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Sega Studios San Francisco to close

Golden axe falls on Iron Man developer Secret Level

Sega Studios San Francisco, developer of Golden Axe: Beast Rider and the previous and forthcoming Iron Man movie tie-ins, is to close - according to a statement from Sega of America.

Rumours of the closure first emerged last week, before apparently being corroborated by other US sources and finally confirmed by Sega on Friday.

"Sega of America is sad to announce the closure of Sega Studios San Francisco," said the company in a brief statement.

"It is an immensely talented studio and we wish all the best to all of the staff in all their future endeavours. Moving forward, Sega will continue to pursue external development opportunities all over the world and will continue to grow the renowned Sega brand."

The studio was originally founded as independent developer Secret Level in 1999 and was responsible for a number of original Xbox ports for titles such as America's Army: Rise Of A Soldier and Karaoke Revolution.

The company was acquired by Sega in 2006, with then president Simon Jeffery commenting: "We looked long and hard at building an internal studio from scratch, but were so impressed with the team at Secret Level and their next-gen technology that we decided to create our internal development infrastructure through a direct acquisition."

Renamed as Sega Studios San Francisco, the developer's reboot of the classic Golden Axe franchise was a critical and commercial failure, with the tie-in to the original Iron Man movie also receiving poor reviews.

The second Iron Man game is due for release shortly, to tie in with the new film, and is believed to be already complete.

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