...would they have still gone the layoff route? Now I know even now this game is nowhere near successful, but still, it's online activity and sales now seem to match some other downloadable titles and these titles are not left hanging.
The main mistake was the story mode. They could have released the dlc sooner if there was no story.
superT, you keep saying this and I hate to be in constant disagreement with your opinion(s) lately but the story mode is not the sole or main cause for Starhawk's problems.
Not being given time to finish the game as a whole before it's release played far more a role.
Had the time been given, or had LBI met the time line given to them by Sony, to deliver the game in a more complete state, things likely would have been much different for the game. That, and a much more aggressive marketing campaign.
I argue that many of the "new" modes and units like the Grizzly could have been in the finished game had there been a longer beta.
I'm sure Sony would have liked to have sold 750,000 more $60 disc copies than just DLC to some of the 175,000+ that bought the full retail game.
Sony has some cash issues and poorly selling games (even if self-inflicted in my opinion) means they must cut their losses and for all of us here that meant LBI.
DLC should be something truly added to a game that makes it even better, not just something you didn't get the time to finish before you released it.
Had the beta been longer, I believe we would have got more maps like Cypress from the start because even during the beta the players (me included) asked for more cover to fight from. Same goes with smaller, troop focused maps.
Time was against LBI more than anything. The inclusion of a single player mode may have been a requirement BY Sony for a "spiritual successor" to Warhawk to justify a $60 price point.
I say LBI did an okay job with the single player, it's playable and works to teach "Build and Battle" to the player. It met the minimum requirement they were likely given by Sony and tried to give the Starhawk universe some background.
Did it sap resources and time away from the real reason for the game (multiplayer)? Yes, but that was the cards LBI could have been dealt. You could say the same thing about the game's co-op since creating AI for both the single player and co-op would have not been needed in a standard multiplayer only game.
Had Starhawk just been a $20 multiplayer only PSN game right from the start I believe LBI would still be with us creating new DLC for the game on a regular basis.
Sony, Santa Monica Studio and LBI instead went bigger and it didn't sell well for a host of reasons. One mode or the other can't be singled out as the only cause.
Since we may never get the full Starhawk story and the truth around the events that led to LBI being cut loose for a few years, it is anyone's guess really.
Time and tightening budgets played a bigger role in my opinion. That my best guess.