Today at DICE, we caught up with John Drake, manager of communications at Harmonix, and asked him about the recent layoffs his company has endured. As you might recall, Harmonix was put up for sale by parent company Viacom last year, and late in the year an investment firm stepped in and bought the company, making them an independent developer once again.
"We're sort of regrouping now. You know, we launched two huge titles last year with Rock Band 3 and Dance Central, and they've done pretty well. I think that Rock Band 3 has been pretty well understood that while it sold well, but it wasn't what we hoped it would be as far as a big blockbuster title goes. Meanwhile, Dance Central is roaring out of the gate for Kinect, and we're really happy with the way that has gone.
Overall, DLC has been doing really for both, so the studio is healthy and we have a whole bunch of different new projects that we haven't announced yet. This was just a reduction in force to get the studio in-line with what we're going to do next."
On being purchased by a private investment firm:
"Effectively, we've sort of become a private, independent studio. We're owned by a private equity firm, which is the equivalent of being owned by one or two big bank owners. They're a great firm, and they've given us a really wide range to run the studio and make some really cool stuff that we're hoping to show you later this year."
Sad that this news comes in the shadow of Guitar Hero getting axed, but with declining sales and spiraling development costs, what's a publisher to do? We'll be excited to see what Harmonix has up their sleeve, and we're wondering if all of their projects will still be music-based.