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Argonaut goes into administration

Britsoft developer Argonaut confirms that it has gone into administration after shedding more than 100 staff and closing down its Sheffield office.

Following news last week that Argonaut had relieved more than 100 staff of duties and closed down its Sheffield office, the company has confirmed today that it is in administration and is to be sold.

In addition, "Jeremy San and Aaron San have resigned from the Board of the Company with immediate effect," according to a statement issued by the administrators.

Directors remained unavailable for comment at the time of going to press, all of them being in a "company meeting," according to those manning the phones.

While the Argonaut Games PLC itself has not been placed under administration, a statement issued by administration firm David Rubin & Partners said today, "Administrators have been appointed by the Directors of the subsidiary companies to facilitate a restructuring of the business. The companies will continue trading under the Administrators' control whilst a buyer is sought. Interest has already been expressed and the Administrators are confident that an early sale can be finalised. An early sale is always desirable in this sector to minimise any disruption to ongoing games development, to the staff and to the customers."

Concerns regarding Argonaut's well-being came to light when it issued shaky guidance in August pertaining to a £6 million loss for the financial year. Failure to secure unnamed contracts bit hard in the last two weeks, culminating today with the move in by administrators.

Argonaut failed to capitalise on recent success developing the first PSone Harry Potter title for EA, releasing games such as Xbox-exclusive jet-ski game Carve and the critically panned Catwoman, none of which achieved sales sufficient enough to see the company through to a new round of development.

The resignation of Jez San marks the end of an era for British development. San collaborated with Nintendo to create the fabled FX chip that made Star Fox possible on SNES and sold more than a million copies of platformer Croc, and was one of the first stars of games development in the UK.

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