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EA Shuts Down Pandemic Studios, Cuts 200 Jobs 161

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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  • by Haxamanish ( 1564673 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @01:22AM (#30168370)
    ... are "a core intellectual property team". [wikipedia.org]
  • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

    by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @01:49AM (#30168526)

    What other game from 10 years ago still has new mods coming out, to say nothing of substantial revisions to the original game done by some of the original programmers working on their own time?

    4x4 Evo2 http://vales.com/evo2/default.asp [vales.com]

    And yes, I know you were being rhetorical, but you did ask.

  • From an ex-Pandemite (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 20, 2009 @04:30AM (#30168984)

    I'm an ex-Pandemite.
    For me, the turning point was around 2006, with the new hardware generation. There were lots of really passionate people here, but the development and design methodologies that worked well in the previous gen simply did not scale up with the larger projects, and things got confusing and out of hand. This was compounded by each internal team having their own unique technology and tools. The amount of redundancy, knowledge lost and effort wasted between projects was quite substantial, not to mention a somewhat lack of ownership or accountability. I was hoping that Sab would be the turning point, but it looks like it is not to be (good news is that last I heard, all SKUs are golden). I hope that many will be able to enjoy it.
    What really irks me is that this was a really passionate and talented bunch with so much potential. Definitely the best group I've had the honor to be with, and possibly ever will be.
    Cheers to the 16, 18, and 19.

  • Re:EA (Score:3, Informative)

    by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @05:10AM (#30169138)

    I think the worst example is Origin, instantly after EA bought Origin things went down the gutters, I will never forgive EA for killing Ultima the game series which is the grandfather of all western rpgs.
    Without Ultima 7 there neither would be any Gothic or anything from Bethestha.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Informative)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday November 20, 2009 @08:59AM (#30170046) Homepage Journal

    Star Wars Battlefront I has shit play control and crap camera behavior (not to mention generally shitty graphics.) Star Wars Battlefront II eliminated everything good about the first game (huge maps, more vehicles) but gave great play control and much better camera behavior. It's hard to say either of them is really a fantastic game; if you put the two of them together, you'd have one fantastic title. I have both, can no longer bring myself to play SWBF I as I always feel like it's cheaped me to death, but play SWBF II occasionally when I just want to get in some killin'. It has perhaps the best play control of any console FPS (at least that I've played so far) but the scope is a bit pathetic, especially since the second game is ostensibly based on the same engine, so there is NO excuse for not including all original maps. The original had far MORE maps, also; it's not just that it had a lot of good ones that there's no good counterpart for in the sequel.

    So yes, although SWBF II has good play control, I would say both it and the original are mediocre at best.

  • Re:Damn it, EA... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Edgewize ( 262271 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @12:49PM (#30172754)

    Citation Needed.

    Please provide one example of where EA released an alpha build. Or one example of where EA purchased a game already in development and then immediately diverted funds.

    As much as you would like EA to be the big bad wolf knocking over studios left and right, the facts are that almost every studio that has gone down in flames under EA's ownership has done so due to its own people dropping the ball.

    If you read any of the ex-Pandemic posts you will see that it was local mismanagement which led to poor quality product, not EA interference.

    Likewise if you read the Escapist's article [escapistmagazine.com] on the acquisition of Origin, one the most important quotes is this:

    Garriott: "We doubled the size of the company from 200 to 400 that first year. We went from 5-10 projects to 10-20, and staffed those projects almost entirely with inexperienced people. It won't surprise you to learn those projects were not well managed. That was totally Origin's fault. We failed, and we ended up killing half of those products. That's probably what set up the EA mentality that 'Origin is a bunch of [deleted],' pardon my French."

    This is a common pattern. EA buys a studio and gives the studio exactly what it wants, and the studio immediately hires new people and doubles its burn rate, spending tons of cash on payroll. And yet at the same time, the number of quality products at the studio declines. Growing pains, inexperienced management, whatever the cause, the result is the same. EA buys a successful studio, gives them money, the studio stops being successful.

    Of course the game will be shipped before the studio says it's 100% done, because the studio is never going to claim that a shitty or buggy game is 100% done. The fact that it is still not a good game after 24 months of very-high-budget development does not mean that EA should pay for another 12 months. It means that the studio failed.

One good suit is worth a thousand resumes.