US independent makes up to 25 staff redundant, but Aliens project still in production
Gearbox Software has laid off up to 25 of its staff as part of a strategy shift at the studio, according to reports on the web published over the weekend.
Originally, Shacknews and others reported that the redundancies came as production on Sega's Aliens: Colonial Marines was halted, but studio head Randy Pitchford has denied the game's cancellation.
However he did admit that the studio had been "adjusting our internal strategy to move from being about opportunity, ambition and growth to a strategy that is oriented towards quality, focus and performance", hence the layoffs, when talking to Kotaku.
"Our mission has always driven us to always want to strive to do better and better. Our experience has never been greater and we love applying our experience to the benefit of our games," he said, and moved to downplay the reports of layoffs.
"A number of recent tactical decisions here are a reflection of this new commitment and strategy. The timing of these tactical decisions relates more to natural maneuvering that all studios should only consider after they finish a big effort than anything else.
"I know there is a tendency in the press to get the maximum value out of a story, but unless we have a lot more fans that are much more rabid about what we are doing than I thought we did, I don’t imagine there to be much of an exciting story here after all."
He further reiterated the point to Shacknews, when commenting directly on the site itself, saying that the bigger story was the one about Gearbox's transformation into a more efficient entity: "Aliens isn't canned. We've made some transformative changes and yes, that's meant some talent changes, but that's not the real story. The true relevance of the story will actually be irrelevant until we release our next game, at which time I hope there will be a lot of interest in what we've done that can produce such results."
Gearbox is responsible for Ubisoft's Brothers in Arms franchise and is also working on Borderlands for Take 2.