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Rumor: Mercenaries and The Saboteur Developer Pandemic Closing (Updated)

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Update 2: Studio owner Electronic Arts has chimed in, explaining that "a core team of Pandemic developers will move to EALA" and continue the Pandemic brand.

Update: "It's official, pandemic is shut down as of today," reads a tweet from Pandemic's Drew Marlowe. "Thankfully it looks like we are getting decent severance."

More details, including an official statement, are expected shortly.

Original: Rumours are circulating that Pandemic Studios--the Los Angeles-based developer of the Mercenaries series and The Saboteur--is to be closed as part of EA's $100 million cost-cutting plan, first reported by Kotaku.

The majority of the studio's two hundred-odd staff will reportedly be informed today that the development and publishing giant intends to lay them off.

Further rumours suggest that one Pandemic team may survive the layoffs and join the EA Los Angeles campus--itself rumoured to be facing cuts in the form of the Command & Conquer 4 team. Pandemic's website lists two mystery "current projects."

Pandemic's open-world shooter sequel Mercenaries 2 suffered a lengthy development with several delays, though as of October 2008 it had sold 1.9 million copies and then-EA publishing COO John Pleasants declared "there will be a Mercenaries 3, and if I can have anything to do with it, there will be a Mercenaries 10."

The developer's upcoming World War 2 open-world title The Saboteur has similarly had a bumpy journey, reportedly in development for four years and originally due to arrive in 2008 but now scheduled for a December 8 release on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Pandemic's Brisbane satellite studio--developer of the first two Destroy All Humans! games and a cancelled The Dark Knight movie tie-in game reportedly over-due and over-budget--was shut down in February during an earlier round of EA cuts.

EA acquired Pandemic along with Mass Effect developer BioWare in 2007 when it purchased the developers' parent company VG Holding Corp. for $860 million.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 17, 2009 10:38 AM

    The EALA thing is not a rumor, it is confirmed. I'm guessing this is not a rumor, either.

    How those EA execs keep their jobs after three years of total failure while, what....3000 people now have lost their jobs and the stock is all-time low is way beyond me. Proof of some problems with capitalism and the "free market", if you ask me.

    • reply
      November 17, 2009 10:55 AM

      That is a very simplistic idiotic view of both how the entertainment industry, and capitalism works. It sucks for those who lost their jobs today, but because of the free market and capitalism there is a good chance they will land on their feet at another studio or with another publisher. If this scenario happened anywhere else where there wasn't a free market those people who lost their jobs today would probably need to go back to the rice paddies, or get a 3rd shift job at a women's clothing factory.

      • reply
        November 17, 2009 12:29 PM

        Eat me. Capitalism and the "free market" only work if there is the chance of failure- its the motivation to do the best thing in the interest of the good of the company / making money. What I'm pointing out is that these execs haven't made money in YEARS (except for themselves), cost the stockholders lots in equity, and also cost lots of people their jobs...all while remaining perfectly safe with lots of stock grants and bonuses. That isn't failure for these execs...the only penalty is to the worker who actually did their jobs (and followed the leadership's plan).

        I don't know what you call that, but the system that represents doesn't work for anyone except those at the very top. There is not a good chance everyone will land on their feet right now because of the other problems with capitalism in America- the bailouts and depression brought on by more executive and banking abuse. There isn't exactly a lot of cash floating around for investments in new companies / expansions at existing companies.

        Also, if you pointing out problems with the capitalist system = "go back and work on your rice paddies" and other such uninformed propaganda, you should hardly be calling anyone an idiot. It is not a two way switch.

        • reply
          November 17, 2009 2:28 PM

          Always good to see someone doesn't eat the propaganda from birth.

          EA are like a living metaphor for much of what Europe tends to generalise of the USA. Heavy-handed, shortsighted, greedy - And run by feudal nobles in all but name, wearing suits.

    • reply
      November 17, 2009 11:00 AM

      Where did you see the confirmation? I gather the C&C community manager commented vaguely on the situation, but cannot get the forums to load.

      • reply
        November 17, 2009 11:23 AM

        He knows people who work there, or who used to work there now.

      • reply
        November 17, 2009 12:32 PM

        I saw the confirmations in my inbox

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