Confirmed: EA Closes Pandemic Studios, Says Brand Will Live On

Early this morning we broke the news that Electronic Arts planned to close down Pandemic Studios, laying off 200. Now we have confirmation.

An internal Electronic Arts memo confirms that Pandemic Studios was shut down today with a "core IP team" being moved to Electronic Arts' Los Angeles office. Among those let go were the studio's top three employees: Andrew Goldman, formerly the studio's CEO; Josh Resnick, formerly the studios president; and Greg Borrud, vice president of product development

"I want to make it clear that the Pandemic brand and franchises will live on," Nick Earl, EA Games Label Senior Vice President, wrote in the memo. "In the months ahead, we will announce plans for new games based on Pandemic franchises.

"This type of change can be difficult. But the situation calls for us to act decisively, to take control of our destiny and to run a stronger, more focused development operation. That's how we will continue to make great games in our LA studios."

Earl said that the move was made to "improve our cost structure, ensure quality and build schedule integrity for this studio."

Electronic Arts confirmed that about 200 people were let go.

Pandemic was formed in 1998. Following on the success of Full Spectrum Warrior, Mercenaries and Star Wars: Battlefront, they were purchased in 2007 by Electronic Arts.

After the purchase Pandemic released a succession of lacklustre sequels culminating in the cancellation of the costly Dark Knight game, which resulted in the closure of Pandemic's Brisbane studio.

These cuts appear to be part of EA's latest cost-cutting measures which includes the elimination of 1,500 jobs, cutting a dozen in-development games and closing "several facilities." According to multiple sources, those cutbacks include studios like Pandemic, Maxis and nearly the entire Command & Conquer team.

We first heard of the Pandemic layoffs a week ago. The same sources told Kotaku that the team working on Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight was warned of its fate last week, with almost the entire team expected to be let go after the real-time strategy game ships some time in 2010.

Also said to be affected heavily are Spore and former-Sims studio EA Maxis, social network gaming acquisition Rupture Studios, and Mercenaries and The Saboteur creators Pandemic Studios LA. Those development studios are said to be hit with substantial layoffs, according to a source, with remaining employees relocated to EA headquarters in Los Angeles and Redwood Shores.

EA is rumored to have already laid off staff at Tiburon, Mythic Entertainment and Black Box, reports which the company has yet to confirm.

The closing of Pandemic Studios is the latest in a long line of acquisitions and then closures or "integrations" in the company's long history. Over the years EA has acquired and later closed or absorbed employees from Origin Systems, Bullfrog Productions, Black Box Games, Maxis, Westwood Studios and Pandemic's Brisbane, Australia and Los Angeles locations.