While the UK studio definitely found success with Harry Potter franchise brand recognition, the actually quality of the games leaves a somewhat mixed legacy for the developers.
Movie tie-in titles are notoriously difficult prospects – even for studios that enjoy a lengthy lead time in production. However, the Harry Potter video game franchise showcased an especially bizarre evolution – as the games, like the movies, attempted to mature with their audience. The result is a mishmash of game experiences ranging from semi-open world Hogwarts exploration to third-person action shooters with Kinect and PlayStation Move support. It should be mentioned that the Bright Light closure will not affect future installments of the LEGO: Harry Potter games – as those titles are handled by Warner Bros. Interactive.
Some of Bright Lights’ most notable games include:
- Zubo (2008)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
- Need for Speed: Shift [PSP] (2009)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
- Create (2010)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
Develop reports that EA has confirmed the closing but likely initiated the shuttering process in mid-November (which makes sense given that the final Harry Potter game released months prior) and that various employees have been shifted to other EA studios (such as Criterion and Playfish). That said, it doesn’t sound as though EA simply closed the studio and redistributed resources (which, as of 2007, housed around 100 people) – since a number of employees also appear to have taken jobs outside of the EA system or remain unemployed.
Sadly, this kind of thing happens a lot in the industry – as the over-arcing creativity of a studio is relegated to churning out IP tie-ins. Without any recognizable franchises to call its own and no more Harry Potter installments on the horizon, Bright Light was no doubt an easy studio for a large publisher like EA to throw under the bus.
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