Layoffs At Black Rock Studio?

Eurogamer has received reports that Black Rock Studio, a subsidiary of Disney Interactive are preparing to lay off approximately half of their workforce today. An anonymous source within Black Rock has said “it’s rumoured at Black Rock that there will be voluntary redundancies tomorrow – roughly 40, with the aim of reducing the studio to a single game team.”

Brighton-based Black Rock were responsible for Pure, the criminally underrated quad-bike racer in 2008 and of course last year’s fantastic Split/Second.

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The source went on to add “After Split/Second wrapped, we started work on SS2 pre-prod which was cancelled last December due to DIS’s new management and their changing priorities (the push towards freemium etc) – SS2 didn’t really fit in with that (despite some efforts to shoehorn it in).

“We had a concept week (everyone in the studio working on small teams) to try to come up with new ideas, but nothing really stuck. We had a freemium week sometime later with similar goals too. “The inactive portion of the studio has been expecting redundancies for months, so this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It’s sad that it’s come to this of course, but for many people they’ll be quite happy to take the money and go, as they’ve been sitting around doing nothing for months.”

It’s not all doom and gloom however as the source went on to reveal that the remainder of the team were working on a promising title that is new and risky, sadly, probably too risky for Disney to risk two teams working on it.

With Bizarre Creations closing down altogether and Motorstorm Apocalypse not really troubling the sales charts (albeit with mitigating circumstances surrounding its release) these Black Rock layoffs and cancelled projects come in a period when the arcade racing genre seems to be finding it tough going finding the audiences of the past. Although EA seem to be keeping the flag flying, using the Need for Speed brand to lighten the wallets of gamers three times in this 12 month period.

Source: Eurogamer.

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21 Comments

  1. Nooooooo!!!

    I love Split Second & was eagerly awaiting a sequel (as it was even hinted at the end of the game). I’m off to have a little cry. :(

    • In seriousness though, i wish all those being made redundant the best of luck for the future – A fantastic team that have created some great gaming experiences.

    • We will play our hearts out on this fantastic game on Mondays for sanmartinez and Boomshanks.
      Absolutely gutted!!!

      • I agree – It’ll get a good hammering once the PSN finally rises from the dead!

        I am also thinking of perhaps going back to Pure now, as i had forgotten how good that was. The ‘No Messing’ trophy always messed me up though (haha, how ironic!), as i kept forgetting about it & completing all the races in each of the sections before moving on to the next! Doh.

  2. Sad times as yet another IP gets binned. Hope these guys can find jobs quickly

  3. We’re losing some gems…

  4. Never a good thing to hear layoffs. I hope they get work ASAP. :(

  5. Disney why………?

  6. Shame, I’ve been in this situation and very much sympathise with the guys.
    Best of luck guys and gals at Black Rock

  7. That’s a shame, Pure and Split Second were both quite decent games.

    • Especially PURE, loved that game.

  8. I hope they sell the IP rights to Split/Second to another studio.
    Maybe Criterion, then that could be a feature in Burnout! :D

    • All the arcade racers are beginning to overlap anyway.

  9. GODDAMIT – another one!!!!
    I’m really angry, wanted Split/Second 2, hell I feel bad that they beat Blur and Bizarre Creations was shutting down. S/S and Blur both of these games were fantastic from both great studios, and enjoyed every minute of it. I sold Blur when I heard they were closing down. But as for S/S, I am planning to keep it. Pure was also a brilliant game way better than Nail’d!
    I hope those who were made redundant can get a job very soon, my thoughts go out with them and their families!

  10. I really don’t understand this, didn’t Split/Second do pretty well sales wise? I mean generally, for a normal game (I’m not talking crazy CoD standards or Wii games etc).
    Is it not enough for a game to be a success to achieve a profit?
    A very confusing market…
    Best of luck to the staff who are moving on to, hopefully, better things.

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