Harmonix, maker of all things Rock Band, recently revealed they’ve let go 39 individuals from their Massachusetts-based development studio.
The company sent pink slips, or however you layoff video game workers, to the workers, and, according to Joystiq, the 39 let go, represents 13% of the company’s entire staff.
However, the vast majority of the firings came from the studio’s Quality Assurance department. These are the guys who playtest games before the software is packaged and sent to you.
A Harmonix/MTV Games spokesperson, speaking with Joystiq, stated that the layoffs were not precipitated by sales of The Beatles: Rock Band or any other software for that matter and was instead incurred to “accommodate the 2009 worldwide release schedule.”
The spokesperson said:
“This was a process and business decision unrelated to the performance of any MTV Games / Harmonix product. MTV Games and Harmonix are very pleased with the sales of our Rock Band titles and we expect to continue to see strong sales throughout the holidays across all of our titles. The Beatles: Rock Band has sold over 1 million units worldwide to date. Again, the reason for the restructuring is due to better aligning our staffing to best suit our product development plans and schedules moving forward.”
Additionally, in the future, Harmonix will establish a method of QA many other studios use; outsourcing that is!
That same spokesperson, whose jaw must now be hurting said, about the company’s new quality assurance direction:
“[we will now shift to] a combination of temporary/part time help, outsourcing and support from external partners — which is in line with how other game developers manage their QA departments.”
Finally, and thankfully, the studio promised “no future projects were affected by the restructuring.” Hooray.