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  1. Disney Infinity has been out for about half a year now, and with sales of the game hitting 3 million units it seems safe to say that the game is doing more than just all right for Disney Interactive. So it comes as little surprise that Disney would compound that success with the appeal of two other extremely popular franchises the company bought in recent years: Marvel and Disney. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Disney is hard at work on developing a version of Disney Infinity for each universe, though no time table was given for projected release. Again, this isn't too surprising as Disney has massive plans for both labels (with major films coming for Star Wars starting in 2015 and a whole Marvel movie universe currently being built up) but at least we now know that this is something being worked on and it seems likely we may see these new versions of Disney Infinity either this year or the next. What is surprising, however, is that despite the game's success, Disney Interactive will be laying off hundreds of people this week (as reported once again by the Wall Street Journal). Mobile developer Playdom is said to be part of these layoffs, though it's unknown yet if they will affect Disney Infinity developer Avalanche Software. Are you excited for Star Wars and Marvel versions of Disney Infinity?
  2. In a tumultuous start to the day for IGN, the company is undergoing layoffs with Joystiq also reporting that its sister sites - 1UP, UGO, and Gamespy - are all expected to shut down. "We are focusing on our two flagship brands, IGN and AskMen. Unfortunately, as a result, we have made the decision to close sites and restructure our teams accordingly," a company spokesperson confirmed to Joystiq. Among those affected by the IGN layoffs is Colin Campbell, the ex-Senior Features Editor. Campbell's work has been critically lauded and has won several awards over the last few years, which makes it all the more surprising to see that he was let go. This news comes not a month after IGN was purchased by Ziff Davis through its parent company j2 Global. Game Podunk wishes the best to those affected by the layoffs. Source: Joystiq, Colin Campbell
  3. Jason Clement

    Epic Closing Down Impossible Studios

    Many might remember that Epic Games did the impossible last year and saved a number of employees from now-defunct BigBig Games when 38 Studios went bankrupt and shuttered last year. Borrowing from the situation's namesake, Epic formed Impossible Studios out of those employees and put them to work on developing Infinity Blade: Dungeons. For a time, things looked bright for the fledgling developer, but unfortunately Epic announced the closure of the studio today in a message on their website. "It was a bold initiative and the Impossible folks made a gallant effort, but ultimately it wasn“t working out for Epic," company founder Tim Sweeney said. In the meantime, the employees will be getting 3 months' severance pay and the option for the studio to reform under the same the name and logo should they desire to do so. Game Podunk wishes the best to those affected by the shuttering of Impossible Studios.
  4. In another sad case of a developer shutting down, today we've learned that Disney Interactive has shuttered Junction Point Studios, the developer behind last Fall's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. The move was made in the wake of the critical and financial failure of the game. It was discovered recently that Epic Mickey 2 sold through 529,000 units of the game through last November and December, but those sales were far behind the original game's. A spokesperson for Disney Interactive released a statement on the situation to Polygon, saying: "These changes are part of our ongoing effort to address the fast-evolving gaming platforms and marketplace and to align resources against our key priorities. We're extremely grateful to Warren Spector and the Junction Point team for their creative contributions to Disney with Disney Epic Mickey and Disney Epic Mickey 2." Disney Interactive now turns its attention and resources toward the upcoming Disney Infinity, which is being developed by Avalanche Software. Additionally, game designer Warren Spector has confirmed that he is leaving Disney Interactive with the closure of Junction Point. He took to Facebook to post his farewell letter, saying that he's sad to leave Junction Point Studios behind but excited for the future. "JPS had a good eight year run." Spector noted in his farewell letter. "I got to work with some amazing people on some amazing projects. I've had some of the most magical times of my life, fulfilling several life-long dreams. I've gotten to know Disney fans and Disney cast members, gotten hands on with Disney's history, walked where Walt walked... 'Magical' really is the only word. Anyway, whatever you think of me, or Junction Point, or Disney or the Disney Epic Mickey games — yes, I know we polarized people! — I'll always look back on the last eight years with nothing but pride. Rarely have I worked with a team more dedicated or harder working. Never have I been part of a game — of anything, really — that touched people at as deep or personal a level as the Epic Mickey games. That's priceless." The full post can be read on Warren Spector's Facebook. Game Podunk wishes the best to those affected by the closure of Junction Point Studios. Source: Polygon
  5. Jason Clement

    Superbot Affected By Layoffs

    Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale was one of the PS3's biggest first-party titles to release last year, but despite that, developer Superbot has unfortunately been hit with layoffs as we speak. IGN received word from a Sony spokesperson who commented on the news saying: “SCEA can confirm that SuperBot Entertainment did make a reduction in their workforce today. The studio and SCEA remain committed to supporting PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale post launch, including developing the title“s forthcoming DLC releases in the coming months. The first character pack (including Kat from Gravity Rush and Emmett Graves from Starhawk) will be available for download on February 12 and will be free for the first two weeks. We“ll be sharing news of additional upcoming content soon.” The reduction in the developer's workforce doesn't bode well for the company's long-term future, as past examples of other developers have shown that this usually means that the team was not able to land another big project for everyone to work on. However, the extent of the reduction of Superbot's workforce is unknown, so it's difficult to speculate. And given the fact that All-Stars Battle Royale was not the sales smash that SCEA was hoping for, one has to wonder how much more DLC Superbot will be contracted to put out beyond the upcoming Kat and Emmett DLC on February 12th. Beyond that, what happens with the developer is anyone's guess, but hopefully Sony will give them another a chance to work on a big title before deciding on their ultimate fate. Game Podunk wishes the best to those that were affected by the layoffs at Superbot and hopes for a speedy recovery for them soon. Source: IGN
  6. Just a few days ago, developer Eurocom confirmed that they were affected by layoffs due to certain changing circumstances. The studio will be reducing its workforce from 150 to just 50, according to a statement from studio director Hugh Binns. "Eurocom are undertaking a restructuring which I regret to say has meant we've made the majority of our workforce redundant today," he said. "This includes many very experienced, talented and highly skilled employees, and we'd like to thank them all for your hard work and efforts." "We've fought to try and save as many jobs as possible, but the steep decline in demand for console games, culminating in a number of console projects falling through in the last week, left us with no option." Binn went on to state that the studio would refocus its efforts mainly on mobile game development with its 50 remaining employees going forward. The specific cause of this drastic change was not discussed, but it isn't hard to connect the dots. Eurocom, mostly known for their work on the last couple 007 games, had recently finished up work on 007 Legends earlier in the Fall, but the game was widely panned in reviews (including our own) upon its release. It's possible that the "number of console projects that fell through" in the last week for Eurocom (that Brinn mentioned) could be attributed to the failure of 007 Legends; but for now, that remains pure conjecture. Whatever the reason may be for the job losses, Game Podunk wishes the best to those who were affected and a speedy recovery.
  7. It's always an unfortunate circumstance when publishers are hit with layoffs (even more so in the wake of Nintendo Power's announced end earlier today) , but unfortunately today proved to be a major day for such an occurrence at the likes of PopCap, THQ, and Funcom (developer of The Secret World and Age of Conan). Specifically, PopCap had to let go 50 employees (more or less) at their Seattle studio while exploring the possibility of whether or not any changes can be made to attain profitability with their Dublin, Ireland studio. PopCap's co-founder stated that today's layoffs are the result of a "fast-changing industry" and the need to reorganize in order to manage costs, improve efficiency, and maintain a profit. You can read more of what he said here on PopCap's very public blog explaining the reason for the layoffs. Meanwhile, THQ has laid off about 20 people from its marketing staff. This comes as a reorganization of sorts as the company's new president, Jason Rubin, attempts to shift more resources into development areas. The official statement on the matter from THQ reads: "THQ confirms a realignment has taken place in the company's marketing and production groups in Agoura Hills. This change is reflective of the company's ongoing strategy to create a more focused, agile, and digitally-oriented organization. Less than 3% of the company's global workforce was impacted, and no development teams or projects were affected by this action." Last but not least, Funcom has not revealed the official number of layoffs but reports that certain measures are being taken to reduce operating costs for The Secret World through layoffs and other means. Game Podunk wishes the best for those who were laid off and hopes they land on their feet soon.
  8. Update #2: It's official. The tangled web of rumors has been now been straightened out and all has been made known - OnLive's assets have been acquired by a new company, which is backed by "substantial funding" and will continue to operate the OnLive Game and Desktop services. OnLive has released an official statement on the matter as seen below: "We can now confirm that the assets of OnLive, Inc. have been acquired into a newly-formed company and is backed by substantial funding, and which will continue to operate the OnLive Game and Desktop services, as well as support all of OnLive's apps and devices, as well as game, productivity and enterprise partnerships. The new company is hiring a large percentage of OnLive, Inc.'s staff across all departments and plans to continue to hire substantially more people, including additional OnLive employees. All previously announced products and services, including those in the works, will continue and there is no expected interruption of any OnLive services. We apologize that we were unable to comment on this transaction until it completed, and were limited to reporting on news related to OnLive's businesses. Now that the transaction is complete, we are able to make this statement." Update #1: According to Kotaku, they've heard from a source inside the company that says a meeting was held this morning where CEO Steve Perlman announced the company would be filing for ABC bankruptcy (a type of bankruptcy that would afford certain protection from creditors). The source also said that Perlman said the company would cease to exist as it is now and that everyone was essentially laid off, but that a certain number of employees would be brought on to create a new company in the wake of OnLive's ashes. This info still remains a rumor for now until a legitimate name and source comes forward to confirm the details. Original Story: In a strange twist of words this morning, it was first announced through Inxile Entertainment's Brian Fargo on Twitter that he had received an email from an OnLive employee stating that the company had let go of its employees and is shutting down today. Fargo later tweeted that the employee had recalled the email, so it's unclear whether it was a hoax, a misunderstanding, or a cover-up of sorts. Ripten reached out for comment to OnLive and received the following comment, negating the rumor that it was shutting down: "Thanks for the note. We don“t respond to rumors, but of course not. The exciting news is that the first VIZIO Co-Stars (Google TV stream players) with the OnLive app built-in have just arrived in customer homes, and our second of three ”Indie Giveaway Weekends“ is going on now. OnLive users can get a free copy of the award-winning games Space Pirates and Zombies and SpaceChem (more details on our blog here: blog.onlive.com)." For now it would seem that OnLive, according to its top brass, will still function as an entity. However, GameFront claims to have reliable anonymous sources within OnLive that have confirmed the legitimacy of the email sent to Brian Fargo, and that employees are being let go from the company. The source also claims the entire company (minus key upper management) has been let go, causing suspicion as to OnLive's official response. For right now, there is no official confirmation from the company on the layoffs, so not only must this remain a rumor, but you should take this with a grain of salt as well. The entire internet has been going back and forth on the story, so we'll see what comes of it by the end of the day. Stay here for updates on the story as it progresses.
  9. Jason Clement

    Layoffs Hit Warner Bros. Games Seattle

    Yesterday, Warner Bros. Interactive confirmed that a number of employees were let go from WB Seattle, which also includes Snowblind Studios, Monolith Productions, and Surreal Software. WB Interactive provided IGN with this statement regarding the matter: "Due to shifting business imperatives, WB Games Seattle has made staff reductions. The group will continue to remain an integral part of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment." It's been a turbulent time for the WB studio as they've face a number of rounds of layoffs over the last few years. And according to Zenimax senior animator Mike Jungbluth, WB Seattle is now only one studio, seemingly having dissolved the other three studios and incorporating any personnel remaining. Snowblind Studios' most recent game was last year's Lord of the Rings: The War in the North, while Monolith Productions put out Gotham City Imposters earlier this year. Surreal Software was one of the Midway assets that WB Interactive purchased in 2009. WB Seattle is now working on a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) called Lord of the Rings: Guardians of Middle Earth. Unfortunate news for all involved, for sure. GP wishes the best to those affected by the layoffs and hopes they land on their feet soon.
  10. Jason Clement

    Layoffs at IGN & 1UP

    Various sources have indicated that IGN has laid off at least four staff members across IGN and 1UP today, including: Matt Leone Jack Devries Ryan Winterhalter Thierry “Scooteré Nguyen A few of them have even tweeted about it, confirming that it was their last day at IGN/1UP. Sad news for sure, and I hope they're able to recover and find new jobs quickly. Source: VG247.com