Developer Robomodo, which developed Tony Hawk: Ride and the yet-to-be released Tony Hawk: Shred, has been hit with what has been described to us as a significant number of layoffs. The news comes as sources from within the studio acknowledge that this will be the last Tony Hawk project that the studio will be doing for publisher Activision.
The developer has acknowledged that a number of employees have been let go, but a good number of staff as well as developers, leads and directors remain on board as they work to secure a new project. Of course, once they start ramping up for a new project, some employees may have the chance to rejoin Robomodo if they wish. The number of layoffs is believed to be between 30 and 60 employees.
The Robomodo studio housed a number of developers from the former EA Chicago and Midway Chicago studios. Reports suggest that Robomodo was selected by Activision to work on Ride because of the amount of experience that team members within the studio had working with arcade games and peripherals. Ride was not really successful, and reports claim that Activision was only able to move about 114,000 copies of the title and the skateboard peripheral. Despite the lack of success the first time around, Activision stuck with the developer for the yet-to-be released Shred title.
While Robomodo will not be working on future Tony Hawk projects, it could be that the entire Tony Hawk franchise might be in doubt. The franchise has lost ground to Electronic Arts rival, Skate, and Ubisoft will be launching a new Shaun White Skateboarding title later this year, as well. Sources suggest to us that Activision is likely to reboot the franchise again with a new developer in hopes of a last ditch effort to revive the franchise to take on its rivals.
It is unknown if the Shred title, which is targeted at a much younger audience (said to be 6 to 12), will be successful or not; but the layoff news might not be a good sign.