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Redundancies confirmed at Black Rock

By Matt Martin

Thu 05 May 2011 6:42am GMT / 2:42am EDT / 11:42pm PDT

Update: Around 100 positions to go at Split/Second studio according to source

Black Rock Studio

Black Rock Studio, formerly known as Climax Racing, was established in Brighton in early 2000 and is...

UPDATE: Sources speaking to Eurogamer have now indicated that as many as 100 jobs are at risk at Brighton developer Black Rock.

UPDATE 2: Disney has now confirmed job losses at the studio, although would not be drawn on the number of staff let go.

"Disney Interactive Studios confirms a reduction of its workforce from its Brighton-based internal game development studio, Black Rock Studios. The studio will continue its work on its current project," said the publisher.

Original story: Sources at Split/Second studio Black Rock have indicated that around 40 members of staff are due to be made redundant today.

Speaking to our sister site, the source said "it's rumoured at Black Rock that there will be voluntary redundancies tomorrow - roughly 40, with the aim of reducing the studio to a single game team," and suggested that the studio has been unable to successfully pitch new projects to owner Disney.

"It seems Disney have been unable to provide us with a project to work on, and our concept pitches clearly haven't gone down well (despite there being many of them)."

Sequels to racers Pure and Split/Second have apparently been aborted, as Disney refocuses it's games business on digital, social and mobile projects.

"The inactive portion of the studio has been expecting redundancies for months, so this doesn't come as a surprise to anyone. It's sad that it's come to this of course, but for many people they'll be quite happy to take the money and go, as they've been sitting around doing nothing for months," said the source.

The remaining team is at work on a "promising" title, according to the report, although it's also labelled as "new and risky".

At the start of this year Disney Interactive axed around 200 jobs including positions at Junction Point, putting Wideload Games founder Alex Seropian in charge of all remaining development teams.

In March Disney Media Group also suffered a round of layoffs. The long-term plan is to shift away from the costly console business and make the games division profitable by 2013.

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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 708 0.8
Best of luck to all involved - they're a great studio who pay and treat their people very well. Hopefully those affected will find new roles, or begin the next wave of start ups down there.

Posted:5 years ago


Simon Miles Senior Talent Acquisition Manager, Jagex Games Studio

7 8 1.1
All the very best. Great Team

Posted:5 years ago


Greg Michael Programmer

2 0 0.0
The best people I have ever had the pleasure and privilege of working with....time for Plan B guys !

Posted:5 years ago


Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

472 348 0.7
Shame really. Split/Second was a lot of fun and if the DLC had churned out quicker it would have had a longer console life for me. I would have definitely bought a sequel.

Good luck to all those affected.

Posted:5 years ago


Andy Bastable Lead Programmer, Microsoft / Rare

12 22 1.8
Thoughts & prayers go out to everyone affected. We know a little of what you guys are going through.

Posted:5 years ago


Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

962 187 0.2
Good luck guys. :(

Posted:5 years ago


Jordan Woodward Level Designer, Codemasters Birmingham

44 0 0.0
Sucks to hear this. Good luck to everyone affected.

Posted:5 years ago


Posted:5 years ago


Tommy Thompson Studying Artificial Intelligence (PhD), University of Strathclyde

110 0 0.0
I only just completed Split/Second a week ago, and really enjoyed the time I invested in it. It's a great game. It's just a shame we'll not be seeing more. Good luck to all affected, and I hope you guys find something new shortly.

Posted:5 years ago

I think Blackrock could do well as a independent, harking back to the pre disney years as Climax Racing.
Disney may be hell bent on digital non AAA titles, but that should stop pedigree like Blackrock from doing so.

Posted:5 years ago


Matt Hill Software Eng., Rare Ltd.

1 0 0.0
Best of luck to all affected, I really enjoyed my time working with them in the Climax Racing days, very talented and pleasant bunch to work with.

Posted:5 years ago


Francesco Genovese Recruitment Manager, Jagex Games Studio

3 0 0.0
Sad news :-(
Best of luck guys!

Posted:5 years ago

All the best for everyone there. That studio has one of the highest density of talented developers anywhere in the world. Shame it's turned out the way it has.

Posted:5 years ago

Best of luck to all those affected.

Posted:5 years ago

Sorry to hear this guys! Wish all those effected the best of luck!

Posted:5 years ago


Lol Scragg Co-Founder & Director, Binary Pumpkin

8 4 0.5
Very sad news. Best of luck to all those affected.

Posted:5 years ago


Ben Furneaux Designer, Turbulenz Limited

116 55 0.5
So many great people there, good luck to everyone. Can's say I'm surprised, Black Rock's current output doesn't seem to match the Mouse House's new online focus.

Here's hoping we'll see some awesome new indie studios ready to take over the mobile/web space :)

Posted:5 years ago


Greg Michael Programmer

2 0 0.0
@Gaz - so much hard work down the toilet...sheesh !

Posted:5 years ago


Bjarne Rene Managing Director,

1 0 0.0
Good luck to all those affected.

Posted:5 years ago


Hugo Trepanier Senior UI Designer, Hibernum

194 216 1.1
Such a shame, I was really looking forward to more releases from Black Rock. I have thoroughly enjoyed both Pure and Split/Second, there's no doubt they had a great team in place building quality products.

Good luck to all!

Posted:5 years ago


Rich Sturgess Business Development Director - EMEA, Marmalade

12 1 0.1
The amount of love that is out there for you guys and your games makes this news really hard to hear.

All the best to those affected, I'm sure you'll be snapped up soon.

Posted:5 years ago


Steven Pick Lead Graphic Designer, Atomhawk Design

70 14 0.2
Best of luck to all affected. Hopefully you'll all land on your feet sooner rather than later. Nothing worse than the promise of Jeremy Kyle. *shudder*

Posted:5 years ago


Frankie Kang Producer / Consultant, First Post LLC

39 1 0.0
Pure and Split/Second was a great alternative to racing sims like GT and Forza. Damn good games made by a damn good team.

Good luck to those affected.

Posted:5 years ago


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