Pandemic Studios is no more

souri's picture

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The writing was on the wall when EA signalled staff cuts from various studios just last week, with "substantial" staff lay-offs from various studios including Pandemic Studios (L.A). The latest report that has been circulating on numerous websites is that all staff from Pandemic Studios L.A (some 200 employees, including the former studio CEO, president, and vice president of product development) have been let go today, with some core developers being relocated to other EA offices, thus finally ending the 11 year reign of the American / Australian game developer.

This news is more likely to hit closer to ex-Pandemic Brisbane staff who have had a close working relationship with their sister L.A studio before their own Brisbane studio closed down earlier in early February, this year. Australia's connection with Pandemic began a decade ago when after completing Dark Reign 2, several Australian developers working on the project in Santa Monica, California became homesick. Rather than lose their exceptional talents, Pandemic established a second studio in Brisbane, Australia, in 2000.

It's been quite a sad turn of events ever since Pandemic's acquisition two years ago, with Pandemic's independence assured as recently as last year.

For more details on Pandemic's closure, head on over to Kotaku...

Comments

Lach's picture

Wow

That was a quick implosion.

Thanks to the good people for the good times, -

as for the bad people...well....nuthin'

At least Bioware is making money and therefore safe,
but I think the all or nothing strategy isn't a good idea.

Anonymous's picture

Bioware jsut had massive

Bioware jsut had massive layoffs dude.

'Quality' has nothign to do with it. Sabateur will kick arse.

So sick of the self-rightious negative gits on here.

souri's picture

what

"self-rightious negative gits"? How does that even apply to Lach's original post?

Anonymous's picture

It doesn't. I completley

It doesn't.

I completley misread the post and ended up acting like the people I dispise so much on here.

I apologise unreservedly to Lach, I suppose I was in a very reactionary mood when i read that this morning.

Please delete my comment if you can as it adds nothing and only serves to distract.

NathanRunge's picture

Open Wound

While by world standards this is moderately bad news for the industry, having lost quite a good studio, it hits pretty close to home for us Brisbane game developers who, until recently, lived in the glorious (and well employing) shadow of the Brisbane studio. When we lost Panedemic Brisane it was a harsh blow, but this news signifies the end of a lineage. Best of luck to the ex-Pandemic crew in finding new employment and in their future ventures.

souri's picture

Saboteur

I wouldn't be surprised if Pandemites are mighty peeved at the moment. The studio was shut down before the game they've been working on (Saboteur) is released / seen any sales yet. Plus, being told that the Pandemic name and all your I.P that you've built up over the years is still going to be continued elsewhere, that's gotta hurt a bit.

souri's picture

Who made money from the acquisition

So, two years ago, Pandemic and Bioware were acquired for a princely sum of $840 million dollars. In a matter of two years, half of that has just gone in a puff of smoke with the closure of Pandemic.

It's interesting to know however that EA CEO, John Riccitello, personally profitted a bit from the acquisition.. of up to $4.9 million.

Electronic Arts Inc CEO Riccitello Buys His Own Company and Closes it Down Two Years Later

What's it with greedy execs? Smells like what happened with Midway and Ratbag. Ex-Ratbag employee, as well as ex-Pandemic, Tony Albrecht noticed that Midway's CEO, David Zucker, nabbed a tidy $8.5 million (US) from that whole debacle.

Anonymous's picture

Exactly Right....

...an interesting and highly successful strategy on his part that was perhaps writing on the wall as soon as John returned to EA after his acquisition and subsequent sale to EA. But then that's what makes him (ruthless, uncaring or otherwise) a General of industry with significant personal wealth. It's high level business - cold and simple. And people (that's us real peopel) really don't matter. Is it greedy? Absolutely although it depends what they do with that wealth. Even so personally I'm a bit jealous. But would I be able to do what he has done to get what he's got...probably not (or obviously not because I haven't and so I'm poor!).

souri's picture

EA CEO getting chewed over Pandemic

Word seems to be spreading on how John Riccitiello personally gained from all this, with EA shareholders getting the short end of the straw.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/96237-Analyst-Chews-Out-EA-CEO...

That article links off to an interesting comment from an ex-Pandemic L.A employee

I was one of the affected today.

Having worked at Pandemic for close to 5 years, it's a bittersweet moment. We literally just finished Saboteur and are extremely proud of the game it turned out to be, considering the amount of hardships we had during development. On the other hand, we now have no job and are forced to part our ways with people we hold dear to our hearts.

I can tell you one thing. The reason why the studio closed down has everything to do with the existing Pandemic management. From what we were told, Pandemic management was given free reign to do as they please. Time and time again, they dropped the ball with bad decisions (promoting/keeping people based on loyalty, no production accountability, misallocation of resources, poor milestone objectives, no mentoring, etc.). It's a true shame, as there was a lot of talent and passion at the studio.

I wouldn't necessarily hate on JR and EA's execs just yet. In my eyes, they probably made the right decision as Pandemic cost a lot to upkeep and, quite frankly, the last few products weren't up to snuff. I think many of you would be surprised how much a game like Saboteur costs to make (think ~100 people for 3 years + ~20 people for ~2 years). Add overhead cost to incompetence in management/direction and you have a pretty convincing case to cut your ties and call it a day. It probably doesn't look good for JR considering he made a cool 5 mil off of the sale of Pandemic/Bioware.

One more thing I will say: EA is totally sending Saboteur out to die. And it's a fucking shame. It's easily Pandemic's best game yet. Of course, I am a bit biased having worked on the game for so long. If you were disappointed with Mercs2 and LOTR (who wasn't) and enjoyed previous Pandemic games, give Saboteur a shot.

Gonna pour one out for my homies:

jayktaylor's picture

=/

That sucks.

Best wish's to the ex staff of Pandemic.