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Disney closes Vancouver's Propaganda Games

Thu 20 Jan 2011 8:39am GMT / 3:39am EST / 12:39am PST
PublishingDevelopment

Tron and Turok studio latest victim of corporation's waning interest in console

Disney has announced that it will be closing Propaganda Games in Vancouver, after the studio's latest project failed to reach sales expectations. 100 staff had already been laid off from Propaganda late last year.

The developer had most recently produced Tron:Evolution, a tie-in game for the recent Disney film reboot, and had been working on an RPG based on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise - since cancelled, but Disney confirmed to Gamasutra yesterday that it was pulling the plug. "The studio has completed all work associated with its most recent project," read a statement.

The move seems to reflect Disney's new direction of social and mobile development, which began with a statement to press last November that the corporation would be putting less money into console development in order to maximise profit.

"We've seen a pretty big shift in games from console to what I'll call multiplatform, everything from mobile apps to social networking games, and by putting John Pleasants in to run games, not only will be the focus on turning those businesses into profitability, but diversifying our presence in the business," said Bob Iger, Disney CEO in November.

Pleasants had previously been CEO of Playdom interactive, which Disney acquired for $763 million in July, 2010.

18 Comments

gi biz ;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
Are they blaming the studio for the lack of flavour in Tron? My new mobile was crammed full with said movie's trailers, and there's ads everywhere, but come on... Dialogues like: "Ok you win, this is just a game!" "Not anymore!!" stopped feeling cool 10 years ago.
I'm sorry for people at Propaganda, and I hope that Disney's not seriously planning to flood the market with cheap stuff, unlike they already did on Ovi Store...

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
Ouch. They were a good bunch, I knew a few of them personally.

Here's to things picking up for the industry as a whole.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

robert troughton UK General Manager, Epic Games

224 100 0.4
Ouch. Another sad day for the games industry... was Propaganda/Disney benefiting much from Canada's tax breaks at the time they closed this..?

Posted:3 years ago

#3
Could be the management/direction of Disney and movie related tie in of game projects vs original IPs that did not allow Propaganda to truly flourish on its own accord

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Jordan Woodward Level Designer, Codemasters Birmingham

44 0 0.0
Shame to see this studio go, Tron did look rather bland though from what I saw of it. Not everyone liked the movie either so I didn't expect the game would have done very well.

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

957 185 0.2
Sad times, good luck to everyone. :(

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,287 2,507 1.1
You should never base the future of a studio on the success of a movie tie IP. Those things have a success/failure rate more random than lottery numbers. And it's not like Turok was a hot commodity this generation to start with either.

Instead of dissolving the studio, why not rededicate it to diversification?

Posted:3 years ago

#7
@ Jimmy - I dont think Disney suits think diversification is the secret to their success. They seem to want to go social/casual (more in line with Chicken Little/hanna Montana) now whereas Propaganda was geared up for more mature AA+ productions.


Posted:3 years ago

#8

STEPHANE DASTOUS general manager, Eidos Montréal

6 0 0.0
Yes indeed it's not exactly good news ... but for those who are now without a job and are interested in trying it in Montreal, they are more than welcomed to apply to my studio ([link url=http://www.eidosmontreal.com).]http://www.eidosmontreal.com).[/link] there are still great openings (Deus Ex, Thief and an unannounced AAA project). S.

Posted:3 years ago

#9
@ Stephane - Daryl would be a good versatile AD

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,289 126 0.1
This is a shame. I think it's becoming more and more apparent that big film licence videogames just aren't worth the bother any more - most big licences I can think of since King Kong have either sold below expectation or just crashed and burned.

Good luck to all those affected, and it's a shame after what looked like a strong push into the videogames market Disney are now backing out. And I still think that Pirates of the Caribbean game looked good; polish and refining was all it seemed to lack from initial gameplay videos.

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Jon-Enee Merriex APBR Producer, GamersFirst

2 0 0.0
Can't say I'm shocked. Disney has been pretty forward about their movement toward social gaming. It sucks they made it sound like Tron failed due to the game studio. Though the game wasn't too good to begin with, the truth of the matter is Disney over sold the strength of the Tron IP and when it failed at the box office so did all relevant businesses.

Even with all its synergy, Disney couldn't make the sequel work. Fortunately for Disney they know they'll get another chance with DVD sales (which they make most of their money from anyway). Unfortunately Propaganda won't get another shot.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jon-Enee Merriex on 20th January 2011 6:39pm

Posted:3 years ago

#12
So, consensually, can we say there has yet to be a successful Movie tie in?

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Adam Parker Academic Coordinator, Qantm College

15 0 0.0
@ Chee Ming Wong

Stalker perhaps? Albeit not official, and certainly not that Tarkovskian... but then I don't think games are really quite ready yet for spending 15 minutes in a rained-out derelict building conversing with your core NPCs on the nature of faith.

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,289 126 0.1
Well, there's Goldeneye N64, although I appreciate that's, what, nearly 14 years ago now? Elsewhere, I recall King Kong did very good business for Ubisoft and - depending on what you mean by 'successful' - Riddick: Butcher Bay was bloody excellent and I think sold fairly healthy numbers. There are some other decent examples of course, but they are the exception - not the rule.

So yeah; I'd say film tie-ins are generally underwhelming and usually they under-perform too.

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Ken Rosman

3 0 0.0
The games market/industry is in shambles, everyone is trying to figure out how to make money in the new economy and there is one thing that is becoming very clear - there is no longer a market for just okay games. For those who are now without a job I am always looking for top talent at Radical http://www.radical.ca/

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Ken Rosman on 21st January 2011 5:18pm

Posted:3 years ago

#16
Homeworld - The Threequel?

Posted:3 years ago

#17

J. Goldmaker Community Management

26 0 0.0
The first TRON game now works great!!

Posted:3 years ago

#18

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