Harmonix has gone through transitions today. The developer behind Rock Band and Dance Central has confirmed a small number of employees were let go, just as news hit that the studio had hired Zak McClendon, lead designer of BioShock 2.
"We can confirm that a small number of Harmonix employees were let go today," a Harmonix spokesperson told Polygon. "This decision was made due to shifting staffing priorities for Harmonix's multiple future projects." A source claims that the layoffs impacted 10 employees in all, and were typical of a development cycle drawing down. The company recently stopped development of both Rock Band and Dance Central DLC.
This came just as Superannuation noted that McClendon's LinkedIn profile now lists his title as "Design Director" at Harmonix. Michelle Mangio, formerly of Turbine, also started at Harmonix this week as director of quality assurance.
The picture of Harmonix's next game is still fuzzy, but getting clearer. We know that as of August, the company was seeking a combat designer, and next-gen job listings called for skill at telling an emotional story. Both of those seem up McClendon's alley from BioShock 2. Harmonix has three projects, and recently received venture capital from The Foundry Group.