compnay has jsut announced they made over a billion dollars more profit than they originally forecasted this financial year and the first thing they do is make job cuts? Fair enoguh Activision isn't the first to cut jobs in the industry but all the other companies that have (EA, Sony etc.) where in financial decline making them a necessity. No wonder Activision has the reputation it does.

Avatar image for giddyupgroudon

i hope with this news they'll finally stop releasing games on the ps2

Avatar image for 2bitSmOkEy

@ gskywalker09 that has to be sarcasm

Avatar image for malverick

As for GH. I've now got two guitars and the drums, so I don't need to buy anything else hardware wise. I also don't see how they can improve on the franchise in it's current guise, except allowing the user to import their own music and maybe allowing the user to create their own "play track" ( I can't think of a proper name for the actual coloured notes streaming down the screen ).

Avatar image for malverick

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for Onetwoindo

more gears of wars plizzzzzz

Avatar image for Abecale

The industry needs another great video game crash, sweep up all the filth games, and actually start creating innovative and great ones again. And i lol'd at "Neversoft employees who are currently at work on the as-yet-unannounced Guitar Hero 6 will be laid off upon completion of the game." Hahaha, of course, use them and then ditch them!

Avatar image for Sirbobislost

@ yman173 after that last tony hawk game I'm suprised neversoft wasn't completely closed

Avatar image for yman173

And our wonderful economy continues to flourish...NOT. I dont get how Neversoft wasnt profitable, though. They created a ton of GH games. Guess this means the quality of any future ones will be in question, as well. Do you hear that wail? Its the sound of the GH franchise slowly and agonizingly dying.

Avatar image for GeneralArrow

The best thing that the can happen is that the game industry will crash. It needs to for more innovation to come through.

Avatar image for coldsauce09

sigh... when prototype was compared to infamous they realized that this will happen. honestly speaking and not being a fanboy. prototype feels like spiderman actually. isnt it?

Avatar image for NiteX

Guess Prototype wasn't all that loved eh? Can't believe the GH people aren't making money. Something seems off.

Avatar image for Bigboss232

What no more luxoflux that means no more hope for a vigilante 8 sequal.

Avatar image for gskywalker09

Activision makes GREAT games!!!!!

Avatar image for deadspace2

ohhhhhh yes prototype2 i nead that

Avatar image for parrot_of_adun

Poor luxoflux...

Avatar image for KristoffBrujah

Activision is a cancer on gamers.

Avatar image for Kleeyook

Prototype is a cool game. It sucks to hear they'll reduce staffs. :( Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 sucks ass, I don't understand why Activision would give the development of such a huge franchise like Guitar heroes to that studio, nor I understand why they still want to continue that franchise while it's more of the same with not much improvement. :(

Avatar image for Trogeton

it's all good, I still love activision.. their games are awesome

Avatar image for Marky360

I hope this doesn't affect are chance's of getting a Prototype 2. I also hope that if we do get a Prototype 2 they don't hand it off to Vicarious Visions they suck totally killed Ulimate Allience 2.

Avatar image for Marky360

@-HCMF- Are u kidding Prototype was AWESOME!!!

Avatar image for Syaz1

what?! from what i know, you lay off people only when you make lots of losses, like the one ea is going through. as far as i'm concerned, activision is making ****load of money, so why the heck are they laying off people. greedy bastards.

Avatar image for rockstar_88

PUH-LEASE give the Guitar Hero franchise to another studio. Neversoft is nothing but a bunch of egotistical moronic collection of waste that think they know the proper term of music when they haven't got a clue.

Avatar image for wiidsduelpack

Activision should make more games for the Wii.

Avatar image for Shardz7

After the fiscal loss report comes in, dozens of Corporates scurry to save their monthly bonuses by laying off the providers of their products. Sound familiar? When Activision or EA approaches you with a publishing deal as an Indie developer, you outright refuse and slam the door in their face. Just ask the hundreds of people they have laid off already who are in the unemployment line...

Avatar image for KittenNipples

Too bad. I though a second game was in order and could be improved.

Avatar image for -HCMF-

no surprise here. Prototype looked promicing, but after 10 min, it was just lame

Avatar image for JayQproductions

a lot of thought was put into prototype but then it was just thrown together and felt sloppy. but i wonder whats gonna happen with that spider-man game since they canceled spider-man 4 and are rebooting the movie series set in high school.

Avatar image for Fireboy78


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