The lights are on
One of the UK's most influential studios, Blitz Games, is closing its doors after 23 years. The news came today via an announcement on the company's website.
Blitz Games Studios was founded by Phillip and Andrew Oliver, creators of the Dizzy series of platformers popular in the 1980s and 90s. Blitz contained six different divisions, including Blitz Arcade that was responsible for the Burger King adver-games (Sneak King, Big Bumpin', and Pocket Bike Racer) and Volatile Games, which developed Reservoir Dogs (2006) and Dead 2 Rights: Retribution (2010).
In the statement issued on the company website, Andrew Oliver indicates that 175 jobs have been lost. 50 employees will be forming a new company to continue two of the projects of Blitz Games Studios commissioned by clients. Rebellion, another UK developer (Sniper Elite V2, NeverDead) is also likely to take on some of the staff.
The full statement from Andrew Oliver follows.
“We have managed to weather numerous storms over the last two decades that have sadly seen the demise of many of our friends and colleagues across the industry, but the run of problems we've had to face over the last year is unlike any we've seen before. Frustrations with clients, the global economic crisis, and more than our fair share of simple bad luck have all conspired against us and we are no longer able to continue trading.
It has been an absolute honour to lead such an extraordinary group of highly talented people who have consistently pushed boundaries and created amazing games that we've been hugely proud of. We've been humbled by the loyalty and commitment that they've all shown over the last 23 years and we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all of our staff, past and present, for their years of loyalty, their creative drive, and their commitment to Blitz and to us.
We have done all that we can to make Blitz a success, and we have come frustratingly close in recent months. Major clients have felt unable to commit to investment in significant projects, others have changed strategy whilst appearing committed, and others have been slow to commit at all – all of these things have continued to hurt our finances. We have also sustained the business for some time with our personal savings but even those reserves have now been exhausted.
We'd like to publicly thank Chris and Jason Kingsley from Rebellion for their support and friendship during this time – they are acting incredibly honourably and helping us to find new roles for as many of our staff as possible. They began their careers in games at around the same time we did, and epitomise the positive and supportive culture of long-standing game developers in the UK.
We wish the very best of luck to all the staff who are sadly leaving us today and thank them again for their drive, creativity, and enthusiasm. They, like us, are passionate about games, and we call on the rest of the industry to capture their passion and continue the careers of some of the most talented young creatives in the country.”
Our thoughts are with those Blitz employees who are affected by the closure.
[Source: Blitz Games Studios via Gamasutra]
Our TakeBlitz Games Studios and the Olivers are responsible for a significant amount of UK game development culture. Job loss among game developers is becoming an all too common story. When a studio as storied as Blitz closes though, it hurts that much more.