Close
Are you sure? Are you sure you want to report this comment? I understand, report it. Cancel

UK studio Blitz Games to close after 23 years

UK studio Blitz Games to close after 23 years

Thu 12 Sep 2013 10:24am GMT / 6:24am EDT / 3:24am PDT
BusinessDevelopment

At least 125 jobs go; new company will form as management hopes to save 50 positions

UK studio Blitz Games is to cease trading after 23 years in business.

However, management has said that it will continue with two projects under development and hopes to keep 50 of the 175 staff at the business in work by forming a new company.

"Frustrations with clients, the global economic crisis, and more than our fair share of simple bad luck have all conspired against us and we are no longer able to continue trading"

"We have managed to weather numerous storms over the last two decades that have sadly seen the demise of many of our friends and colleagues across the industry, but the run of problems we've had to face over the last year is unlike any we've seen before. Frustrations with clients, the global economic crisis, and more than our fair share of simple bad luck have all conspired against us and we are no longer able to continue trading," said founders Philip and Andrew Oliver in a statement.

"It has been an absolute honour to lead such an extraordinary group of highly talented people who have consistently pushed boundaries and created amazing games that we've been hugely proud of. We've been humbled by the loyalty and commitment that they've all shown over the last 23 years and we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all of our staff, past and present, for their years of loyalty, their creative drive and their commitment to Blitz and to us.

"We have done all that we can to make Blitz a success, and we have come frustratingly close in recent months. Major clients have felt unable to commit to investment in significant projects, others have changed strategy whilst appearing committed, and others have been slow to commit at all - all of these things have continued to hurt our finances. We have also sustained the business for some time with our personal savings but even those reserves have now been exhausted.

In addition, Oxford-based Rebellion is in talks with management to potentially hire Blitz staff.

"We'd like to publicly thank Chris and Jason Kingsley from Rebellion for their support and friendship during this time - they are acting incredibly honourably and helping us to find new roles for as many of our staff as possible. They began their careers in games at around the same time we did and epitomise the positive and supportive culture of long-standing game developers in the UK.

"We wish the very best of luck to all the staff who are sadly leaving us today and thank them again for their drive, creativity and enthusiasm. They, like us, are passionate about games, and we call on the rest of the industry to capture their passion and continue the careers of some of the most talented young creatives in the country."

Blitz Games worked on a number of work-for-hire and licensed properties over its 23 years, and more recently kicked off its 1UP and IndieCity initiatives. It also has it's own internal BlitzTech suite of tools and serious games division, TruSim.

34 Comments

Very sad, but good luck to the NewCo. And best of luck to those affected.

Posted:7 months ago

#1

Kevin Corti
Games industry consulting

7 2 0.3
This just shows how unpredictable the games industry is right now...a company with 23 years of heritage and experience, with tonnes of talented creative and technical staff struggles in an industry that is growing strongly (overall). Sincere best wishes to everyone affected.

Posted:7 months ago

#2

Richard Gardner
Artist

122 30 0.2
The UK industry has almost become barren over the last decade. We really only have a small handful of developers working on blockbuster titles. Its great to see companies like The Chinese Room spawning and we seem to have a massive mobile sector. But its sad to see the UK really isn't developing AAA games anymore. I can only think of Rockstar, Rocksteady, Creative Assembly, Crytek UK... that's about it....

Posted:7 months ago

#3

Matthew Hill
Head of Recruitment

76 26 0.3
Truly Awful News - Heartbreaking in fact as Blitz are a company I've always had huge respect for.

The Blitz Academy will be sorely missed, one of the best graduate programs around - and their internal staff development was very good as well. Blitz also had a diverse range of revenue streams which hopefully would have helped them steer through the more challenging times. Sadly this isn't the case.

Best of luck to those now facing unemployment, hopefully the efforts Philip & the team are making will ensure you secure new positions relatively soon

Posted:7 months ago

#4

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,716 598 0.3
Popular Comment
A very sad day for the UK game industry.
Everyone knows that the Olivers are two of the brightest, most committed, hard working people in the UK game industry.
They have built a company of incredible people. They have recruited with care and craft.
However the business they are in, contract development, has wafer thin margins and is in serious decline.
Blitz have dabbled at mobile but without seeming to understand the nature of the beast.

I am sure that the Olivers will bounce back. That is the sort of people they are.
I commiserate with all those who have lost their jobs and wish them the best for the future. At least they had their Blitz years, which is something they can be proud of.
In the Leamington district there are well over 30 game companies, of various sizes, employing thousands of people. So there is an active and vibrant job market. Especially for the quality of person employed by Blitz.
For startups Leamington is excellent because the various levels of local government are very switched on, both at politician and government officer level. There is a huge amount of support available.

Posted:7 months ago

#5

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,716 598 0.3

Posted:7 months ago

#6

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,716 598 0.3
"We have managed to weather numerous storms over the last two decades that have sadly seen the demise of many of our friends and colleagues across the industry, but the run of problems we've had to face over the last year is unlike any we've seen before. Frustrations with clients, the global economic crisis, and more than our fair share of simple bad luck have all conspired against us and we are no longer able to continue trading.

"It has been an absolute honour to lead such an extraordinary group of highly talented people who have consistently pushed boundaries and created amazing games that we've been hugely proud of. We've been humbled by the loyalty and commitment that they've all shown over the last 23 years and we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all of our staff, past and present, for their years of loyalty, their creative drive and their commitment to Blitz and to us.

"We have done all that we can to make Blitz a success, and we have come frustratingly close in recent months. Major clients have felt unable to commit to investment in significant projects, others have changed strategy whilst appearing committed, and others have been slow to commit at all - all of these things have continued to hurt our finances. We have also sustained the business for some time with our personal savings but even those reserves have now been exhausted.

"We'd like to publicly thank Chris and Jason Kingsley from Rebellion for their support and friendship during this time - they are acting incredibly honourably and helping us to find new roles for as many of our staff as possible. They began their careers in games at around the same time we did and epitomise the positive and supportive culture of long-standing game developers in the UK.

"We wish the very best of luck to all the staff who are sadly leaving us today and thank them again for their drive, creativity and enthusiasm. They, like us, are passionate about games, and we call on the rest of the industry to capture their passion and continue the careers of some of the most talented young creatives in the country."

Posted:7 months ago

#7

Rob Jessop
R&D Programmer

38 35 0.9
That's terrible news. I spent a couple of days there at an interview for their tools and technology team and had a great time with talented people.

Best of luck to all those effected.

There are roles available at Crytek's Nottingham Studio, which is just close enough to commute to from Leamington, so please do apply.

Posted:7 months ago

#8

Thomas Dolby
Project Manager / Lead Programmer

319 253 0.8
I got a chance to visit their studios when I was a student, they all seemed to have a great attitude and were an intelligent bunch. A shame to see them go, good luck to those affected.

Posted:7 months ago

#9

Dave Mitchell
Founder

24 7 0.3
Absolutely gutted for them :-( Very sad day for the UK Games Industry.

While a drop in the ocean for the amount looking for jobs, we are on the look out for a C++ coder so it's worth getting in touch: http://www.two-tails.com/jobs/

Posted:7 months ago

#10

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

953 804 0.8
No Kumo Lumo 2 ;(

Posted:7 months ago

#11

Phil Elliott
Project Leader, Collective; Head of Community (Live Team)

157 25 0.2
Really sorry to hear this. All the best to those affected, and I hope people not able to switch to Rebellion can find new jobs quickly.

Posted:7 months ago

#12

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,716 598 0.3
Leamington could do with a job fair. Each potential employer given a trestle table. Everyone after a job wandering round, looking at the opportunities. One weekday this month.

Posted:7 months ago

#13

Pete Ranson
Senior Producer

4 0 0.0
Sad day indeed. Friends and colleagues, my thoughts are with you.

Posted:7 months ago

#14

Gareth Donaghey
Customer Support Agent

31 32 1.0
Sad to hear, was there for an interview years ago and loved the place. It set the bar high of my perception of game companies for a long time.

Am surprised though there was no Dizzy mobile games, you would think that would be perfect and a money maker.

Posted:7 months ago

#15

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,716 598 0.3
@Gareth Donaghey

Codemasters tried and failed.
http://www.codemasters.com/uk/dizzy/mobile/

Posted:7 months ago

#16
So sad to hear this news today. I remember the Blitz team (including Philip) turning up to pitch for Reservoir Dogs. They wore the full suits and sunglasses, and had covered their white shirts in fake blood. Quite how they managed to avoid getting arrested was beyond me. (they got the job!). Philip and Andrew have always been incredibly honest, hard-working and kind, and I wish them (and everyone at Blitz) the best of luck in what they do next. It's great to see so many tweets about vacancies - it shows there are lots of great UK studios hiring, which is a positive sign...

Posted:7 months ago

#17

James Leedham
Programmer

4 0 0.0
Worth mentioning that Exient (with offices in Oxford and Leamington Spa) will be happy to offer positions to anyone from Blitz who we think is a good fit for us :)

EDIT: Just to add for the benefit of anyone from Blitz looking for a new position: Exient have decided to host a recruitment event specifically for you all at the Episode Hotel in Leamington Spa tomorrow from 11:00AM onwards. Please feel free to come and have a chat with us about possible job opportunities :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Leedham on 12th September 2013 6:04pm

Posted:7 months ago

#18

Eric Lacroix
WW Publisher & Buyer Manager - Co-Founder

5 0 0.0
Really sad to hear that indeed, Blitz is one of the first studio I've been in touch with when I started in the industry 10 years ago :-(
Best of luck to everyone there!

Posted:7 months ago

#19

James Ingrams
Writer

208 72 0.3
Another sign of the decline of AAA gaming. Gaming only seems to be on the increase because of the indie market, but just look a the "mainstream" market and you see a 40% decline in 4 years!

Posted:7 months ago

#20

Matt Armstrong
Design Director

10 23 2.3
Popular Comment
Philip and Andrew gave me my start in the industry 15 years ago. I spent over 7 years at Blitz and loved every minute of it. We didn't get to work on the best projects, but Philip and Andrew never wavered in their passion, positivity and enthusiasm.

They also really, really cared about their staff. My fondest memories are of the last working day of each year when they used to hand out "Christmas stockings" to all of the staff. The gifts themselves were invariably great, but the thing that always stuck with me was the way that Philip and Andrew seemed to love handing them out. It was like watching parents hand out presents to their favourite children.

Best of luck for your future ventures, guys, and I hope that everyone affected by this dreadful news lands on their feet in the very near future.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Matt Armstrong on 12th September 2013 6:04pm

Posted:7 months ago

#21

Jonah Falcon
Writer

25 15 0.6
(sniff) Here's to the Burger King games, Sneak King in particular! And sorry, I *liked* the first Fuzion Frenzy.

Oh, damn, they did Droplitz too!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jonah Falcon on 12th September 2013 5:12pm

Posted:7 months ago

#22

Tameem Antoniades
Creative Director & Co-founder

197 164 0.8
Extremely sorry to hear this news. The last year has indeed been very tough for all the reasons stated. I hope everyone lands on their feet and moves on to great things without too much pain.

:(

Posted:7 months ago

#23

Cumron Ashtiani
Creative Director and CEO

4 0 0.0
Very sad to see this guys, it doesn't say much for the UK games industry economy no matter what Osbourne might be saying in the press. We've also noticed a significant shift in our client base. When we started Atomhawk in 2009, our clients were 78% UK based. Last year (our 4th year) we were only 48% UK funded. Our games clients tend to be AAA console and so these figures show that most of the AAA work is happening abroad these days :(

Posted:7 months ago

#24

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,116 888 0.8
I don't think all of the recent closures are as unpredictable as some suggest to be honest. That said the staff have my full sympathy.

Posted:7 months ago

#25

Kieren Bloomfield
Software Engineer

88 71 0.8
This is indeed very sad news.

Blitz gave me my start in the industry some 12 years ago and I still remember it so clearly. I still remember my interview with Philip at the end of the Blitz 2-day interview process and him asking me "so, do you want to work for us then?" after replying yes he then responded with "good, because we want you to work for us". They really were the most welcoming people in the business.

Also two of the nicest and most sincere men in our industry, I hope their next venture is successful. Good luck to all of the old Leamington crowd; I hope it works out for you!

Posted:7 months ago

#26
I was commenting to a few folks in the industry recently, that 90% of our work is easily generated from overseas clients, esp AAA next gen work. Nevertheless, maybe we should try to integrate a stronger development scene between UK developers, services, marketing and publishers instead of being picked off one by one

Posted:7 months ago

#27

James Steele
Senior Software Engineer

15 17 1.1
Like a few others on here, I owe my first job in the industry to the Oliver twins. Almost 15 years ago, I had my first of two interviews at the company when it was still called Interative Studios. Despite some of the rather gruelling schedules, I still have very find memories of working there and of just how approachable both Oliver & Phil were.

Posted:7 months ago

#28
Sad news, remember trying to compete with Dizzy with our own game all those years ago. We are always looking for programmers for mobile with good c++ or c# experience so please drop me a email if interested jim.scott@go-play-games.com

Posted:7 months ago

#29

Daniel Wheeler
Senior Programmer

1 0 0.0
Very sad and shocking news indeed. Like several posting here I spent a couple of days at Blitz for one of their 2 day interviews and enjoyed it immensely. They were a great bunch of guys. Good luck to all those losing their jobs in finding employment soon.

Posted:7 months ago

#30

Matthew Hill
Head of Recruitment

76 26 0.3
Bruce's suggestion of a post-blitz games job's fair/event is an excellent idea. Situations like this can be incredibly chaotic and it's a good opportunity for the industry to pull together and bring a bit more order & structure to things.

One tip for ex-Blitz people looking for roles... try and take a little time to step back, switch off & clear your head. This will allow you to think more clearly about your next move. You may even choose to freelance; set up your own studio; take time out to develop projects with Unity. It may not be possible for everyone due to financial pressure, but if you have any breathing space treat this as an opportunity to explore things you may not have otherwise considered

Best of luck to you all

Posted:7 months ago

#31

Saehoon Lee
Director - Gaming

59 40 0.7
This is very sudden news, as I was talking to Oliver over Develop about the Blitz Tech few months ago, and nothing seemed going wrong at that time.

Best of luck to everyone involved and I am sure Oliver will return with the force.

Posted:7 months ago

#32

Bobby Farmer
Development Director

9 2 0.2
Very very sad news for everyone involved.

Not sure though why they didn't just lay 125 people off rather than close the company down, essentially lay everybody off, and then hire 50 people back in to a new company?

Posted:6 months ago

#33

Login or register to post

Take part in the GamesIndustry community

Register now