EA Closing Need for Speed, Skate Dev. Black Box, 'At Least' Eight Others

Electronic Arts has revealed that it will be closing "at least" nine facilities as part of its restructuring plan, including Need for Speed and Skate developer Black Box.

With Black Box closed, EA will relocate the studio's development teams and "associated game franchises" to a nearby office in Burnaby, British Columbia. The other "studio and publishing locations" facing closure were not named in the announcement.

Overall, EA will axe around 1,000 employees, roughly 10% of its global workforce. Previously, the publisher said it would cut 6% of its employees under the plan. The majority of these actions are planned to occur before March 31, 2009.

EA expects the plan will "result in annual cost savings of approximately $120 million," along with restructuring charges of around $55-65 million over the coming quarters.

The publisher also declared a newfound focus on "hit games with higher margin opportunities," following word that it will be canceling several unspecified games. However, the company stressed that it is still "committed to taking creative risks."

Black Box recently released the critical failure Need for Speed: Undercover and aided in the creation of Skate It for Wii and Nintendo DS. Skate 2, presumed to be the team's last Black Box-branded title, will hit PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on January 21.