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EA proposes shuttering of Bright Light Guildford

Formal consultation process begun as some staff offered positions elsewhere in EA

EA has proposed the closure of Guildford studio Bright Light, makers of the recent Harry Potter games, telling GamesIndustry.biz that staff have entered a "formal consultation process".

The studio had worked most recently on the Harry Potter movie tie-ins, but a number of other games are believed to have been underway at the outfit.

"After a review of all current and future projects, Electronic Arts has started a formal consultation process with its Bright Light employees over the proposed closure of the studio," said EA's Tiffany Steckler.

"The proposed changes will help centralize development on future projects, reduce development costs and will allow for better knowledge and talent sharing within the organization."

Steckler also told GamesIndustry.biz that attempts would be made to relocate staff and that EA retained a strong interest in its UK business.

"Employees that are impacted will be considered for positions at other EA Studios including those in the UK," the statement continued.

"The UK is a vital centre of game development for EA and we intend to maintain a strong presence here."

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Latest comments (20)

I guess for the UK, centralization via the Criterion area as a UK base HQ, could help reduce cost and allow for 2-3 teams under one roof to operate well? Unlike the various large megaplexs in Canada alone, space is a premium in UK
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Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis5 years ago
Criterion and Bright Light are in the same building in Guildford. They make up what used to be known as EA UK. Don't think they use that banner anymore though.
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Brian Faller Product / Evaulations Manager, PQube ltd5 years ago
well, if I remember correctly - Bright Light and Criterion are already under the same roof down in Guildford, but yes I feel EA would be sensible to just move all their driving games to Criterion and increase the size of that team! (and they should just let DICE handle all the FPS's!)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brian Faller on 14th October 2011 2:45pm

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Show all comments (20)
Kirsty Rigden Operations Director, FuturLab5 years ago
I'm really gutted for them - such a lovely and talented bunch
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Of course Playfish will be playfish. I cant think of what else EA in UK does...
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Steve Ball Software Engineer, Ubisoft Montreal5 years ago
Very sad times indeed for UK dev, worked with some amazingly talented people there over the years.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
Here's hoping they all come through ok, a fine bunch who deserve better.
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Tim Spencer Level Director, TT Fusion5 years ago
Having worked with some of the Executive Producers/Brand Managers/Lead Designers from Brightlight last year I wish them all the best and hope things get sorted for them pretty quickly.

They were really good at handling external dev and I hope I get to work with those people again some day.

From what I gather the studio as a whole had kinda lost its way/mojo and for whatever reason never managed to find a clear direction to head in. Projects like 'Create' should probably never have been green lit, and without the likes of a big IP like Potter to bring in some garunteed money, I think most people there were nervous about the future of the Studio for the last year or so.

My thought's go out to all those affected - hope everyone lands on their feet.
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Liam Wong5 years ago
Well this sucks :( I know a fair number of people who work there. Good luck to everyone affected.
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Raf Keustermans CEO, co-founder Plumbee 5 years ago
Sorry to hear that, nice and talented bunch of people...
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 5 years ago
If I was a long term investor, I'd really start to wonder how sustainable a business is, which cycles through highly skilled workers like nobody's business, or relies on the worker's willingness to be nomads. Studios are being scaled up and down as if they were factories full of unskilled labor.
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Mark Sneddon Technical Artist, Creative Assembly5 years ago
Good luck to everyone affected - sucks to hear about yet another UK studio closing.
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I think the critical analysis of the Game development in UK is thus:

For the medium to large studios:

Cost of living, Cost of wages of skilled staff in UK is EXPENSIVE.
As such, studios cannot afford to man medium to large sized studios eg. 30-100 + is v v v expensive.

A studio developing a AAA titles will probably be around 50 + staff in itself (and probably be working on a second smaller titles)

As such, I think its a case of either consolidation of staff into the core essential OR develop only decent core titles

in contrast, start up companies of 2-10 men are highly agile.
Overhead costs are lower, studio space is not a premium and a loan from the bank isnt too impossible with a decent biz plan. VAT and corp tax are the killer. All in all, this is what the changing landscape in UK and Australia is.

The good news is there ARE skilled staff, experienced staff but not all are under one roof.
Imagine if we had a amalgamated regional alliance of skilled experience staff partnered with new junior staff!
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters5 years ago
Cost of wages of staff is expensive? For programmers at least, companies outside the games industry pay far more. In that way it seems like the games industry is getting a bargain.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
@ Dave - I suspect he means relative to other locations. Certainly compared to the likes of Canada with the government funding etc.
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters5 years ago
I thought that one of the reasons a lot of people were leaving the UK for Canada was that they were paying more over there? True though, it's a lot easier when the government is paying some of the cost.
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Its not so simply about higher wages but more about costs of living and final take home pay after bills, rent, fuel and transport. Its just too pricey here atm arbitarily i.e these rates CAN be lowered from fuel duty to orporation tax to national insurance and therefore accomadate for rising inflation due to artificial quantitative easing
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Peter Lovell Head of Talent Acquisition, NaturalMotion5 years ago
Hi all

Just wanted to pop a heads up on here before its formally announced.

Jagex Games Studio will be hosting an informal meet and greet with any Guildford based developers who wish to attend on Tuesday 25th October between 4pm and 11pm @ the White House pub.

A number of Jagex senior managers will be available to talk about the numerous opportunities here. Please feel free to come along, have a drink on us and have a chat about whats going on at Jagex.

More details to follow in the press soon.
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Private VIdeo Games 5 years ago
"Cost of wages of skilled staff in UK is EXPENSIVE. "

I would disagree, wages in the US and Canada are generally higher than the UK.
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Bryan Reynolds Snr Producer, Rockstar Leeds5 years ago
:( Sorry to hear the grim news.

By all means contact me if you want to discuss positions at Rockstar Leeds.

Best of luck guys and gals. x
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