Challenges for music games and their developers are widespread, and may have affected Seven45 Studios, the Boston-based developer of Power Gig: Rise of the SixString
, according to media reports.
The studio wouldn't confirm the number of layoffs, widely-rumored to be "major", but told consumer weblog Joystiq
that it had indeed let go of some staff.
"With Power Gig
already on store shelves, last week Seven45 Studios restructured the company both as a part of the natural cycle of game development and to focus on the development needs of its upcoming games projects," the studio said in a statement to Joystiq.
Released in October of this year, the marketing behind Power Gig
hinged on the realism of its six-string guitar peripheral, which was purported to be more like a real guitar and thus offer a more lifelike playing experience thatn other music games. On this premise, musicians including Dave Matthews Band, Kid Rock and renowned guitarist Eric Clapton allowed their music to be used in the game
But the game was widely panned by critics, who generally judged it as feeling incomplete and, as Joystiq wrote, "like a budget-priced title, which it very much isn't." Critics felt that the interface was confusing and that the peripheral did not work as it was intended, nor did it approximate the realism of guitar playing as developers had hoped. The game currently earns Metacritic scores of 36 and 37 on the Xbox 360 and PS3, respectively.
The economic landscape for even critically-acclaimed music video games is certainly not what it was in its heyday; as Viacom currently looks to sell Rock Band developer Harmonix
, Gamasutra analyst Matt Matthews just today revealed that annual revenues in the category have declined fivefold