Split/Second developers say they never stood a chance

By Garnett Lee, Jul 05, 2011 5:45pm PDT

Last week we reported Disney Interactive Studio's confirmation that it plans to close Pure and Split/Second developer Black Rock Studios. Two anonymous members of the studio tell Develop that it was all planned out and they never had a chance.

In the time since it first acquired Black Rock, Disney has changed direction to focus on social gaming. A potential sequel to Split/Second was the first casualty of the new priorities, getting cancelled in December. But Disney reportedly invited Black Rock to prepare a pitch for a project more in keeping with the new thinking.

Studio employees say it was all part of a systematic plan to do away with the studio in the most cost efficient manner possible. "Really, they were just paying lip-service to us with this talk of the pitch. Anything we suggested wasn't going to be accepted," Develop's source said.

Perhaps the most troubling comment, though, was this: "At least Activision did it properly - and everyone treats them like a villain. [Bizarre] got real support and feedback. We haven't - we're getting shafted." Bizarre Creations was shut down by Activision after poor sales of a competing racer, Blur.

Black Rock's titles showed the tremendous abilities of the team. Hopefully it won't take long for them to find new places to get back to the work of making games.

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