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Disney takes the axe to Epic Mickey studio

Disney Interactive Studios today confirmed that it has laid off an undisclosed number of its Junction Point studio staff. The news comes days after Propaganda Games met a similar fate, and casts a dark shadow on the future of the Epic Mickey franchise.

Hints that the staff at Junction Point were in trouble cropped up last night when industry colleagues leaked the news via online condolences. One tweet from a Warner Brothers Games' artist, Mike Jungbluth, read, “I hope my homies at Junction Point are alright. Hearing about layoffs there makes me very sad indeed.”

There's no word yet on just how many members of Junction Point's staff will feel the sting of Disney's cuts, but statements on behalf of Disney higher-ups confirm that today's lay-offs are part and parcel of the mega-publisher's ongoing push into the mobile and digital download scene.

In a typically vague statement issued to Variety, Disney confirmed: "As part of setting a strategic direction for future success in the digital media space, the Disney Interactive Media Group today began a restructuring process."

Junction Point's Epic Mickey was met with critical love but fell apparently below Disney's financial expectations, despite selling over 1.3 million copies in the US. Studio head Warren Spector had been talking sequels ever since Epic Mickey's release, but we don't know how many staffers have been cut - should we temper our hopes of a bona fide console follow-up?

We send our best hopes and wishes to everyone presently and formerly at Junction Point, and Disney Interactive at large.

When asked to comment, resident Disney fanboy Chris Antista could only muster the following emoticon: :(

[Source: Variety, CNBC]

Jan 25, 2011

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