New Kotaku AU editor David Wildgoose brings us the story of how the Batman game Pandemic Brisbane were working on not only knocked a giant hole in EA's account books, but ultimately brought about the end of the studio.
Speaking with a number of Pandemic employees, Wildgoose finds that the game - which ended up being a complete disaster - crashed in on itself due to a combination of the following:
- Pandemic worked out a deal with Warner/DC and EA to make a Batman game. So Pandemic spent six months on pre-production of a Batman game. Then EA came in and said it had to be a Dark Knight game, so most of that six months' work was thrown out.
- EA were forced to rush the project, as their ownership of the Batman rights would expire in December 2008. The game was actually coming along, albeit with major delays, but once December 2008 came and went, that was it.
- Pandemic thought an open-world game would suit the property best. But few, if any staff at Pandemic Brisbane had experience making open-world games.
- The decision was made to use the same engine being used for Pandemic's upcoming WWII action title Saboteur. It's a pretty engine, but was never built for the kind of open-world game Batman was supposed to be, and this caused a ton of serious technical issues.
So as you can see, it was a combination of cock-ups, from both EA and Pandemic. As for what happens now, that's also explained. A few years back, Pandemic Brisbane was split into two teams; Alpha team got to work on a Wii game with the code name "The Next Big Thing", while Bravo team worked on Batman.
Bravo team are no more, but at least some of Alpha team remain, and as we reported the other day, retain the rights (at least in some form) to "The Next Big Thing". Only time will tell whether another publisher takes a risk on it.
The full story - and it's really a gripping read for inside baseball fans - below.