Saturday, 2 July 2011

News: UK Black Rock studio to close

In another blow to the UK industry, one that echoes the recent closure of Bizarre Creations, Disney confirmed yesterday that it would be closing down UK-based studio Black Rock after its most recent pitch failed to be greenlit. Although ostensibly the case, the move was certainly influenced by the failure of previous titles Pure and Split/Second to perform well commercially, a failure that led to a spate of voluntary redundancies two months ago at the studio.

Following the cancellation of sequels to Pure and Split/Second, the studio was directed to focus on Disney's current priority, social and free-to-play gaming. It's appears that the pitch that was rejected by Disney was based around these tenets. 

Staff, speaking to Develop, cried foul, one source stating that ''
Really, they were just paying lip-service to us with this talk of the pitch. Anything we suggested wasn't going to be accepted', another arguing that the studio 'never stood a chance'.

The parallels with Liverpool's recently closed Bizarre Creations are clear to see, both studios had enjoyed success previously and specialised in the racing genre. Similarly, both studio's recent games were well received critically but failed to perform as expected commercially. Perhaps crucially, both UK studios occupied the so-called middle-ground between triple-A titles and budget fare, an area increasingly squeezed by the growth of mobile and social gaming.

It's a sore loss to the UK industry to lose yet another talented studio, and here's hoping that the staff involved are successful in their future ventures.

[Source: Develop]

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