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Split/Second developers say they never stood a chance

Two anonymous staffers at Split/Second developer Black Rock have told Develop that Disney planned all along to shutter the studio.

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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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From The Chatty

  • reply
    July 5, 2011 5:45 PM

    Garnett Lee posted a new article, Split/Second developers say they never stood a chance.

    Two anonymous staffers at Split/Second developer Black Rock have told Develop that Disney planned all along to shutter the studio.

    • reply
      July 5, 2011 6:04 PM

      What I don't understand, does money get transfered to the group when they are acquired? Because if the group is getting dropped, what prevents them from keeping the same intact and getting a different publisher?

      • reply
        July 5, 2011 6:21 PM

        I'd bet money Disney owns the rights and any existing content.

    • reply
      July 5, 2011 6:04 PM

      They made some really fun games, it's a shame that they never had a chance to develop brand recognition to help their sales.

    • reply
      July 5, 2011 6:23 PM

      PURE was great, Split/Second with it's 30 FPS cap and no controller support in menus on PC was whack. I honestly don't get how the team that made something as slick and polished as PURE could flub such a fundamental aspect of UX.

      • reply
        July 5, 2011 6:28 PM

        No controller support in menus... on the PC? That was a thing that made you dislike Split/Second?

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          July 5, 2011 6:31 PM

          It's really weird having to put down the controller and use the keyboard to navigate the menus and then getting in a race and the controller has turned off. I mean if they can get the controller to work in the race, why not in the menus? Shoddy port is all. Plus racing at 30FPS sucks. Nowhere near as smooth as 60FPS.

          And somehow they managed to get both of these right on PURE, so it was a real WTF moment discovering that they went backwards on S/S.

      • reply
        July 5, 2011 6:37 PM

        Split/Second is one of the best racers i've ever had the privilege of playing, but it absolutely was a console game.

    • reply
      July 5, 2011 6:37 PM

      I think it was a bad decision to release Blur and Split Second so close to each other. It killed both of them.

      It is unfortunate for both teams.

      Split Second would have sold more if it was on Steam too.

      • reply
        July 5, 2011 6:53 PM

        Ex Bizarre and ex Black Rock employees should create a new studio and make the best arcade racer ever.

        • reply
          July 5, 2011 7:06 PM

          Fuck that. The Black Rock guys should just go to Criterion and start work on a new Burnout.

          • reply
            July 5, 2011 7:10 PM

            Some of them were ex Criterion people which is why split/second feels a lot like burnout 3 in some ways. All three are also based in England.

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              July 6, 2011 6:39 AM

              Seriously, they should get together and pump out a great indie Racer and make the profit themselves on Steam, XBL or PSN!

        • reply
          July 6, 2011 5:58 PM

          They should make the next Stunts!