The Rhythm Action genre took a massive blow yesterday with Activision announcing the end of the Guitar Hero series, along with layoffs at DJ Hero developer Freestyle Games. Although the status of the DJ Hero series remains unknown, it doesn't look good. "We simply cannot make these games profitable given the current market," the publisher said in its earnings call.
Although the 'Hero' franchise was most notably affected, Activision appears to be laying off staff at a number of studios with the cancellation of the True Crime series reboot, True Crime: Hong Kong.
In addition, Eurogamer reports that Vicarious Visions (who developed Guitar Hero titles for Wii) has also had cuts. Apparently revealed in a tweet by Bioware designer Manveer Heir, "Ugh sorry to hear about the Vicarious Visions layoffs today after Guitar Hero canceled. Shitty. Sounds like Freestyle (DJ Hero) got hit too."
The lay offs come as little surprise with the genre in decline - not even the supposed genre leaders, Harmonix were safe. Late last year Viacom was unsuccessful in finding a buyer for the Rock Band developer. That eventually saw the Harmonix go independent for only USD$50, and subsequently hit with cuts.
The news isn't all bad however, Activision has also revealed a new developer called Beachhead. They will be dedicated to developing a digital content for the Call of Duty series.
Beachhead is Activision's fifth Call of Duty developer, joining Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Raven, and Sledgehammer.