Disney closes Vancouver's Propaganda Games

Tron and Turok studio latest victim of corporation's waning interest in console

Disney has announced that it will be closing Propaganda Games in Vancouver, after the studio's latest project failed to reach sales expectations. 100 staff had already been laid off from Propaganda late last year.

The developer had most recently produced Tron:Evolution, a tie-in game for the recent Disney film reboot, and had been working on an RPG based on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise - since cancelled, but Disney confirmed to Gamasutra yesterday that it was pulling the plug. "The studio has completed all work associated with its most recent project," read a statement.

The move seems to reflect Disney's new direction of social and mobile development, which began with a statement to press last November that the corporation would be putting less money into console development in order to maximise profit.

"We've seen a pretty big shift in games from console to what I'll call multiplatform, everything from mobile apps to social networking games, and by putting John Pleasants in to run games, not only will be the focus on turning those businesses into profitability, but diversifying our presence in the business," said Bob Iger, Disney CEO in November.

Pleasants had previously been CEO of Playdom interactive, which Disney acquired for $763 million in July, 2010.

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Latest comments (18)

gi biz ;, 7 years ago
Are they blaming the studio for the lack of flavour in Tron? My new mobile was crammed full with said movie's trailers, and there's ads everywhere, but come on... Dialogues like: "Ok you win, this is just a game!" "Not anymore!!" stopped feeling cool 10 years ago.
I'm sorry for people at Propaganda, and I hope that Disney's not seriously planning to flood the market with cheap stuff, unlike they already did on Ovi Store...
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D7 years ago
Ouch. They were a good bunch, I knew a few of them personally.

Here's to things picking up for the industry as a whole.
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robert troughton Managing Director, Coconut Lizard7 years ago
Ouch. Another sad day for the games industry... was Propaganda/Disney benefiting much from Canada's tax breaks at the time they closed this..?
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Show all comments (18)
Could be the management/direction of Disney and movie related tie in of game projects vs original IPs that did not allow Propaganda to truly flourish on its own accord
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Jordan Woodward Level Designer, Codemasters Birmingham7 years ago
Shame to see this studio go, Tron did look rather bland though from what I saw of it. Not everyone liked the movie either so I didn't expect the game would have done very well.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 7 years ago
Sad times, good luck to everyone. :(
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
You should never base the future of a studio on the success of a movie tie IP. Those things have a success/failure rate more random than lottery numbers. And it's not like Turok was a hot commodity this generation to start with either.

Instead of dissolving the studio, why not rededicate it to diversification?
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@ Jimmy - I dont think Disney suits think diversification is the secret to their success. They seem to want to go social/casual (more in line with Chicken Little/hanna Montana) now whereas Propaganda was geared up for more mature AA+ productions.

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STEPHANE DASTOUS general manager, Eidos Montréal7 years ago
Yes indeed it's not exactly good news ... but for those who are now without a job and are interested in trying it in Montreal, they are more than welcomed to apply to my studio ([link url=][/link] there are still great openings (Deus Ex, Thief and an unannounced AAA project). S.
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@ Stephane - Daryl would be a good versatile AD
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
This is a shame. I think it's becoming more and more apparent that big film licence videogames just aren't worth the bother any more - most big licences I can think of since King Kong have either sold below expectation or just crashed and burned.

Good luck to all those affected, and it's a shame after what looked like a strong push into the videogames market Disney are now backing out. And I still think that Pirates of the Caribbean game looked good; polish and refining was all it seemed to lack from initial gameplay videos.
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Jon-Enee Merriex APBR Producer, GamersFirst7 years ago
Can't say I'm shocked. Disney has been pretty forward about their movement toward social gaming. It sucks they made it sound like Tron failed due to the game studio. Though the game wasn't too good to begin with, the truth of the matter is Disney over sold the strength of the Tron IP and when it failed at the box office so did all relevant businesses.

Even with all its synergy, Disney couldn't make the sequel work. Fortunately for Disney they know they'll get another chance with DVD sales (which they make most of their money from anyway). Unfortunately Propaganda won't get another shot.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jon-Enee Merriex on 20th January 2011 6:39pm

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So, consensually, can we say there has yet to be a successful Movie tie in?
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Adam Parker Academic Coordinator, Qantm College7 years ago
@ Chee Ming Wong

Stalker perhaps? Albeit not official, and certainly not that Tarkovskian... but then I don't think games are really quite ready yet for spending 15 minutes in a rained-out derelict building conversing with your core NPCs on the nature of faith.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 7 years ago
Well, there's Goldeneye N64, although I appreciate that's, what, nearly 14 years ago now? Elsewhere, I recall King Kong did very good business for Ubisoft and - depending on what you mean by 'successful' - Riddick: Butcher Bay was bloody excellent and I think sold fairly healthy numbers. There are some other decent examples of course, but they are the exception - not the rule.

So yeah; I'd say film tie-ins are generally underwhelming and usually they under-perform too.
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Ken Rosman7 years ago
The games market/industry is in shambles, everyone is trying to figure out how to make money in the new economy and there is one thing that is becoming very clear - there is no longer a market for just okay games. For those who are now without a job I am always looking for top talent at Radical

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Ken Rosman on 21st January 2011 5:18pm

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Homeworld - The Threequel?
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J. Goldmaker Community Management 7 years ago
The first TRON game now works great!!
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