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Submitted by yesmynameissumo 1210d ago | news

'Starhawk' developer LightBox Interactive hit with layoffs, moving from console development to iOS

Polygon writes: "LightBox Interactive, the Austin-based developer behind PlayStation 3 game Starhawk, has laid off 24 of its employees, studio founder and president Dylan Jobe tells Polygon. The layoffs are part of a "shift in product strategy" at LightBox, Jobe says, which includes a move away from traditional console development." (Industry, Lightbox Interactive, PS3, Sony)

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ChunkyLover53  +   1210d ago
That is too bad, always sad to see people laid off, and its even worse when a decent console game developer switches to IOS development.

Starhawk was fun, had zero advertising and deserved better. Hope those guys find work soon.
hkgamer  +   1210d ago
Agree. Starhawk was promoted a little by Sony, but when it came out I didn't even know about it.

It's also very sad to see game studios laying people off and going the iOS route. Actually it feels a little strange that these studios go the iOS route when they probably know nothing about making games for the mass public.

iOS is not about making great games, its more about making attractive games that go viral.
ikkokucrisis  +   1209d ago
Hmm, I was planning to buy the Multi-player component after playing the Single Player free on Plus+ later this month (because of the spend $100 get $20 back sale on PSN).

If LB is not going to do any more PS3 work are they gonna drop support for the *Hawk games as well?
DeforMAKulizer  +   1209d ago
Sony said that Sony Santa Monica will continue the support for the game.
yesmynameissumo  +   1210d ago
I think marketing is the Bane to Sony's Batman. It's breaking its back by not promoting...well, anything. It's shit like this that makes me convinced Insomniac's decision to go 3rd party was in the best interest of the studio. Look at Resistance 3. One of the best, if not THE best, shooter of 2011 and Sony barely promoted it. They set good and great games up to fail. I love PlayStation and the games the 1st parties put out, that's why I'm so critical. It's great to have "all these exclusives" but what's the point if 2 or 3 are marketed?
blue_cheese  +   1210d ago
like i've been saying although Sony has far more, and sometimes far better exclusive games; when it comes for these games to actually sell, these games fall flat on their face. if resistance 3 had been a third party title it would have sold a lot better on the xbox360 and would have brought more support to these games. i still feel that a lot of sony's exclusive developers should go multiplatform, its only hurting them.
yesmynameissumo  +   1210d ago
I don't think R3 would have been an insta-buy on the 360. The flip side to that coin is this also happens on the 360, only not as often, because their aren't a lot (comparatively) of exclusives coming from 1st party studios. Forza isn't a massive seller. Fable isn't. Kinect games haven't been. They all just have commercials and ads to at least make people AWARE the damn games exist. The results have been doing well enough for sequels to be made.
ChronoJoe  +   1210d ago
You do actually realise that Sony's exclusive developers are contracted and paid a salary? Regardless of the success of their product.

Futhermore, most are first party. Only Insomniac and one or two others are '2nd party' (which is technically just third). For most of the studio it's insignificant if EA or Sony are effectively paying their wages, they just need to get decent contracts in. Sony probably weren't willing to support Insomniac / Resistance, as much as previously based on the underperformance of their more recent games, hence Insomniacs move.

Whilst I don't disagree with the idea that most developers would be more successful as third party, pretty much all would, even Microsofts - you seem to missunderstand why developers produce games exclusively or one platform in the first place. It's not because they believe their dependent on sales figures and believe that doing so will sell their game better, any third party dev that produces a game exclusively for one platform has a heap load of financial support that they wouldn't otherwise get.

In this case, you cry about this studio failing and collapsing, the reality is. It was a studio brought together to produce one of Sony's intellectual properties. It would not have existed without Sony's intellectual / financial backing so naturally layoffs after the deliverable for the project they were contracted for, were delivered... were inevitable.
BattleAxe  +   1210d ago
Resistance 3 killed itself. While it had a great single player campaign, the multiplayer was the worst in the series. They went from 8 Player Co-op with matchmaking in Resistance 2, down to 2 player co-op without matchmaking in Resistance 3. They went from 40 player matches in Resistance: Fall of Man and 60 player matches in Resistance 2 all the way down to 16 player matches in Resistance 3. Can you see the difference? Any true fan of the series knows these facts.

With Starhawk, they apparently didn't do a very good job with the single player campaign, but the online portion is alot of fun. I didn't bother to buy Starhawk at launch, but I just bought the Mulitplayer Edition when it released as a stand alone game around two weeks ago, and it was money well spent. With Warhawk, they had to deal with the fact that there wasn't a very big install base on the PS3 when this game released. I would say that their lack of success comes from poor timing for Warhawk, and producing a game where only 50% of it was good with Starhawk. Switching to IOS development won't help them at all.
#2.1.3 (Edited 1210d ago ) | Agree(9) | Disagree(4) | Report
Blankman85  +   1210d ago
Sumo, Fable 2 and 3 sold over 5 million each, so did Forza 3. Forza 2 sold over 4 million. Granted these are VGChartz numbers, but still.
You could have picked Viva pinata, Alan Wake, Crackdown or something. Also, Dance Central and Kinect Sports both sold over 3 million.
smashcrashbash  +   1210d ago
You just babble the same thing every ignorant fanboy says all the time. You pretend that every game on the 360 get the attention it deserves and always think that every game on then PS3 would be better received on the 360. What about all the failed games that are on the 360? What happened to those. Do you pretend they don't exist or something? And what about all the Kinect games that fall flat on their face? They had commercials but barely sold even close the number of people that own a Kinect system. No one receives anything better on any system. They all have their sellers and their not so good sellers.Stop repeating the same BS every time. you can't just make such a general statement. Resistance could have sold even less on the 360 for all you know.StarHawk could have been ignored completely.
neoMAXMLC  +   1210d ago
Yeah, and Alan Wake would have done better on the PS3. So would Forza.

This myth that games always do better on the 360 is absolute bullcrap.
trouble_bubble  +   1209d ago
Ndvihu...NO FABLE GAME has sold over 5 million according to YOUR source...vgchartz .

Forza 2 hasn't passed 4 mil' either according to YOUR source, nor has any Dance Central game passed your claim of 3 mil' .

What's your angle? Didn't think someone would check or what? Dear gawd man, Sumo never even tracked . Wow lmao
#2.1.7 (Edited 1209d ago ) | Agree(6) | Disagree(0) | Report
Ben_Grimm  +   1210d ago
People really need to stop with the "Sony doesn't promote" hard enough excuse. Sony put out dozens of commercials for R3, billboards and ads everywhere. I saw commercial spots for Starhawk and ads at local gamestops and other stores that carry electronics. The fact is as good as these games were the interests in them are low.

People keep saying that Sony has all these great IP's, but if the interest isn't there then what good are they? I loved Warhawk but I never got a chance to play Starhawk only because at the time there were other games that sparked my interest more. The same could be said for me and Twisted Metal.

Here's hoping that these guys return to console game making, great talent like this belongs on a big screen not a small handheld device.
ginsunuva  +   1209d ago
No. People ACTUALLY don't know about these games. Every time I mention any ps3 game to anyone I know, they've never heard of it in their lives. Ps3 owners are an older, more mature demographic who are more stingy when spending because their parents aren't buying their stuff anymore. And they don't have the social networking of younger kids and teens on wii and xbox, which is a major component of selling products - word of mouth.
maniacmayhem  +   1209d ago

I'm going to have to STRONGLY disagree. Just because you may know people that don't know any PS3 games doesn't mean Sony doesn't promote. I know just as many people that do know PS3 games.

"Ps3 owners are an older, more mature demographic who are more stingy"

C'mon now, that is just a load of pure snob, BS. Being the more mature console doesn't stop CoD and other main stream games from being the number one franchises on both ps3 and 360.

If it were a true older demographic then they would be much more informed of ps3 releases due to internet news and other media outlets that older folks have more access too.
blue_cheese  +   1210d ago
this brings me back to my point that although sony is a great company, some games like starhawk under preform on the console. whereas if this game would have been released on the xbox360, people would have bought this game in droves considering the audience of xbox360 doesn't have a game similar to this. these guys were great developers, hope the laid off find work in the future.
BigStef71  +   1210d ago
Not at all. If it isn't a big franchise like Halo Gears Fable or Forza then it doesn't sell well on 360.
blue_cheese  +   1209d ago
false COD sells 2 to 1 on 360, im not a fanboy but third party games tend to sell a lot better on 360, i only plat my ps3 for exclusives.
xabmol  +   1209d ago
Wait, wait, wait....
Big states that if it is not a 'big franchise' then it will not sell well on the 360.

Then Blue say that CoD sells 2 to 1 on the 360 as if this is a counter argument.

Isn't that just saying the same exact thing that Big said? Is CoD not a big franchise now?! O.o
Jazz4108  +   1209d ago
How do u think these games like forza and halo and gears got started? They were new ips that were well recieved.
BitbyDeath  +   1210d ago
RIP Warhawk :-(
Ducky  +   1210d ago
One of the few developers that actually made multiplayer games that went beyond the cookie-cutter experience and yet it falters.

You'd think with all the people that complain about online shooters all being casual and generic, Starhawk would've done better. Sadly most big publishers will just see this as another reason to play it safe.
#5 (Edited 1210d ago ) | Agree(10) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
PinkFunk  +   1209d ago
I absolutely loved Starhawk. If I still had my PS3 (I moved to the UK, couldn't take it with me), I'd be playing the sh*t out of it right now.

I remember playing the beta and thinking, 'my goodness, they've changed everything, this is potentially going to be a massive hit'. I wish they had sold more... because I thought it was freakin' brilliant.
Burning_Finger  +   1210d ago
Yikes. Looks like next gen is a battle between who more third party developers.
palaeomerus  +   1210d ago
So it's like Incognito is dying TWICE. Great. First Psygnosis (Sony Liverpool) goes and now this.
USMC_POLICE  +   1210d ago
Cool first they kill resistance then socom now starhawk/warhawk all my favorite games awsome
KingofGambling  +   1210d ago
I wish the developers from LightBox Interactive luck in the coming future and that Starhawk is an underrated game.
Maybe Sony would ask LightBox to develop a game for the PS4.
hkgamer  +   1210d ago
dont really care for lightbox to be honest, if they are laying of alot of their employees and going the iOS route then I probalby wont come across any of their games.

Now if those employees grouped up to form another studio in the near future then that would be great and I wish them all the luck.
USMC_POLICE  +   1210d ago
Please dont take away killzone or granturismo
the worst  +   1210d ago
they should've made warhawk 2
BigStef71  +   1210d ago
Ok for people saying it had zero advertising I will agree that Sony could have actually advertised it better but what do you call a month long beta they earlier in the year? Sounds like that should of been able to show people how great the game was. It sucks because starhawk is one of my favorite games of the year. It deserved more than 110k sales just like TM deserved more than 500k. Definitely the two underrated games of the year. So hopefully LightBox finds some success in iOS and hopefully return someday to making games for Playstation
Ducky  +   1210d ago
A beta isn't exactly advertisement though. (Unless you're EA)
That, and the beta was an actual beta instead of a glorified demo, and the gameplay fluctuated with updates, so it wasn't exactly a fair representation of how the game turned out.
For that matter, the recent DLC dramatically changed the gameplay as well.

It's sad indeed, because LightBox seemed to have done a lot of things right. They had a beta to iron out balance and bugs. They had free map DLC so community doesn't get split up. They appear to care about their fans and listen to community feedback.
You can't really fault them for anything, except for maybe the single-player which was relatively flat... but still, they deserved much better yields for their work. =(
#12.1 (Edited 1210d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
BigStef71  +   1210d ago
I agree Sony is definitely at fault for not advertising it better. It is a shame because more people should have experienced this great game. It's one of the best multiplayer games I have played on ps3. I just really hope they will come back to console gaming someday. I would love a starhawk 2 on ps4
Drainage  +   1210d ago
looks like Killzone is the only IP that is still alive and kicking on the PS. Oh and Uncharted and God of War. But as an online universe, the PS is not looking good. First socom, then Resistance and now Starhawk. Even R&C is taking a break due to Isomniac's third party train wreck Fuse game.
#13 (Edited 1210d ago ) | Agree(6) | Disagree(11) | Report | Reply
GraveLord  +   1210d ago
You forgot LittleBigPlanet, Gran Turismo and many others.

What about Microsoft? The only real heavy online-focuses successful franchise is Halo(which is in decline due to Call of Duty) and Gears of War, which people get bored of quickly(reference: Xbox Live weekly activity charts)
Giantknight   1210d ago | Spam
trouble_bubble  +   1209d ago
Fall of Man sold over 4 million. If Resistance is dead then console exclusives like the Witcher 2, Viva Pinata Trouble in Paradise, Beautiful Katamari, Crackdown 2, Ace Combat, Alan Wake, Metro, Prey are downright stillborn.

How is Ratchet and Clank taking "a break" when THIS GAME http://www.insomniacgames.c... is still set to come out THIS YEAR??
#13.3 (Edited 1209d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
Omega_Shinpo   1209d ago | Spam
Ben_Grimm  +   1210d ago
A lot and I do mean A LOT of developers and studios are focusing their efforts and resources to mobile. Low costs in production and a better gamble for profit return.

I really hate to see what next gen brings. I really hope consoles see this and plan accordingly. They need to lower these console fees and start catering to indie devs and smaller dev houses.
AngelicIceDiamond  +   1210d ago
The good news is the Studio is up and running and the WarHawk Ip still exist.

Sony will probably shelve the War Hawk Ip along with Resistence for now, or at least until the PS4 gets released.

For the mean time, that's another Ip we probably won't be hearing about from Sony for a while.
Father Murder X  +   1210d ago
But sales don't matter..................
Outside_ofthe_Box  +   1209d ago
..................when determining the quality of a game.
#16.1 (Edited 1209d ago ) | Agree(11) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
r21  +   1210d ago
Well this is upsetting news! I freaking love starhawk and this is just crappy news to hear the devs getting hit :C Sony, why do you suck so much at marketing.
Straightupbeastly  +   1209d ago
It takes money to make money, and I think Sony is so bat shit scared to spend money anywhere they're not certain it won't turn profit. This is dangerous because it takes chance to make an impact, so if u never take a chance you're gonna become irrelevant
#18 (Edited 1209d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(4) | Report | Reply
BitbyDeath  +   1209d ago
Sony just spent near 400 million on Gaikai... i don't think they are scared to spend.

Secondly LightBox Interactive are not a Sony owned studio they can do whatever they want.
#18.1 (Edited 1209d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
KwietStorm  +   1209d ago
So here's what everyone who complains all day long about Sony's marketing should do: make a kickstarter initiative to budget their exclusive game ads, since marketing is so cheap. Seriously, do it. It would at least help out, right?
Smokeeye123  +   1209d ago
Starhawk has sold 170k worldwide...


They should of just made a straight sequel to Warhawk.
Ethereal  +   1209d ago
Damn, one of the thing I hate about this industry. The people making new innovated titles get canned while the yearly rehashes grow and producing insane sale numbers. Just goes to show something is wrong with the so called "gamer" of today...On a side note I loved Starhawk and I will remember the people that poured their hearts into it.
christheredhead  +   1209d ago
Do people still play Starhawk?

I was thinking about getting the multiplayer component on PSN. Not sure if the community was still strong though. The game looks really fun, but I don't want to buy it if no one really plays anymore.
Sevir  +   1209d ago
It seems like sony let tjis studio die
Its a pity but really, the game was pretty good, the single player for Starhawk served as a tutorial for the intense ,multiplayer. And yet this wasn't supported or marketed the way warhawk was which again harkens my belief that if Sony has all these studios they should start to limit the amount of Exclusives that release a yea, I'm tired of top their studios with amazing talent release amazing games with no damn support because Sony's funds were spread thin releasing 10+ games a year, it makes sense to release 3 - 4 exclusives, one PR quarter in the year and put big money behind it to maximize returns. A damn shame lightbox is going on to make casual shit on iOS along with Eat Sleep Play, I'd have love to see them even go towards a smaller budget and make PSVita and PSN/XBLA games, this shit is just unfortunate.
Darth Stewie  +   1209d ago
I feel both Starhawk and Twisted Metal(2012) both would have sold better as PSN only games at around $20-$30. Both games single players were not great as the games were multiplayer heavy.
TheDivine  +   1209d ago
Il just speak the truth. Starhawk sucked ass. It was a bunch of nifty ideas, fun online (although almost every shooter is), but a niche game with one of the worst SP EVER. It wasnt even a campaign it was a MP training wheels tutorial. Twisted Metal was cool in the psx days, not anymore. These are niche games. TM for nostalgia, and Starhawk idk, maybe strategy folk? Id much rather play, Halo, Gears, BF3, COD, KZ3, or the dozen other blockbuster shooters. Starhawk wasnt AAA nor was it a blockbuster. Shouldve been MP only DD release for 19.99 (10 w/ps plus) or f2p with microtransactions. It was doomed to fail.

R3 idk what happened. One of the best campaigns ever until New York and then it fel off the cliff. MP was fun but died quick and was plauged with problems. I guess ps3 owners only do buy big 3rd party stuff like COD, AC, and whatever else. Its crazy how many studios Sony is closing and how many that make PS games closed. Virtually every studio that made Vita games went belly up after it released. 3rd party games are the only viable option these days unless its a blockbuster (Halo, GT, Gears, Uncharted, Mario, Zelda) or made within budget for a specific demographic like Catherine. AAA games cant keep going with these 100 million dollar budgets and hollywood voice actors. Its a few exclusives, multiplats, or ios games these days. The bubble has burst. People dont buy any old crap anymore. That only works on mobile where all the dev's are heading.
Cajun Chicken  +   1209d ago
I found that Starhawk was like Crackdown 2. Now hear me out, I'm sorry, but Starhawk did not better the engine or graphics of Warhawk. Warhawk was a brilliant game and just had that right amount of freedom.

I'm not sure what happened with Starhawk. It felt rehashed. Lightbox seemed similar to the way a team of ex-employees were put together from Realtime Worlds to make Crackdown 2 on 360. Both sequels came years after and didn't really improve on the previous games' achievements. Either graphically, thematically, narrative or gameplay.

There was just something wrong with it. I didn't like the protagonist in the SP and the objective based missions were annoying. The only fun part I found was putting up defences. I'm still not sure how space battles and ships that turned into mechs could mess up so bad.

But to me, what I played of Starhawk was a definite disappointment.
Knushwood Butt  +   1209d ago
I played Warhawk for over 200 hours.

I played the Starhawk beta, but simply didn't enjoy it.
MilkMan  +   1209d ago
Wow, whatever happened to all that War Hawk LOVE that PS3 owners had? They REALLY screwed the pooch on this one. Like I always say. Put your money where your mouth is. I bought it and I don't even play it (cause of time constraints) but all this "I'll wait for the game of the year edition" or "I hate it cause of 1-2-3 reasons" or "yeah, I'm gonna wait until its 0.99 cents so I can get a deal" now I hope you own a IPhone.

You really have to LOL at "modern, entitled" gamers.
SOULJER   1209d ago | Trolling | show
Nac  +   1208d ago
Picked up StarHawk day one. This is sad to see.
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