2009's saddest studio closures


Closed: September 2009
Most recent game: Xiaolin Showdown
Best known for: Rise of the Kasai

BottleRocket was working on Splatterhouse, a remake of the classic 1989 arcade game, until February, when Namco Bandai pulled them from it like smoked pork. Losing Splatterhouse was the mission failure that sent BottleRocket the way of so many Soviet test launches. According to Kotaku, words were exchanged between the injured developer and Namco Bandai before the doors were shut. I imagine the conversation went something like this:

BottleRocket: WTF happen?
Namco Bandai: Buuuh!
Namco Bandai: Hay did u guys see Twilight?

Wait, that was a Facebook conversation my 14-year-old cousin had. Close enough: Namco Bandai was unhappy with BottleRocket’s progress, gave the project to the internal team responsible for Afro Samurai, and possibly hired on a few ex-BottleRocketers as well. Again, my story is better.

Above: Before it was stripped of the project, BottleRocket had made significant progress on Splatterhouse (not to be confused with “Splatterhaus,” the non-violent German version about a jelly donut factory)

Where they are now: As mentioned, some of the ex-staff apparently rejoined the Splatterhouse project with Namco Bandai’s internal development team. We’re unaware of what’s become of the rest.


Closed: August 12th, 2009
Most recent game: Terminator Salvation
Best known for: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 & 2

GRIN was a successful Swedish developer founded by brothers Bo and Ulf Andersson, who, aside from making games, enjoy meatballs and neutrality. In their parting letter, the developers explained that delayed payments from publishers caused an “unbearable cashflow situation.” We’ll take their word on that, but we’re pretty sure the unbearable wife arm situation in Bionic Commando was worse.

Above:  What, you didn’t hear? That bionic arm contains the essence of his wife. Damn that’s stupid 

But seriously, Bionic Commando wasn’t a terrible game, though it didn’t sell spectacularly and received lukewarm critical responses. Terminator Salvation was likewise unimpressive. Still, it’s a shame to lose the developer responsible for GRAW 1 and 2…though it does open things up for the following insensitive joke: Hey, can you guess what the 100+ former employees of GRIN aren’t doing right now?

Now I feel bad, so let’s take another look at that stupid wife arm, which was probably Capcom’s fault anyway:

Above: Know what’s cool about this scenario? He can get a handjob from his wife any time he wants

On the topic of Capcom – who exactly didn’t pay up? If the reason for GRIN’s closure was delayed payments, and the last three major publishers they worked with were Capcom, Universal Studios, and Sony Computer Entertainment, doesn’t that suggest that those companies are faltering? Since when does Capcom fail to pay up? We demand details, preferably scandalous ones!

Where they are now: Several former GRIN employees came together to create a new venture, Outbreak Studios. Their focus is on iPhone and web games, as well as downloadable XBLA/PSN games. Not exactly a flashy new beginning, but it’s a strong market to attack.

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  • Eenieboy - December 4, 2009 7:55 p.m.

    Some of this has made me genuinely sad :( My heart goes out...
  • Corsair89 - December 4, 2009 7:59 p.m.

    What about Deadline Games? They made Chili con Carnage and Total Overdose. They most recent game was Watchmen: The End is Nigh. What really makes this sad is that Faith and a .45 is dead, which is too bad because that game looked really interesting. Who wouldn't want Gears of War style gameplay set in the Great Depression with two Bonnie and Clyde style bank robbers as protagonists?! That would've been awesome!
  • iKOemos - December 4, 2009 8 p.m.

    So many people have lost their jobs. :( I hope all of them get back on their feet and continue to deliver kickass games.
  • Xplosive59 - December 4, 2009 8:30 p.m.

    aww i was looking forward to battlefront 3
  • IGiveUFunkButt - December 4, 2009 8:46 p.m.

    Web of Shadows was so bad I had to take the disk out of my 360 to check that I hadn't bought an original Xbox game by mistake.
  • dakranii - December 4, 2009 9:15 p.m.

    The saddest for me was Ensemble Studios, which closed in the early part of the year. Aside from Goldeneye, I spent my most of my college years playing Age of Empires. I loved that game and still do (despite them putting Alexander the Great in the Trojan War?!).
  • GrenadeSpamAndSausages - December 4, 2009 10:38 p.m.

    pandemic has to be the saddest and with todays technology a batllefront 3 could have been turned into the most epic online game ever
  • FlyWire2 - December 4, 2009 11:37 p.m.

    RIP Pandemic: 2002 - 2007, They died once they joined that infamous posionous snake called "Electronic Crap". I knew this a long time ago but theres a little group of fans waiting for Pandemic's comeback... ...Thats the Pandemic's Forum itself waiting...
  • skyguy343 - December 5, 2009 12:06 a.m.

    oh Pandemic, you will always hold a place in my heart.<3 hopefully Team Ico can survive 2010 and more
  • FantasticMrStarFox - December 5, 2009 12:12 a.m.

    so many games that couldve been. no more pandemic. :(
  • mentalityljs - December 5, 2009 12:19 a.m.

    What always happens when devs close their doors? The best of the best team up and pump out the coolest shit! This is history in the making :)
  • barrage7667 - December 5, 2009 12:21 a.m.

    sad tht pandemic is gone but as long as activision and insomniac are still around i will be happy :D
  • Wizrai - December 5, 2009 12:26 a.m.

    @mentalityljs Yeah, at least maybe some of these veterans will team up and do something like Realtime Worlds did.
  • TrIp13G - December 5, 2009 12:29 a.m.

    3DRealms made Prey, didn't they? Or was that just a distribution deal?
  • onewingedantista - December 5, 2009 1:54 a.m.

    R.I.P. Pandemic. My dreams of a Battlefront III have been well and truly crushed.
  • mentalityljs - December 5, 2009 2:06 a.m.

    @ Wizrai Oh hell yeah, APB looks and sounds fucking SWEET! ReCaptcha: Madison drunkest No, no, no. It's here in Milwaukee that's the drunkest. Madison's got the stoners :P
  • Cwf2008 - December 5, 2009 2:11 a.m.

    Sad but at the same time no uncommon in this day...still...FUCK YOU EA. You had to kill off Pandemic didnt you? Will we ever get Battlefront 3? And seeing as Pandemic wont be in charge i dont see it becoming the greatest game of all time like it should be if it ever exists...=*(
  • Furyspittles - December 5, 2009 3:27 a.m.

    What, no Free Radical? The...absorption(?) of Free Radical into Crytek was the saddest thing that's ever happened in my life. I'm not even joking. The complete eradication of both Battlefront III and the next Timesplitters in one fell swoop nearly even made me cry. And yeah, my understanding may be a little off, but I thought Pandemic wasn't responsible at all for Battlefront anymore seeing Free Radical was working on the third one. So, yeah, I don't even care about Pandemic closing. Hurray for apathy!
  • Yeager1122 - December 5, 2009 4:46 a.m.

    I didnt know that happened to pandemic now im sad:(
  • Cyberninja - December 5, 2009 5:39 a.m.

    i bet EA will make a crap starwars bf3

Showing 1-20 of 43 comments

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