Vancouver-based Blackbird Interactive has confirmed it laid off 41 of its team members this week. The announcement comes just a few days after the developer allowed members of the press to play a version of its long-awaited space-based RTS sequel Homeworld 3 at Gamescom 2023.
In a statement to IGN, Blackbird blamed the decision to lay off those team members on the cancelation of “several unannounced projects” at the developer. It added:
As an independent studio, Blackbird Interactive has always been a close-knit team. Our top priority is helping position those affected for this next stage of their careers. We are offering a suite of extended benefits and severance to help ease this transition. No announced projects will be affected by this move, and we will continue to deliver on those games.
Game World Observer stated that prior to the layoffs this week, Blackbird had approximately 300 employees.
The developer was first formed by a number of EA and Relic team members in 2007. In 2016, it released its first game, Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, a prequel to the two space-based Homeworld games originally developed by Relic.
In 2019, it was announced that Blackbird was making the next game in the franchise, Homeworld 3. After a couple of delays, the game is currently scheduled to be released in February 2024. You can pre-order a Collector’s Edition of the game, which includes physical models of some of the game’s ships, at Amazon.
Blackbird has also released a number of other games, including Hardspace: Shipbreakers in 2020 and Crossfire: Legion in 2022. It has also collaborated with Mojang and Microsoft on two Minecraft-based games; the now canceled mobile game Minecraft: Earth, and the recently released Minecraft Legends.
Besides Homeworld 3, Blackbird is working on a new sci-fi card-based roguelite game called Earthless. It’s scheduled to be released as an Early Access game sometime in 2024.
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