As we do at the end of every project, we are evaluating and reconfiguring our staffing needs as we transition onto our next slate of projects. While it is inappropriate for us to comment on the specific circumstances related to an individual employee departing Harmonix, we thank Casey for his instrumental work on numerous titles across the Rock Band franchise during his time here at Harmonix and wish him luck on his next endeavor.
[Original Story] At least one Rock Band 3 designer had been laid off from Harmonix as a blog post from Casey Malone details his departure from the team. It is unclear if there are more layoffs at the house of Rock Band, but layoffs tend to occur in groups and around the end of financial quarters as earnings are disclosed.
This layoff follows the voluntary departures of RB3 lead designer Dan Teasdale and a few other Harmonix studio members back in July. At that time, Teasdale announced that Rock Band 3 was "design complete", which could be the reason for layoffs among the team. Shacknews has contacted Harmonix for more information and will update you with any new information.
On the financial side, Viacom announced (via Joystiq) that it's Media Networks division, which houses MTV Games, brought in a 14% boost in operating profits due in part to lower losses by the Rock Band franchise.
Casey's resume, included with his blog post, reveals that he helped design the "meta-game" layered on top of Rock Band 3 "that interacts with all aspects of the game and includes an "extensive 'passive message' system to communicate meta-game progress to players." It likely refers to the game's "overshell" and "700+ goals and rewards" in the "revamped Career Mode".
Rock Band 3 will be released on October 26 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii. It introduces a keyboard peripheral and a Pro Mode, which offers a more authentic gameplay experience.
The only thing they need to steal from Guitar Hero is their color-wheel system. Choosing from 10 or so pre-determined color-swatches that aren't all that great? Fuck that. Rock Band, bring me some purple.
I second that emotion.