Electronic Arts has confirmed that it will be closing its North West Studio in Warrington as part of a creative decision to consolidate UK studios and create stronger development teams.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, communications boss Tiffany Steckler explained, "The UK Studio has decided to reinforce its development base by bringing the creative teams from disparate locations into one place."
"The idea is to have those people who are working in the North West Studio in Warrington closer geographically to Guildford and Chertsey, to help build a more cohesive entity, to have better synergy across teams, better career opportunities and better sharing of tools and libraries," she added.
Steckler also confirmed that staff in Warrington, amounting to around 50 employees, will all be offered positions within the company at either Guildford or Surrey studios.
"Everybody in the Warrington Studio is entitled to a job in either Chertsey or Guildford, some may have personal reasons for which they can't relocate, but it's very much our intention and our aim to have everybody's job intact," explained Steckler.
"It's not a job-cutting exercise by any stretch of the imagination. The studio didn't close yesterday, there's a process now for the next couple of weeks and months for us to see who can relocate and see where we go from there."
Work undertaken at the North West Studio will also be taken south, as the firm aims to establish a more solid UK development team.
"It's very much a creative decision," said Steckler. "It's not about cutting costs or closing down a studio, it's really in order to help the UK studio grow in scale from one location and get an improved focus on game development."
"If we're all together, it's easier to grow in scale and get a better focus on new IP that's under development, looking at sharing expertise and technologies across teams — that's very much the philosophy behind it."
Steckler also denied that there are any more plans afoot to close or consolidate other EA studios within Europe, stating, "This is not an EA trend, it's not about EA trending towards consolidation, absolutely not. It's simply for the UK, inside of one country, to bring a more cohesive whole to the region."