Disney Closes Black Rock

Posted on 2 July, 2011

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Brighton-based Black Rock is to be closed by owner Disney as reported by Develop. This comes just months after Disney removed two thirds of the studio leaving around 40, but now they will also be going and the studio shut.

Disney acquired Black Rock in 2006, and Black Rock produced several quality racing titles (Pure and Split/Second), both new IP, but most likely failed to hit sale projections.

The phrase “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” is what springs to mind with this particular closure. Disney clearly has (or certainly had) deep pockets and decided it should buy a traditional games studio to move in to new territory. Times change and a huge change of direction meant Disney started closing studios, globally. Their games strategy seems to have proved a massive dud, and having supposedly asked Black Rock to create and work on more social/casual titles, Disney still chose to close the studio.

Whether they were truly looking for a way forward, or just playing their own game to reduce staff gradually and close the studio as neatly as possible, who knows. What is sad is that it is another (formerly) large studio gone from the UK landscape, another team of great industry professionals out of work, and another sign that the UK is no longer the place for games to be made. It also raises the question how viable a long-term career in the games industry actually is in this country, and who is benefiting from cheating school-leavers in to games-industry affiliated university courses when their simply aren’t the graduate jobs to be had afterwards.

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