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Pandemic staff confirm studio's closure

Wed 18 Nov 2009 9:09am GMT / 4:09am EST / 1:09am PST
BusinessPublishing

EA admits mass redundancies but claims Pandemic brand will "live on"

Further online reports, including tweets from staff and comments from EA spokespeople, appear to confirm that EA is in the process of closing developer Pandemic Studios.

Unconfirmed rumours yesterday suggested that almost all of Pandemic's 200 staff were being laid off, including CEO Andrew Goldman, president Josh Resnick and vice president of product development Greg Borrud.

Speaking to website Shacknews an EA spokesperson admitted the cuts, but attempted to couch them in more positive terms, saying: "The Pandemic brand and franchises will continue to live on. A core team of Pandemic developers will move to EALA and continue development on Pandemic games with a focus on quality, cost management and schedule integrity."

EA Games label senior vice president Nick Earl stated in an internal memo published by Kotaku that, "I want to make it clear that the Pandemic brand and franchises will live on."

"In the months ahead, we will announce plans for new games based on Pandemic franchises," he added. "This type of change can be difficult. But the situation calls for us to act decisively, to take control of our destiny and to run a stronger, more focused development operation. That's how we will continue to make great games in our LA studios."

A tweet from Pandemic staffer Drew Marlowe states simply: "It's official, Pandemic is shut down as of today. Thankfully it looks like we are getting decent severance."

The redundancies come as part of even larger cost-cutting measures from EA which will see the loss of 1500 jobs and the closure of "several" studios.

Team most heavily hit are believed to include the Command & Conquer team at EALA, Spore creators Maxis and social network developer Rupture Studios - with other layoffs at EA Tiburon, MMO developer Mythic Entertainment and EA Black Box.

Best known for Full Spectrum Warrior, Mercenaries, Destroy All Humans! and the first two Star Wars: Battlefront games, Pandemic was formed in 1998. In 2005 the studio announced a partnership with with Dragon Age: Origins creator BioWare and private equity firm Elevation Partners.

In 2007 Electronic Arts acquired holding company VG Holding Corp, giving them control of both developers and their properties. Pandemic now becomes the latest in a long line of studios, including Origin Systems, Bullfrog and Westwood Studios, to be closed down by Electronic Arts just years after being acquired.

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