Disney Plans to Shutter Split/Second Developer Black Rock Studio

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Posted by Alex (2036 posts) -

Well, this is never a good way to start off a Friday morning.

Despite positive reviews, Split/Second never found an audience.

After seeing its staff reduced to 40 employees after an earlier round of layoffs this year, Black Rock Studio, the developer behind such acclaimed racers as Split/Second and Pure, will soon close altogether, according to an official statement by Disney Interactive posted by Eurogamer.

The statement confirms that after the studio's latest project failed to garner a green light from the publisher, Disney informed the team of the decision to close.

As of this moment the studio remains open, as Disney has enacted a "consultation process" which, under U.K. law, signals an impending closure of a company. The process evidently takes 90 days.

After the previous round of layoffs, two new studios sprang forth from former heads at the company, including Split/Second director Nick Baynes' Roundcube Entertainment, and ShortRound Games, which was founded by four former department heads at the company.

Here's hoping the affected Black Rock employees find new work soon, either with their former coworkers, or elsewhere.

Staff
#1 Posted by Alex (2036 posts) -

Well, this is never a good way to start off a Friday morning.

Despite positive reviews, Split/Second never found an audience.

After seeing its staff reduced to 40 employees after an earlier round of layoffs this year, Black Rock Studio, the developer behind such acclaimed racers as Split/Second and Pure, will soon close altogether, according to an official statement by Disney Interactive posted by Eurogamer.

The statement confirms that after the studio's latest project failed to garner a green light from the publisher, Disney informed the team of the decision to close.

As of this moment the studio remains open, as Disney has enacted a "consultation process" which, under U.K. law, signals an impending closure of a company. The process evidently takes 90 days.

After the previous round of layoffs, two new studios sprang forth from former heads at the company, including Split/Second director Nick Baynes' Roundcube Entertainment, and ShortRound Games, which was founded by four former department heads at the company.

Here's hoping the affected Black Rock employees find new work soon, either with their former coworkers, or elsewhere.

Staff
#2 Edited by Napalm (9020 posts) -

Awful! 
 
Seriously. If it was, "hey, just a heads up, we're closing your studio." 
 
"...what?" 
 
"Yeaah." 
 
"Like, are you closing us tomorrow?" 
 
"No, no, no. But uh, real soon. We'll keep you posted, Bob! Have a great Friday!"

#3 Posted by stripclubdj (86 posts) -

hope they find work soon :-)

#4 Posted by MEATBALL (3197 posts) -

Ugh, this really sucks. Pure is one of my favourite racers this gen.

#5 Posted by Brendan (7777 posts) -

Boo-urns.

Online
#6 Posted by Ronald (1365 posts) -

Split/Second was so much crazy fun it sucks that the studio is now completely gone.

#7 Posted by Sweep (8845 posts) -

The uk games industry is getting completely fucked at the moment :(

Moderator
#8 Posted by Jadeskye (4367 posts) -

@Napalm said:

Awful! Seriously. If it was, "hey, just a heads up, we're closing your studio." "...what?" "Yeaah." "Like, are you closing us tomorrow?" "No, no, no. But uh, real soon. We'll keep you posted, Bob! Have a great Friday!"

i've worked for a company here in the uk that had a similar process when they shut down. And yeah, thats pretty much how it went down.

#9 Posted by JacDG (2120 posts) -

This fucking sucks, Pure and Split/Second were both amazing arcade racers, really really REALLY enjoyed my time with both of them, fantastic games in every aspect.

#10 Posted by Ali_D (142 posts) -

This ain't good. Hope those cats get some new jobs quick.

#11 Posted by Krakn3Dfx (2489 posts) -

That's a bummer, I played a bit of Split/Second and played a shit ton of Pure, both great games in their own right. I'd like to think a more fleshed out sequel to either game would have done well, assuming it was by the same developers. Guess that's not going to happen now.

#12 Posted by Metiphis (388 posts) -

This is AWFUL. Split/Second was wonderful fun, the speeds were amazing and the competition chaotic. Online play was very intense. This makes me all sorts of sad.

#13 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -
@jadeskye: That's the worst thing ever, especially treating it like it's casual and just 'another day'.
#14 Posted by XenoNick (1403 posts) -

This sucks. Pure and Split/Second were amazing games.

#15 Posted by Skrams (271 posts) -

Sad that Black Rock and Bizarre Creations got axed considering the both were sort of competing with each other with Blur and Split/Second.

#16 Posted by mrangryface (775 posts) -

DEVELOP A GREAT GAME! GET SHUT DOWN!

Reminds me of Clover :(

#17 Posted by Zabant (1236 posts) -

UK Games industry is pretty much on its last legs. All we have left is lionhead, rocksteady and rockstar north.

#18 Posted by bretthancock (778 posts) -

At least they get advanced notice by law, shit we could only be so lucky in the states.

#19 Posted by WickedCobra03 (2104 posts) -

This really sucks that these studios have to shut down after having a good game that does not sell 5 million plus and then seen as a failure.

#20 Posted by Chris2KLee (2334 posts) -

No surprise considering they already gutted the studio. The whole Disney games thing seemed to go by in a flash. Really wish they would have stuck in it a bit longer, especially with that Pirates game.

#21 Posted by kollay (1928 posts) -

There was a time when Disney showed promise as a solid figure in the industry.

Dun goofed.

#22 Posted by AlisterCat (5537 posts) -

@Zabant said:

UK Games industry is pretty much on its last legs. All we have left is lionhead, rocksteady and rockstar north.

Zoemode and Relentless are 2 other Brighton based studios. They make games.

Online
#23 Posted by Turbo_Toaster (964 posts) -

Ugh I loved Split/Second. This is terrible.

#24 Posted by Pepeman (107 posts) -

Motherfucker.

Online
#25 Posted by iAmJohn (6117 posts) -

Fuck you, Disney.

#26 Posted by LaszloKovacs (1143 posts) -

Well, this sucks. I hope these guys find work soon and continue to make great games.

#27 Posted by fox01313 (5069 posts) -

While they haven't done that much in the game industry as Black Rock, this still bites. Best of luck to those people at Black Rock going through this.

#28 Posted by Lingxor (422 posts) -

At least they gave them notice.

#29 Posted by MachoFantastico (4650 posts) -

Yet another British developer closing, makes me sad. Actually loved both Pure and Split/Second so sad to see their talents go to waste. But ay! if it aren't making millions and isn't like Call of Duty then why should Disney care.

#30 Posted by bengino (4 posts) -

Split/Second had a really awesome concept and started off really strong... then the game just started repeating itself and added nothing new at all, i'm sure a sequel would have moved from that, but with reduced hands on help and lack of support from the publisher, i suppose we can all safely assume the project was doomed from the beginning.

#31 Posted by Zaxex (583 posts) -

When Split/Second and Blur came out who knew the companies responsible for both would be closed and all of their employees fired.

This industry is getting pretty cutthroat; both companies had good track records and okay sales. It seems as though there are three groups of game developer: Those that make games that sell ridiculously well (Call of Duty, World of Warcraft etc), the indie studios who can eke out a living under their own control and everyone else who's under risk of being closed if their publisher isn't impressed.

If only making "good" games was what this industry was about; and quality begot sales. I wonder how long before Facebook games take over from traditional (good) games as business men decide how to best ruin it for us.

#32 Posted by deathstroke75 (275 posts) -

I was hoping for a sequel to both Pure and Split/Second. Both games were just plain fun to play.

#33 Posted by endaround (2144 posts) -

Disney continues its path of going publisher only of tie in games.  That was, what, a 24 month attempt at building a real games division?

#34 Posted by Rekt_Hed (848 posts) -

SHIT! ....I was really hoping to see Split Second 2 :( Hope all involved find more work

#35 Posted by Winsord (1212 posts) -

Augh, I always hate these news stories; I wish no game company ever got shut down, pretty much. Best of luck to all of those affected.

#36 Posted by crusader8463 (14419 posts) -

Best of luck to those guys and gals.

#37 Posted by Virtua_Ben (132 posts) -

I don't know why publishers buy developers and then shut them down. I know there's business behind it, but they shouldn't have tried from the start.

#38 Posted by Mercanis (660 posts) -

So one spin-off company is Roundcube and another spin-off is ShortRound? Eventually, the two diverging companies will have to recombine their forces and form:

ShortRoundCube Games. Dun dun DUN!

#39 Posted by JJGIANT (755 posts) -

It would be nice if this industry didn't get into the habit of so flippantly destroying talented and creative teams of people just because their game weren't a huge financial success. Seems like a huge step backwards for Disney.

#40 Posted by Solh0und (1765 posts) -
@mrangryface said:

DEVELOP A GREAT GAME! GET SHUT DOWN!

Reminds me of Clover :(

Agreed. :(
#41 Posted by geirr (2536 posts) -

The dog eat dog world of gaming companies.

#42 Posted by MisterMouse (3550 posts) -

man that is a bummer...

#43 Posted by TheKing (830 posts) -

Split/Second was one of my favorite games last year... This sucks.

#44 Edited by swamplord666 (1758 posts) -

had the fortune to be able to meet the guys multiple times and they were all awesome, talented and they seemed to all get along really well. Sad to see this happen :(

edit: also all they had to say was "hey, Pure 2" and i was buying it. the trick mode was intense!

edit 2: can we have a "RIP Blackrock" TNT? I would really enjoy that :)

#45 Posted by Arath (58 posts) -

Working in the industry and having experienced this myself, my heart goes out to these guys. Losing your job like that is one of the worst experiences I have had in my professional career. All the best to them.

#46 Posted by Xshinobi (377 posts) -

Pure and Split/Second were amazing games. This along with Bizarre closing is really saddening. I guess arcade racers are going the way of the dodo.

#47 Posted by UnrealDP (1222 posts) -

I hated pure, but its really sad to see these guys go.

#48 Posted by Nidzumi (108 posts) -

Man, this is a real shame. I loved Split/Second and Pure was decent as well. The problem is that both of them needed a sequel to really do something. Split/Second was great but there was diminishing returns on the set pieces the game was built around.

Hopefully someone picks them up. Racing devs are really falling by the wayside now and it's a real shame.

#49 Posted by Brodehouse (9886 posts) -

As much as it does suck for the devs, the relief is that they've shipped games and that puts them way up on guys who've never shipped anything in the same market. In the games industry, experience is worth more than any job or position ever is. And with the decentralizing effect that mobile and downloadable games have, a lot of these guys with experience could have options to forge their own path (already you see two studios formed).

After this industry being this industry for 25 years, you know that for a studio, death is not the end, merely a transition. Black Isle closes, and then there's this studio Obsidian that has a bunch of talented writers... if Obsidian closes, don't be surprised if THQ's new RPG suddenly takes a step up in writing.

Although, I'll say that between Bizarre and Blackrock, the market's probably pretty tight for guys with racing game experience. Maybe this means that EA can improve non-Criterion NFS games, because between Slightly Mad and Blackbox, I'm not sure if they can make a racer as good as Blur or Split/Second.

Online
#50 Posted by Mikemcn (6982 posts) -

Best of luck to those duders, Split Second seemed really cool!

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