Activision trims 7 Studios, closes Shaba

Guitar Hero publisher confirms cutbacks as part of overall music-game workforce reduction, shuttering of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows shop.

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The past few months have seen Activision make news for both opening a new San Francisco Bay developer and cutting staff at its Madison, Wisconsin-based shop Raven Software. This week, news of the latter category arrived, with the company confirming that it has trimmed the payroll at 7 Studios.

Working on Scratch probably sounds pretty good to now-jobless 7 Studios staffers.
Working on Scratch probably sounds pretty good to now-jobless 7 Studios staffers.

"7 Studios has realigned its business to focus its development resources on the music genre," a rep told GameSpot. "As a part of this realignment, the studio is reducing its workforce to better reflect Activision's upcoming slate of music-based games."

The 7 Studios layoffs come just seven months after Activision purchased the former Scratch: The Ultimate DJ developer, setting off a chain of events that delayed the turntable-based rhythm game until next year. Shortly after the buyout, Scratch's publisher sued Activision, claiming the acquisition was simply a move to eliminate any competition to DJ Hero, due out October 27. (In April, the shop was ordered to hand over the Scratch source code.)

Activision gave Shaba the kiss of death this week.
Activision gave Shaba the kiss of death this week.

Shortly after admitting the 7 Studios layoffs, Activision confirmed to game blog Kotaku that it had closed Shaba Games, the San Francisco-based developer of Shrek Super Slam and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. The move puts an abrupt end to the studio's 12-year history, which saw it develop such games as Tony Hawk's Project 8 (Xbox, PlayStation 2) and the critically acclaimed Grind Session for the original PlayStation. Just this past July, it became public that Shaba was working on an unnamed karaoke game.

"Activision continually evaluates the resources at our studio properties to ensure that they are properly matched to our product slate and overall strategic goals," the company said in a statement. "As part of this process, we recently made the difficult but necessary decision to close Shaba Studios. We are grateful for the studio's contributions and wish this talented team success in their future endeavors."

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