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Emergent's Krome partnership runs aground

Gamebryo maker backs away from deal following studio's near-closure

Emergent's plan to buy Australian developer Krome Studio has "come to a sudden and unexpected halt," CEO Scott Johnson has revealed.

The Gamebyro firm's merger with the Blade Kitten, Transformers 2 and Ty The Tasmanian Tiger developer was arranged in September, with the two companies planning to collaborate on middleware and cross-platform games.

However, a run of financial misfortune at Krome appears to have affected the deal. After a run of redundancies over the last year, reports circled last month that the developer had closed its doors entirely.

However, CEO Robert Walsh last week told IGN that "we have at least 40 doing work on projects." Headcounts before the layoffs had topped 400. "It's pretty much just a smaller version of what it was."

While Gamebyro boss Scott Johnson did not directly address Krome's money troubles in his statement to Gamasutra, he did observe that "It's always difficult to watch as companies scale back and talented people lose their jobs, and our industry has witnessed more than its fair share recently."

Unnamed individuals alleged to be ex-Krome employees are reported by IGN as blaming Krome's woes on "pressure to develop games in short timeframes" and a loss of enthusiasm due to a focus on unambitious licensed titles.