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Layoffs at Split/Second dev Black Rock

by Alice O’Connor

An undisclosed number of staff have been made redundant at Split/Second and Pure developer Black Rock Studio, owner Disney Interactive has confirmed. Rumours whispered to Eurogamer say as many as 100 staff may have been let go.

“Disney Interactive Studios confirms a reduction of its workforce from the Brighton-based internal game development studio, Black Rock Studios,” an official statement stated. “The studio will continue its work on its current project.”

An anonymous source at Black Rock speaking to Eurogamer revealed supposed reasons behind the layoffs, an issue which Disney tactfully side-stepped.

“It seems 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),” the anonymous source said.

“After SS wrapped, we started work on [Split/Second 2] pre-prod which was cancelled last December due to DIS’s new management and their changing priorities (the push towards freemium etc) – SS2 didn’t really fit in with that (despite some efforts to shoehorn it in).”

The source also said that a sequel to Pure had once been in the works, but was cancelled.

“The inactive portion of the studio has been expecting redundancies for months, so this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It’s sad that it’s come to this of course, but for many people they’ll be quite happy to take the money and go, as they’ve been sitting around doing nothing for months.”

While Disney has not confirmed this version of events, the story certainly would make sense.

Disney Interactive had a round of layoffs in January this year. The publisher again declined to give specifics, but the figure was reported to be around 250. It was rumoured that was only the “first round” of layoffs, and it seems another may have begun.

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