As many video game fans prepare for the fourth of July weekend, some of their favorite game developers may be preparing to look for new jobs as Disney has confirmed the closure of fan-favorite studio Black Rock, known for its celebrated action-racing franchise Split-Second.
In addition, lesser-known developer Red Fly Studio, which has brought numerous franchise titles to the Nintendo Wii (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II and Thor: God of Thunder) laid-off thirty employees.
The Black Rock Studio closure started to make headlines late yesterday evening and many fans were hoping that along with a new day, a denial from parent company, Disney Interactive Studios, would also be on the horizon. Unfortunately, with a new day came confirmation from the Mouse House that Black Rock Studio would be shuttering its doors:
"Disney Interactive Studios confirms that Black Rock Studios' current project has not been greenlit for further development, consequently the company informed employees yesterday of the intent to enter a consultation process on the proposal to close the studios."
While the legalese phrasing, "informed employees yesterday of the intent to enter a consultation process on the proposal to close the studios" might not sound definitive, considering the studio's current project has been killed-off, there's little doubt that Black Rock has been effectively shut down - and is unlikely to return. The closure comes only two months after Disney had whittled the Black Rock workforce down to around forty workers.
Similarly (and let's hope for a better longterm outcome), Red Fly Studio has also made some tough decisions - laying off thirty staffers. The studio, primarily known for producing Wii ports of popular Xbox 360 and PS3 titles, confirmed the layoffs to Gamespot. In the report, Red Fly CEO Dan Borth said:
"Red Fly was in the unfortunate position of laying off around 30 people on Wednesday June 22. The reduction of staff was a response to a large high-profile project that was, to our surprise, reevaluated and then canceled. Red Fly has been an agile, passionate company from day one, and while this news was very difficult, we've made a concentrated effort to reinvest in ourselves and the way we want to make games. Currently, we are all very excited about our new opportunities and working diligently to make them a reality."
Game studio employment is heavily intertwined with development cycles and it's not uncommon to see perfectly good game designers packing their things - following completion of largescale projects. The situation at Red Fly is certainly especially tough - when the studio is stripped of a project altogether.
We here at Game Rant would like to thank all of the former Black Rock and Red Fly employees for their hard work - and wish them the best of luck in finding exciting opportunities very soon.
Follow me on Twitter @ benkendrick and let us know your favorite Black Rock and Red Fly titles.