Late last week rumours surfaced that recent lay-offs at Gearbox Software had to do with the poor performance of Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway and the cancellation of Aliens: Colonial Marines. A total of 26 employees had been laid off at Gearbox. However, Randy Pitchford issued a statement reassuring us that Aliens: Colonial Marines was still in production and that the studio was in fact just shedding excess weight (well, he put it a little differentely):
"In 2005, after having a lot of success with games from Half-Life: Opposing Force to Halo on the PC to our original Brothers in Arms Road to Hill 30, we embarked upon a strategy where opportunity in the industry and the ambition of key talent here was driving a lot of growth for us. The strategy has been amazingly transformative for us. We've been growing *very* fast - more than doubling in size between 2007 and 2008 and outpacing general industry growth in staff and revenue by an order of magnitude."
Growing fast often means that the quality of recruitment suffers a little, perhaps Gearbox are just getting rid off talent deemed not sharp enough? It can also be seen as adjusting to a reality were Gearbox may not be working on the same number of projects simultaneously. Apart from the recently released Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway and Samba de Amigo (Wii) the studio is putting the finishing touches on open world shooter Borderlands and in the beginning of the year they were advertising for new staff after securing a dream project (believed to be a new Halo title). While Aliens: Colonial Marines is not cancelled, there was no concrete update as to what is happening to the title and when it will be finished. I suppose that is in Sega's hands.
"Over the last six weeks, we've 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. A number of recent tactical decisions here are a reflection of this new commitment and strategy."
"We have exciting, exciting things going on that offer tremendous opportunity for us and our interest is for the best talent in the world to join us and be a part of it. Borderlands is shaping up to be astonishingly fresh and I am very excited to reveal more about that soon, Aliens: Colonial Marines is very exciting and I look forward to the right moment we can more fully unveil our efforts there and we have other incredible unannounced projects in development and a lot of opportunity for the future - a future I am increasingly excited about."