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Blackbird Interactive lays off more employees after Homeworld 3 delay

Second round of layoffs
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Blackbird Interactive, the studio behind Hardspace: Shipbreaker and co-developer of Minecraft Legends, confirmed further cuts to its workforce after an initial report by Game Developer. In a statement provided to the site, a spokesperson explained the layoffs with “economic pressures outside of our control” and said it was “part of a realignment plan that’s necessary because of new projects that were shelved by some of our partners.”

It’s unknown which projects the spokesperson is talking about as Blackbird’s only known title in development at the moment is Homeworld 3, which it recently delayed to May 2024 to work in a bunch of feedback gathered during Steam Next Fest.

Homeworld 3 screenshot.

Fans are eagerly awaiting the launch of Homeworld 3. For Blackbird it's a make or break situation.

Blackbird already eliminated 41 jobs in August 2023. In January 2024, Mojang announced that it would stop active development of Minecraft Legends, which Blackbird helped make.

With contracts not turning out the way the studio hoped and Homeworld 3 having to be delayed again, it seems likely that Blackbird Interactive is in full survival mode at the moment, making a further reduction of employees necessary.

“We looked at multiple ways of avoiding this and regretfully other options weren't viable. Because the affected team members are our BBI family, we want to help position them well for this next stage of their careers. We're offering a suite of extended benefits and severance to help ease this transition,” the spokesperson is quoted as saying by Game Developer, which adds to that impression..

Homeworld 3’s demo was the fourth most-played demo during the recent Steam Next Fest, so a lot of people are interested in how the upcoming space RTS game turns out. With the situation it finds itself in, Blackbird needs to hit the landing perfectly, fulfilling the high expectations players have when it comes to the Homeworld franchise.

Blackbird Interactive is an independent studio founded in 2007 by former members of Electronic Arts Canada and Relic Entertainment. Its successful debut title was the 2016 RTS Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, a ground-based spin-off of the iconic series which some of the founders had helped create over at Relic.