The lights are on
UPDATE: Disney has confirmed layoffs at Black Rock Studio to Joystiq, saying: "Disney Interactive Studios confirms a reduction of its workforce from its Brighton-based internal game development studio, Black Rock Studios. The studio will continue its work on its current project." Good luck to both those left at Black Rock Studio and those exiting the team today.
ORIGINAL REPORT: Amidst a year of high quality, under-performing racing titles, Split/Second was probably my favorite (and certainly one of the best-reviewed). Sadly, it looks like the wished-for sequel is not in the books, as developer Black Rock Studios is rumored to be cutting its staff considerably.
Eurogamer reports from an anonymous source inside Black Rock Studio that tomorrow the studio will begin a round of voluntary layoffs meant to cut the staff by approximately 40 people. The studio will reportedly stick around but with a new focus on creating a single game at a time.
The anonymous source also revealed that they had been working on a sequel to Split/Second, but it was canceled in December. Since that time, most of the studio has had nothing to work on as "Disney have been unable to provide us with a project to work on, and our concept pitches clearly haven't gone down well (despite there being many of them)." A follow-up to 2008 release Pure is mentioned as another project that was dropped.
The staff that remains at Black Rock Studios are hard at work on a new title described as both "promising" and "new and risky." Hopefully these layoffs are not the beginning of the end for this incredibly talented and terribly under-rated studio.
I wish those people luck.
C'mon Disney - don't "pull another Propaganda" and squander a talented studio! Split/Second was awesome, and yes - it sucks that you couldn't turn it into a HUGE hit. But Black Rock is talented.
I still believe in Disney Interactive. Even if the guy who championed big budget, original IPs for the company like Split/Second, Epic Mickey and Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned is now gone and some social game bigshot is now head of the studio. They didn't outright shutter Black Rock (unlike Activision's handling of Bizarre over Blur), so I'm hoping that they're still committed to doing some awesome big budget original games. Just less of them. I suppose that's why Black Rock is cutting staff to working on one game at a time.
It would've been nice if they could have had a smaller second team to do DLGs though. But still, it's just nice to know Disney's keeping them around. That's better than nothing! Best of luck to those who will soon be searching for a new job though...
Always sucks to see a talented group of individuals having to leave their job. Wish them the best of luck.
Sounds like Black Rock is putting everything into this next game. Cutting staff and then going with a "new and risky" game, in this economy, will either pay off big or spell out the end of the developer. Sadly, promising does not equate to sales, which are what they need now.
Back to Burnout
Ironically a case of the real world following a similar path as the game world.
I didn't really like Split/second but I pray for the people who lost their jobs and I hope this is a door opener for a great opportunity.
Split/Second had potential but overall I didn't care for it. The destructive environments were cool but got repetitive. What really hurt this game for me was the awful rubber banding it had. Made the racing more frustrating than fun.
Still good luck to them on their next project. Hope for the best.
Split/Second was an incredible game, I wish Disney hadn't canceled the sequel. I wish good luck to everybody working at black rock.
Seriously Disney? No Split/Second 2 OR Pure 2!?
Split Second was an awesome game...WHY!
I had way more fun with Split/Second than I did with Blur, despite Blur being the one I was more excited for. Sad times right there, sounds like Disney maybe doesn't know enough about the gaming industry to make the right calls.
Here's to hoping the crew from Split/Second start a new studio and make another racing game.
I did rather enjoy Split/Second, it always sucks when a talented studio get's downsized.
Why would you even try to make Split Second 2? I would be so much happier if you just repackaged Burnout 3:Take down and shipped it on current gen consoles with a bit of shine.