Pandemic Studios Brisbane closes

News: 

AustralianGamer have received reports from multiple sources that EA is closing Pandemic Studios Brisbane. EA acquired Pandemic Studios in October, 2007, and has recently been known to be letting go of staff due to the economic downturn. AustralianGamer were the first to report the rumour on the trouble at the Brisbane studio late last year concerning the axing of their Batman movie license title, as well as the shedding of over a dozen staff, which turned out to be true.

From AustralianGamer...

The main question now is what will happen to the leads of the studio and the current, secret, next gen title they were working on (not the aformentioned bat related one). It's been speculated that they key staff will form a new independant company with EA's blessing, and are being allowed to take their game with them!

If this is the case, it's certainly a very unique set of developments, and all things considered would probably be the most positive outcome to result from a studio closure.

Kotaku has additional rumours that EA has "let go" of Pandemic Studios Brisbane to find a new publisher, and is letting the company keep its I.P and assets.

It's certainly a terrible outcome for Pandemic Studios Brisbane, a studio that had some extremely talented staff on board. And it's particularly unfortunate to not see any results of their hard work since Destroy All Humans! 2: Make War Not Love from late 2006, as I'm sure if they had the chance to finish their game in development, it may have brought upon a different outcome for Pandemic Studios Brisbane.

Comments

Anonymous's picture

Poor guys. That's really sad.

Anonymous's picture

If you are from Pandemic or anywhere else and looking for short term work (3months). We are looking for concept artists and testers. Happy to work remotely - send links and samples of your artwork and resumes to (5meg max): jobs@studiomoshi.com

Anonymous's picture

...sounds like rumours of Pandemic's death may be somewhat exaggerated, with more people reporting that rather than the studio closing down, it's just received some pretty serious job losses instead. Still no official statements though, but enough for a story on Games On Net about the topic.

Yug's picture

http://www.australiangamer.com/news/1509_fact_or_fiction_pandemic_studio...

Update: From close sources, an update regarding the status of Pandemic says they have been dropped. They will keep their IP and their equipment, but they're on their own. Essentially they are a start up again. Also from the sounds of it most of the staff have been let go, and only a very small number will remain (less than 10).

souri's picture

http://kotaku.com/5130836/rumor-ea-shuts-down-pandemic-studios-down-under

"According to our source, the allegedly now-closed Brisbane studio was working on an "open world reality show" game called The Next Big Thing for the Wii. It's unclear if the studio will continue to work on that particular project outside of the bounds of EA's ownership."

Anonymous's picture

I was working with Pandemic a while back, this is sad to see, it was (and hopefully will continue to be ) a great place to be at full of excellent and talented people.

I hope that this 'letting go' theory is accurate, as they shouldn't be far from releasing the game they are apparently taking with them. We might see a lot more life out of this company yet.

Good luck to all involved, and my condolences to anyone who might be losing their job out of this.

Anonymous's picture

To the people responsible. Tough luck, how many cancelled games, and dead studios is that now?

Anonymous's picture

Bad news.
The Global Financial Fookfest strikes again!!!

Hopefully THQ and Krome should soak up most of the good staff.

Thanks America, thanks for everything...

Anonymous's picture

Just what does keeping the IP and assets mean-
ie After a month and no publisher- then who owns what - how do they divy up the booty as it were
(ie how many copies of XSI and CS3 were there?-
if it were 10 people left is that 4 each?)
Or does EA resume(consume) it all after a month.

Still though, its a far far more sporting chance than many other EA executed studios got. (I wonder if that's due to Josh and Andrew/LA Pandemic bargaining on their behalf?)

The trouble is companies often have cult like aspects that almost would subsume people in their demand for commitment.
However now is when the true value of overtime and weekends away from family/girlfriend/etc becomes apparent.

But also you'd wonder- with the dollar now so low why they weren't still offered to be the 3rd world labour force picking up on EA's other projects. That would have been fairly humiliating I guess especially given the state of their current project(pretty sweet but not EA's cup of tea I'm guessing).

Who know's- if someone else picks it up and they make a mint after all-
could be best thing in the end if they can hang in there.

(And if you guys were going to try a start up- I'll stick my hand up-wouldn't be the first time)

Lach

Anonymous's picture

Will they keep the Pandemic name or will they be called something else now?

Anonymous's picture

How many lost their jobs???

souri's picture

It looks like Tony has lost his job at Pandemic, but not to worry, he's got another one!

http://seven-degrees-of-freedom.blogspot.com/2009/01/for-those-of-you-th...

That was pretty quick! Although considering the demand for experienced programmers in the local industry, in reflection it's not so surprising.

Anyone know where John Passfield, Adam Moyle, and Kirk Gibbons are planning to head to?

Anonymous's picture

But there was a Myhill - he's still gainfully employed by EA in Canada AFIK, same with Kirk

Ben B

souri's picture

they were fine talented blokes.

souri's picture

A more appropriate and timely article couldn't have been done than this Gamasutra article about a few people who have been laid off due to recent wave of downsizings and closures..

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3901/game_developer_layoffs_the_re...

It looks like Pandemic LA didn't escape any of the fallout, either. What struck me most was the comment about EA making up roughly a third of the game development houses around. What do you do when you're let go from EA? Rejoining another EA studio is out of the question since they're downsizing, so instantly a third of your options are already gone.

Some trying times indeed.

Anonymous's picture

EA's Mariam Sughayer issued the following response: "In December, EA announced a cost reduction initiative that will impact facilities and headcount. We do not expect to make any more public announcements until our earnings call in early February. Outside of our scheduled earnings call, we aren't providing any new information on the status of individual facilities."

Anonymous's picture

'Individual facilities' - Welcome game development to the factory - It's very sad that studios are now being referenced as facilities, don't you think?

Remembering back just over a year ago to the original acquisition of Pandemic by EA and just how bright eyed and bushy tailed those staffers were. Oh the irony. Oh the bullshit.

Anonymous's picture

EA Chief Executive John Riccitiello

"These are two of the most respected studios in the industry and I'm glad to be working with them again. They'll make a strong contribution to our strategic growth initiatives on quality, online gaming and developing new intellectual properties. We also expect this will drive long-term value for our shareholders."

Anonymous's picture

Yeah well, I remember sitting in the meeting that we had when we were told of the Pandemic/Bioware merger. Andrew Goldman and Josh Resnick said they had three options for moving forward with Pandemic:

1 - Continue independent
2 - Sell to a publisher
3 - Merge

Their answer to 1 was that they want to grow, and they said that they would NEVER sell out to a publisher because they want to remain independent. Hence, option 3, merge with a publisher.

They're now Vice Presidents within EA.

Funny how money talks.

Anonymous's picture

I'm certain that here, John Riccitiello was not talking about the Brisbane arm of Pandemic. Pandemic Brisbane always seemed to be the ugly stepsister and only had a good reputation by riding on the coat tails of it's more successful and better looking sister Pandemic L.A. So really in the last 6 or 7 years they have only managed to knock out a couple of last gen games. One being a sequel. Not so crash hot IMHO. They likely had this coming for a long time.

Maybe if they had a good shake up and got rid of some of the people who were there only for the paycheck, and put people in charge that actually knew how to make and ship a title then they would still exist. As for who's left now, well knowing how this shit usually flies, they are probably the ones who are at fault in the first place.

Anonymous's picture

It sort of sounds like you don't know for someone who is certain. I think Pandemic US did actually believe that Pandemic AU could contribute to the new properties/new IP side of things- so much so that they let a group of them work on a new IP for the last 2 years.

I don't think anyone who worked there had an attitude of riding on coat tails or being the ugly step sister. It was originally a satellite- almost a startup, and grew. What you need to understand is was a much smaller satellite(for much of its existence)- only the last 3 and a half years was it any size.
+If a game takes 2 to 3 years for a team to develop- just how many games would you get done in 6 years anyway??

Did they have it coming? Certainly not the Alpha Team- as far as I know they met all their deliverables and showed constant progress. And a bunch of guys that there were certainly definitely knew how to deliver games.
But theres an off beat flavour to the games australians would make and even in normal circumstances the money men would reach for certainties- they demand blockbusters sales wise-and if there's any doubt....

As for putting people in charge etc,
well what happens if, say, the ones in charge of shaking up are ones that need shaking?- its the sort problem you get when things get over that magic team number.

Lach

Anonymous's picture

Any guys from Pandemic or anywhere else are welcome at Firelight / FMOD - send resumes to jobs@fmod.org

redwyre's picture

I think you mean "Destroy All Humans! 2: Make War Not Love"?

souri's picture

sorry

Anonymous's picture

I am wondering why more studios in aus are not closing down.. they rely heavily on US publishers? Maybe it is a sign of things to come for the aus dev industry.

Anonymous's picture

Probably because other studios ship games on time and on budget. That's not something Pandemic has done in a long tim.

Yug's picture

It's now confirmed prominent developers John Passfield and Tony Albrecht are no longer with Pandemic Studios. Apparently there are more than just 10 people left however. Still unconfirmed is what is happening to the studio now - whether it will continue to operate as Pandemic or under a new independent title, and if they will be able to keep working on their original I.P. game.

http://www.australiangamer.com/news/1509_fact_or_fiction_pandemic_studio...

AustralianGamer.com
GamersEvents.com
Vurp.com

Anonymous's picture

A series of development blunders - restarting the project six months in, inexperienced staff working on making The Dark Knight an open world title, and the film rights only lasting until December 2008 - left publisher EA no choice but to cancel the project and cut staff.

Development on The Next Big Thing is still ongoing, although EA has reportedly dropped the publishing rights.

http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/gaming/a142956/dark-knight-causes-pandemic-l...

Anonymous's picture

here is a more detailed story about what happened with dark knight. I guess pandemic brisbane weren't in as great a shape as people thought.

http://www.neoseeker.com/news/9653-how-ea-never-got-around-to-releasing-...

such a great project too.. what a shame, would have sold like crazy.

Anonymous's picture

I was getting a bit down about this industry, with all the companies being shutdown. But really it hit me today, almost all of the studios that are being shut down deserve it. For too long publishers have been able to absorb studios that have failed to deliver and keep giving them second chances. Pandemic Brisbane is one such example, after many failed prototypes they still couldn't get it right with dark knight. The same with blackbox, undercover failed to deliver so EA shut the studio down. Midway , Eidos.. they are all having to pay for mis-management and their faults for not being on top of their game. I feel sorry for many of the pandemic staff who have no control of what managment upstairs decides.