The Beatles: Rock Band developer Harmonix confirmed a 13 percent workforce reduction yesterday, just in time for the holiday season. The 39 positions are primarily "redundancies" in the Cambridge, Massachusetts office, and an MTV Games representative told Joystiq that "those affected were primarily in QA. The others affected ranged from administrative to other various roles within the company."
MTV Games was quick to reassure fans that no future Harmonix titles have been adversely affected by the cuts, claiming that the layoffs are part of a restructuring process intended to bring the testing process "more in line with how other game developers manage their QA departments" by focusing on "temporary or part-time help, outsourcing and support from external partners" instead of a robust in-house QA team.
The news is doubly troubling in light of publishing partner EA's plan to cut an additional 1,500 jobs by March of 2010. Announced last month, the new "Cost Reduction Plan" follows troublesome sales performance and much like the Harmonix restructuring is intended to cut costs by eliminating redundant positions (though the two events occurred independently.)
"None of the 1,500 people think they were the right people to be let go, and that hurts," EA CEO John Riccitiello said in a recent interview with Industry Gamers. "You just can't be that objective about your own individual job. I think everybody that remains, the vast majority of them understand the logic, they agree with it and support it and think we're a stronger company for the moves."