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EA Shuts Down Pandemic Studios, Cuts 200 Jobs 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the say-goodnight-folks dept.
lbalbalba writes "Electronic Arts is shutting down its Westwood-based game developer Pandemic Studios just two years after acquiring it, putting nearly 200 people out of work. 'The struggling video game publisher informed employees Tuesday morning that it was closing the studio as part of a recently announced plan to eliminate 1,500 jobs, or 16% of its global workforce. Pandemic has about 220 employees, but an EA spokesman said that a core team, estimated by two people close to the studio to be about 25, will be integrated into the publisher's other Los Angeles studio, in Playa Vista.' An ex-developer for Pandemic attributed the studio's struggles to poor decisions from the management."
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EA Shuts Down Pandemic Studios, Cuts 200 Jobs

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  • Re:Good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by captjc (453680) on Friday November 20, 2009 @01:34AM (#30168432)

    The Star Wars Battlefront PC games were pretty good. The console ports were decent too.

  • Re:EA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Oewyn (1526739) on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:08AM (#30168614)
    While i've been a fan of RTSs since the days of the brotherhood of nod, it does seem to be much more difficult to find good ones these days.

    In particular co-op RTSs seem to be non-existent and most that do support it seem like it was added at the last moment on a whim. If you're interested in a game that has more focus on the S part of RTS, and excellent co-op opportunities, i recommend AI War: Fleet Command [arcengames.com]. It's an indy game written by a developer who actually cares about it's playerbase(No i'm not that developer, but I do play the game), and makes free DLC available almost every week with bug fixes, gameplay improvements, new units, etc. The gameplay is very asymmetrical. The enemy has already taken over the galaxy and is now distracted with other pursuits. The more planets you capture and the more structures you destroy the more annoyed the enemy becomes, sending larger and more powerful fleets against you. You can't go recklessly taking over every planet you encounter because the enemy would soon be mighty pissed and send everything it has against you.

    It's not for everyone, however you should at least check it out if you're finding the RTS platform has been lacking as of late.
  • Re:Good (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:32AM (#30168708)
    I heard they had decent console ports on Star Wars Battlefront PC games, which was a decent game, too.
  • Re:Good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:48AM (#30168874)

    You...are...so...wrong

      Destroy All Humans 1 & 2 is damn good game series.

    Mercenaries 1 & 2 is also a good games.

  • by xswl0931 (562013) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:50AM (#30168880)

    The interesting part of this is that the CEO had EA purchase his old company for a high amount of $$$ and only two years later shut it down while he personally pocketed several million.

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/96237-Analyst-Chews-Out-EA-CEO-Over-Pandemic-Closure [escapistmagazine.com]

  • Re:Good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Pouvoir (947689) on Friday November 20, 2009 @04:55AM (#30169062)
    Full Spectrum Warrior was quite innovative and in my opinion, one of the best games last generation. I also crack out Battlezone 2 once in a while, and few games have me coming back after such a long time. Unfortunately, it does seem they missed the boat a bit for this gen, but the Saboteur looks quite promising. You may not like the games they have produced, but celebrating the loss of hundreds of jobs is unwarranted. It must be great to celebrate years of work and dedication with a pink slip as your product is about to hit the market, especially with the holidays coming up.
  • Re:Damn it, EA... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MemoryDragon (544441) on Friday November 20, 2009 @05:29AM (#30169252)

    Tried to play the SNES version one day, it was not that bad it mostly was a 1:1 port of the PC version, Wing Commander 1 was a very basic game to begin with limited by the machines of that time. Wing Commander 2 was the one which gave the series its good name and Wing Commander 3 was the one which made it famous. (And Wing 4 killed it thanks to EAs heavy influence which you can contribute to everything which sucked at part 4)

  • Re:EA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday November 20, 2009 @05:37AM (#30169282) Homepage
    Try Warzone 2100 [wz2100.net], free as in beer and speech. Massively configurable units, a tech tree that's bigger than the NSA's, artillery based combat, and if you don't like it, you've got the source and can pimp it up.
  • Re:EA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Psychochild (64124) <psychochild AT gmail DOT com> on Friday November 20, 2009 @06:59AM (#30169618) Homepage

    What's interesting is that Bioware merged with Pandemic before being bought by EA. Seemed odd that an RPG developer would get together with an FPS developer like that. Also seems strange that if Pandemic was so poorly managed as indicated in other comments that an amazingly well-run company like Bioware would merge with it. Another oddity here is that Riticello, the current CEO of EA, was one of the people who orchestrated with Bioware/Pandemic merger before EA acquired them and he became CEO.

    Given all these facts the closure of Pandemic could be a deep betrayal or someone getting their freedom after a big payout. Ah, the world of game business.

    At any rate, I keep reminding people that Bioware is now owned by EA. Other studios manage to put out a few good games before they're killed off by EA, too. So, keep hoping the streak lasts.

  • Re:EA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday November 20, 2009 @07:47AM (#30169788) Homepage

    It seems to me that it boils down to building the most powerful units in the largest quantity.

    That's a bit trite. Given the vast tech tree and weapon-vs-target modifiers in Warzone 2100, "most powerful" is largely subjective. What's more "powerful", super-heavy tracked bodies with heavy cannons, packs of light-bodied VTOLS with tank-killer missiles, or swarms of cyborgs with lasers? And how about the decision whether to build mobile units, or to go hog wild on building long ranged fixed artillery and then creep spotters forward?

    It might be possible to win the campaign using nothing but heaviest-tanks-with-heaviest-guns, but you'll lose a lot of them to defences and tank-killer units. Warzone 2100 rewards you for using mixed forces of tanks, VTOLs, AA, artillery, repair units, spotters and cyborgs and deploying them intelligently against appropriate targets.

    The huge maps also provide multiple choke points and opportunities to build forward repair/fire support outposts, rather than the C&C variants where you generally turtle up just your main base and then break one or two decisive choke points.

    If you've just dipped into Warzone 2100, I'd recommend giving it a second look. There's a lot of depth in there.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fallingcow (213461) on Friday November 20, 2009 @09:18AM (#30170140) Homepage

    Yeah, that's basically my experience with them. I still install & play the first one sometimes, mostly to play single-player with bots and do Hoth over and over, or to play the galactic conquest mode or whatever it's called. It's not a great game, but come on, Hoth!

    II was terrible, though. Maybe it's better multiplayer?

  • by Vr6dub (813447) on Friday November 20, 2009 @09:58AM (#30170438)

    Shift was a crap game. They released it half-finished, car selection sucks, engine and car tuning is SOOOOO generic, suspension tuning is all bugged out, opposite-lock not required (all cars seem to magically neutral-drift through all corners). I could go on and on. To even suggest that Shift be put anywhere near Gran Turismo or Forza is laughable.

    I will admit I really like the direction they took the series and the game sounded GREAT but I think we'll have to wait for Shift 2 or 3 before they've found the proper recipe.

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