Take-Two confirms 'restructuring,' denies studio layoffs

Rockstar and 2K Games owner confirms internal reorganization following sale of retail unit, shoots down reports of developer cull.

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On Tuesday, Namco Bandai revealed it was eliminating 10 percent of its workforce as part of a companywide reorganization. Today, Take-Two Interactive admitted it was undergoing its own reorganization--but shot down unconfirmed reports of mass layoffs.

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In a statement, Take-Two vice president of corporate communications Alan Lewis hit back at rumors originating in the UK that up to 20 percent of its staff--or 400 people--could be pink-slipped. Redundancies of such a scale would affect the publisher's suite of studios, which include such marquee names as Rockstar Games and the newly rechristened Irrational Games.

"While it is our policy not to comment on rumors and speculation, we wanted to clarify an erroneous report regarding our company," Lewis told GameSpot. "As part of Take-Two's stated goal to maximize the efficiency of our business, we initiated a targeted restructuring of our corporate departments only in order to better align our resources with our current goals...To be clear, there were no reductions made at the studio level."

Take-Two did say that the impending sale of its Jack of All Games distribution arm was a primary factor for the restructuring. In December, the New York City-headquartered publisher announced it was selling off its Ohio-based games subsidiary for $43.25 million to Fortune 500 software distributor Synnex Corporation. The move was announced in tandem with a downward revision of Take-Two's November-January quarter earnings by $120 million.

Though unaffected by layoffs, Take-Two's studios system has been the subject of several barbed public critiques of late. Last month, someone claiming to be the spouse of a Rockstar San Diego employee accused the satellite shop of a number of quality-of-life offenses, including forcing its employees to work extended hours at least six days a week. This touched off a flurry of rumors, which claimed that the Midnight Club racing series had been canceled, the Western open-world game Red Dead Redemption was in trouble, and shooter sequel Max Payne 3 may be further delayed. After a brief silence, Rockstar hit back at the reports, saying it was "saddened" by what it felt were false working-condition claims. It also said that Red Dead Redemption was on track for its April 27 launch on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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