EA has now confirmed the news we reported early today: Pandemic Studios has been officially shut down.
The company confirmed with reporters that close to 200 employees were laid off, including high-profile management like Andrew Goldman (CEO), Joe Resnick (President) and Greg Borrud (Vice-President of Product Development). Just a handful of employees were transferred to EA’s Los Angeles office to be integrated into other projects.
EA Games Label Senior Vice President Nick Earl about the closure:
I want to make it clear that the Pandemic brand and franchises will live on. In the months ahead, we will announce plans for new games based on Pandemic franchises. This type of change can be difficult. But the situation calls for us to act decisively, to take control of our destiny and to run a stronger, more focused development operation. That’s how we will continue to make great games in our LA studios.
The closure of Pandemic Studios comes in the middle of a nightmare of cutbacks from Electronic Arts: 1,500 employees were sacked just a week ago, followed by EA cutting their projected game releases down by 50% in 2010. During this, they stated that they would be cutting “less than profitable” IPs from the company – though in this case, they dropped the “less-than-profitable” developer but retained the IPs. After the official EA memo was released, Mr. Earl did say that the move was made to “improve our cost structure, ensure quality and build schedule integrity for this studio.”
It just gets worse from here, though: Pandemic Studios is likely not the only studio to be shut down by EA. Sources also say Electronics Arts has already laid off staff members from Tiburon, Mythic Entertainment and Black Box – though they have yet to confirm.
EA is rumored to have already laid off certain staff members at Tiburon Studios (Madden, Tiger Woods) , Mythic Entertainment (Warhammer Online) and Black Box (Need for Speed and Skate), reports which the company has yet to confirm.
The same sources that proved true in the Pandemic Studios closure also said that EA Maxis (Spore, Sims) and social-gaming developer Rapture Studios are looking at similar layoffs as Pandemic. If true, the studios will face massive layoffs and likely closure, with only another select handful of employees being retained for Electronic Arts Los Angeles and Redwood Shores (though Redwood Shores themselves laid workers off last week).
What do you think about Pandemic’s closing? Do you think they’ll be cutting back even more? Do you think they’re doing the right thing?