Rumor: RIP Pandemic Studios, 1998-2009

Illustration for article titled Rumor: RIP Pandemic Studios, 1998-2009

Pandemic Studios - the developers behind Star Wars: Battlefront and Mercenaries - will today be closed down by owners Electronic Arts, according to several sources close to the situation.

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It's not the first time we've heard this - far from it - but we had previously been unaware of the timing of the move.

Though still unconfirmed, according to our sources almost all of the studio's staff (around 200 people) in Los Angeles are to be laid off today, with those few remaining to be incorporated into other Electronic Arts development teams. The move is expected to be announced to Pandemic staff at 11 a.m. PT.

Pandemic were first formed in 1998, and for a while there, seemed to be on the verge of becoming one of the world's premier development houses. Following on from the success of Full Spectrum Warrior, Mercenaries and Star Wars: Battlefront, they were purchased in 2007 by Electronic Arts, where things should have been on the up and up.

Instead, the company released a succession of lacklustre sequels, and took a body-blow when Pandemic's Australian experiment failed following the cancellation of the costly - and doomed - Dark Knight game, which resulted in the closure of Pandemic's Brisbane studio.

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It's believed Pandemic's remaining IP (including The Saboteur) will be passed onto EA's Montreal studio (Army of Two).

Remember, as of yet, this is all unconfirmed; we'd expect an official announcement on the closure later today. We've contacted Electronic Arts for an official statement and will update this post when and if they respond.

DISCUSSION

I hope Kotaku made sure the employes heard about the sad news internally before letting it out on the site.

I understand that with a site like this one wants to have the news first but i can only imagine how depressing and shocking it must be to hear that one gets layed off from some news site before hearing it from the staff members.

In either case i´m sorry for the developers if its true, i hope they get a good new position or can start their own thing in nice way soon, best of luck to them.

And to those blaming EA, well, i blame the big companies like Activision like the next guy when they do something really evil without other reasoning than being evil and/or pure greed.

But in case of layoffs, well, being an (even if small) indie developer i see how its getting tougher and tougher to balance risks and make profits on a game even if its successful regarding reviews or reputation among gamers.

So meanwhile regarding layoffs i most blame game piracy, cause yeah, any guy thinking hes so cool pirating games and not hurting anyone besides some thought up evil empire who doesn´t care should think about why so many game developers have to shut down these days even after making many successful games over many years.

Its getting riskier and riskier with games costing more to make and then when a game is harder and harder to sell over time thanks to torrents that´s a big part of why many studios go down.

Its like some pc gaming guys i know who copied most games they played over the last 10 years and now are angry that games come out later on pc or as shallow port or get things like dedicated servers taken away.

Maybe think twice before pirating the next game if you´d actually like this developer to bring you more like this in the future.

Maybe we hear more about the details in the future but until knowing more i´d think more about the more obvious reasons than "big company = evil" #pandemicstudios