Welcome to another edition of Beyond Co-Op, our weekly feature where we take a quick look at stories from the gaming industry at-large, even if they don't contain as much co-op as we'd like. (Hint: It's usually none!). Studio closures are always sad to report on, and in 2012, we've had more than our fair share.
This week we'll be discussing the following stories:
- The sad fate of Radical Entertainment
- Criterion named the arbiter of all things Need for Speed
Radical Entertainment Faces Massive Layoffs & More
This week, we all heard that bad news that Prototype & Prototype 2 developer Radical Entertainment was going through hard times, including significant layoffs and a potential sale of the studio. It seems that there's still a skeleton crew on-hand but Activision (their parent company) isn't saying much about their future that sounds hopeful:
Although we made a substantial investment in the Prototype IP, it did not find a broad commercial audience. Radical is a very talented team of developers, however, we have explored various options for the studio, including a potential sale of the business, and have made a difficult conclusion through the consultation process that the only remaining option is a significant reduction in staff. As such, some employees will remain working for Radical Entertainment supporting other existing Activision Publishing projects, but the studio will cease development of its own games going forward.
That line about supporting other Activision projects makes me think that they'll be put to work with the soulless task of assisting with the creation Call of Duty map packs. Hopefully, I'm wrong.
Criterion is Now in Charge of the Need for Speed Franchise
Criterion, better known as the only company currently in existence who can make a great arcade racer (RIP: Bizarre Entertainment) and the creators of the Burnout franchise, have been assigned the task of leading the charge for all future entries in the Need for Speed franchise.
In the past few years, EA Black Box was considered the main developer, though Slightly Mad and Criterion also contributed titles. With the exception of Criterion's recent Hot Pursuit title, series releases have been either poorly received (Need for Speed: The Run) or failed to find a wide audience (the Shift titles). As such, EA decided to elevate Criterion, to hopefully increase the quality & popularity of the series once more.
Thankfully, they're still in full control of the Burnout franchise as well. I'd hate to see its good name be dragged through the mud by any sort of B-team.
Source: Giant Bomb