Yesterday was no party for the folks who work hard on Activision’s long running Guitar Hero and Skylanders franchises. As first reported by game informer via an anonymous source, it appears that the layoffs have specifically affected the development staff based in Minneapolis Minnesota.
The first entry in the Guitar Hero franchise in a number of years, Guitar Hero Live, was developed by Freestyle Games based in the United Kingdom. GH: Live was well received by critics, including us, especially for its Guitar Hero TV Mode which allows players to try out specially curated playlists, limited-time special events and downloadable content without spending any real world cash. GH: Live was a re-invention of sorts for the franchise with a revised guitar controller.
Skylanders saw the release of Skylanders Superchargers almost every major platform including mobile. With a focus on vehicles and a special partnership with Nintendo that ended up in the creation of two hybrid Skylanders / Amiibo figures it is a little surprsing that this entry developed by Vicarious Visions and Beenox under performed.
Both franchises were singled out as under performing during Activision’s recent earnings call. Although they did not confirm the layoffs to major gaming press they did issue a statement which in part read:
“We are refocusing to better align with Activision’s long-term priorities because, as always, our strategy evolves to keep us ahead of a rapidly-changing industry. We are working with those impacted by the changes to offer outplacement services and support.”
Our sympathies to everyone affected by these recent round of lay offs. The games industry can be a cruel sector to work in and turn over is never easy.