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Our farewell to Pandemic Studios

Our farewell to Pandemic Studios

CRW_6145_DXOPandemic Studios, begun in 1998 as an offshoot of Activision by Josh Resnick and Andrew Goldman to develop sequels to Dark Reign and Battlezone, has been shuttered by current owner EA. The studio will remain open until the launch of their upcoming title The Saboteur, and then will be disbanded, with key players being absorbed by EA LA.

Let’s be frank: “Key players” means a skeleton crew who can support The Saboteur after launch, and until the DLC and patches hit. Expect two, possibly three DLC packs for The Saboteur and probably two patches. If The Saboteur does well (read: it becomes EA’s Assassin’s Creed), there will be a sequel, and core Sab team members will work on it along with a new support staff from EALA. If The Saboteur does not do well, it will have been Pandemic’s eulogy piece.

As a site that has been intimately involved with Pandemic Studios, this hits home kind of hard today; and it makes us realize that it was the people we worked with, and not the company behind them, that really made Pandemic a great studio. Sitting in the queue of articles on the whiteboard here in the Icrontic offices is a draft entitled “Corporate Culture at Pandemic Studios”, a story that will now never get written.

It was a story about the energy, excitement, and enthusiasm of every single person we met while visiting Pandemic. From Resnick and Goldman down to the receptionist, every employee we met was a fun person, a gamer, a guy or girl we would hang out with. They were livin’ the life, doing what they loved, and it showed, from the 16th floor conference room to the 17th floor beer fridge. Programmers had Mega Man toys in their cubes, designers had NES games on their walls, and there was a wall filled with drawings from little gamers. There was even a “Make a Wish” wall, where a kid’s dying wish was to design a video game. Who helped him make it? Pandemic Studios. He came out for the day and everybody stopped what they were doing to make this kid’s game.

EA ended all that because Pandemic hasn’t met financial targets with their IPs. In typical fluffy PR speak, the internal memo rang out:

Pandemic is a powerful brand and the team has delivered some highly innovative and fun titles. However to improve our cost structure, ensure quality and build schedule integrity for this studio, EA has elected to close the Westwood facility and consolidate a core IP team on the EALA campus in Playa Vista. This move has resulted in a reduction in the work force at Pandemic and Josh, Andrew and Greg will leave the company. The Pandemic team in Playa Vista will report to Sean Decker.

Here, let us translate that into human for you: Pandemic, yeah great, you made some games before we bought you. We’re not happy with what you’ve done so far, so we’re going to gut the people we feel we can make money off of, and send the rest of you home with a pink slip.

We’re still looking forward to The Saboteur. We know enough about the game to know that EA was smart to let Pandemic develop this game their way. The success of it will, however, be very bittersweet.

CRW_6148_DXO

Comments

  1. primesuspect
    primesuspect I will be buying The Saboteur to make a statement to those who worked on it: Your work was worth it. They can look at the numbers as EA profits from their sweat and say: We did that.

    That's worth more to me than the distate I will experience at giving EA my hard-earned dollars.

    Chris Hunt, Tom French, Trey Watkins, Mat Everett, Fidde Persson, and everybody else I met at Pandemic: You guys rock, and I have nothing but respect for all of you. I know your passion and enthusiasm will carry you on to great heights, whether it's within the amoeba that is EA, or with a more respectful organization, I can't wait to see what you're all involved with next.

    Also: looks like my Pandemic coffee mug just became that much more awesome :p
  2. ZenMode
  3. QuadyTheTurnip
    QuadyTheTurnip
    EA stands as a disgusting corporate whore, looking for the best buck on an easy night down a dark alleyway. When someone doesn't deliver 200%, when they don't deliver impossible satisfaction, they're left to die on the streets once more.

    Dude, calm down a bit. It sucks, but that's business...
  4. ardichoke
    ardichoke I'm done with EA. I've been fed up with the DRM, the crap games and the bugs never getting patched for so long. Now they axe Pandemic. Even though it means quitting the C&C series which has been digital crack to me since I started gaming, I'm not giving EA another penny of my money. Ever. This is the straw that broke the camels back.
  5. Jonah Falcon
    Jonah Falcon If EA is so bad, how come the OTHER developer they bought along with Pandemic is healthy - BioWare.

    Face it, Pandemic made itself expendable with some truly half-baked efforts (yes, I'm looking at you, Mercenaries 2.) Had the games they made SOLD, they wouldn't have been shuttered. Period.
  6. Myrmidon
    Myrmidon But it's MORE than just business!

    One problem with video games as an art medium is that they've still got one foot in the business world. As long as art and business are so closely melded, you'll always have groups like EA who go full-on John Galt on everything. Case in point - the RIAA's restrictions on songwriters and bands.

    ...Jonah's on to something, though, as much as I love pandemic, Mercs 2 was PAINFUL.
  7. ardichoke
    ardichoke but how many other studios put out one or two sub-par games and still survive? Most of them.
  8. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster The moral of the story, start small and maintain your independence if you can. 2D Boy is a good example.
  9. UPSLynx
    UPSLynx
    Dude, calm down a bit. It sucks, but that's business...

    no, it's not just business. Not when your corporate structure is built on a foundation of crooks that devours everything in it's wake without giving ANYTHING back. Nothing about what EA does as a company is progressive. It is despicable and disgusting, and they will get no satisfaction from me.

    From a man who is trying to get into the very industry, seeing studios treated this way is ignominious. I don't view anything about this as business prospects, but rather more potential jobs and creativity being squashed for a quick bottom line.

    The real tragedy is that Pandemic isn't being given the shot they deserve. Mercs 2 was hardly a smash hit, sure. But the Saboteur has every bit of potential to be one of, if not their greatest title yet. It was supposed to be the game that puts Pandemic on the level of the big dogs, the stand out title that shows the industry that this is a team that knows what they're doing. They'll never even recieve the chance to see if it was all worth it. EA pulled the plug before the patient could come out of the coma.
  10. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster Bobby has a point.

    Its the problem with large corporations that constantly acquire the innovators. Remember me flipping a lid on the forum board when Intuit purchased Mint.com? Its not much different. The innovator is allured by a fast payday but they loose ultimate control, long term its rarely a good deal.
  11. RWB
    RWB Can't say I'll never buy another EA game every again, but I'll sure avoid them as I do now. But they seem to have their hands in like every game ever made it seems. Everywhere you look you see their stupid logo. I've met people who worked at EA Tiburon when I attended Full Sail who basically gave the advice to anyone to avoid working for them like the plague. They treat their employee's like crap and of course that doesn't seem to stop there. I guess when you know gamers cannot or are not willing to avoid you(probably because they don't know of these things) you just stop caring about the people who feed you.
  12. Grimnoc
    Grimnoc I realize emotions may be running high, and it's not my intention to pour fuel on the fire but I think it may be beneficial to pause for a moment before getting caught up in corporate-hate.

    The facts are, I don't know Pandemic and I don't know EA.

    Regardless of what I personally think, companies make decisions like this based on straight cost/benefit analysis. The point being there are a multitude of reasons why EA may have dumped Pandemic, and no one is in a place to say why unless you work in the financial department of EA. Period. Everything else is conjecture and heated emotions.

    Psss, the last two Pandemic games, Mercenaries 2 and Lord of the Rings: Conquest, were weak (though in Pandemic's defense there could also be a multitude of reasons why this is so, but it doesn't change the fact that they were).

    *I, like many here, am also pretty interested in what Saboteur has to offer.
  13. Koreish
    Koreish I just realized how much of a hate monger Grimnoc is with that last post.
  14. Grimnoc
    Grimnoc That's me, all super-hatey. :)
  15. NiGHTS
    NiGHTS Rapid expansion in an exploding industry (down near 1/5th this year) played a part in this. Its easy to jump on the EA hate train, but IIRC they're in the business to license, sell, market, and produce (stamp CDs, ettc.) more than push the envelope of gaming today. Independants WANT this help. With the advent of newer tech, this dev arms race push might go by the wayside, but this is the way business is in this market.

    Don't get me wrong, this is sad and very unfortunate, but I think we need to take a collective moment before passing torches and pitchforks.
  16. Butters
    Butters I'm worried about 2 things from this.

    1)EA is going to start a trend. Basically, have game development teams produce a title up to launch, then right after launch, get rid of their employees. Cutting significant wage costs for the months in between projects before things start rolling. Its almost like seasonal employment.

    2) My bigger concern, EA's focus on the "subscription" based games. Basically the Madden's, FIFA's, COD's, Sims. Basically releasing games regularly with a few substantial changes other than changing scenarios, modified gameplay, etc. That is, if a series is not sustainable with minimum development time/expense, EA will axe it. It stifles creativity and anything that doesn't fit into the cookie-cutter mold will no longer exist.
  17. primesuspect
    primesuspect
    Butters wrote:
    My bigger concern, EA's focus on the "subscription" based games. Basically the Madden's, FIFA's, COD's, Sims. Basically releasing games regularly with a few substantial changes other than changing scenarios, modified gameplay, etc. That is, if a series is not sustainable with minimum development time/expense, EA will axe it. It stifles creativity and anything that doesn't fit into the cookie-cutter mold will no longer exist.

    This x100000

    As this trend pans out, what we will see is EA, Activision, and Ubisoft becoming nothing more than a gristmill churning out rehashes of the same 15 games; then whenever something innovative comes along, they'll buy the studio, apply their polish, try to make money off of it, and then spit it out to wither away.

    Think about this: The Saboteur is an innovative game; sure, it uses many conventions, but there are some new things in there. The striking art style is one, the will-to-fight mechanic another. EA now owns those, and if Sab 1 is successful, there will be a Sab 2 with them, until the Sab is run dry.

    If Pandemic was an indie studio and The Sab does well, they could have continued making new innovations.

    Indie gaming is where it's at. It's becoming more and more obvious.
  18. Linc
    Linc It's the same as movie studios.

    If you care about your business and doing great work, don't sell it. This is what happens.
  19. mondi
    mondi
    If Pandemic was an indie studio and The Sab does well, they could have continued making new innovations.

    Indie gaming is where it's at. It's becoming more and more obvious.

    Counterpoint: Could Pandemic have weathered 2 unsuccessful games, and had the resources to make The Saboteur if they were an indie company?
  20. Grimnoc
    Grimnoc
    mondi wrote:
    Counterpoint: Could Pandemic have weathered 2 unsuccessful games, and had the resources to make The Saboteur if they were an indie company?

    Probably not, especially considering how both of those games probably had high development costs.
  21. NiGHTS
    NiGHTS Didn't I read somewhere on these boards Sab2 was already setup/in the works? While I agree it's a horrendus trend, it's not like indies wouldn't enjoy the same success.
  22. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm It's not like indie games are going anywhere. They'll live on on Steam and Impulse and whatever random stuff they offer up. All the PC gamers should be happy. The problem is developing for the consoles - if you want to make the best-looking game, it requires a significant initial investment, and you can't afford that unless you have an awesome amount of VC or personal wealth behind it, or if you're working with a big dog.

    EA still has original content and good people working for it. And they and others are not just doing sequels, though the current season sure seems like it (MW2, Assassin's Creed 2, Bioshock 2, Army of Two Two, L4D2, etc) - Mirror's Edge, the original Assassin's and Bioshocks, Dragon Age, The Saboteur... People are too quick to dismiss gaming. I can't remember the last time I bought a yearly rehash like Madden or FIFA, and yet I manage to continue to find games to play. Doom and gloom is useless when as far as I can tell, the gaming world is doing just fine - and the rest of the devs will get members of a fantastic team when Pandemic disbands and they all find new homes.
  23. Grimnoc
    Grimnoc Furthermore, it's pointless to compare Indie games to huge, triple A games as the business models for them are completely different. EA excels (or at least aims for) publishing large name games on a mass scale. This is the market in which they dealt, especially in the past. The funny thing is that EA has been gaining more goodwill recently because of exactly their move to begin to try to support different business models, in most cases this means publishing (or partnering with) more independent-ish type games. Money to publish games is not magic, it doesn't grow on trees. In order to do this, they have to dump some of their studios that may not be hitting profit margins they think they need in order to maintain their business in the long run (or short run, either way).

    Also, I would say the argument of EA buying studios to "profit" off a soon to be released game to only turn around and dump them would hold more water if they hadn't bought Pandemic before Mercenaries 2 and Lord of the Rings: Conquest had been released. In light of this some would say that EA bought Pandemic and supported them through two sub-par games which did not sell as expected before they finally decided to shed the studio, and yet they are still going to see Saboteur through to the end, whatever end that may be.

    All this is to not, I repeat not, bash on Pandemic. It's simply my reasoning for believing that the hate towards EA is unjustified in this specific case, especially when nobody knows EA's internal fiscal numbers, projections, responsibility to shareholder's, etc.
  24. Myrmidon
    Myrmidon Quick question on the aside - how did many of you who think this is 'just business' feel about the article "Video games, controversy, and how we respond?"

    http://gaming.icrontic.com/articles/video-games-controversy-and-how-we-respond

    Sure, this article isn't perfectly analogous to what's going on with EA (although you could say Konami was just keeping good PR, an aspect of 'just business'), but it IS about video games as art, and if you want to treat video games as art, you can't ALSO treat them as 'just business.'

    Art and business don't have to conflict, however - Mondi and Grimnoc have got damn good points - but one side DOES have to take precedence. Does the business side exist to help promote and develop the art that came first, or does the art side exist simply to be a product for the business that came first?

    I think you know which philosophy EA takes, and which side developers like Valve take (extremely creative TF2 content free? For how many years?). Of course, now Valve is doing extremely well... And it started with Half Life and Half Life 2, right? The art came first, and the business followed. That's what EA doesn't do.
  25. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster
    This x100000

    As this trend pans out, what we will see is EA, Activision, and Ubisoft becoming nothing more than a gristmill churning out rehashes of the same 15 games; then whenever something innovative comes along, they'll buy the studio, apply their polish, try to make money off of it, and then spit it out to wither away.

    Think about this: The Saboteur is an innovative game; sure, it uses many conventions, but there are some new things in there. The striking art style is one, the will-to-fight mechanic another. EA now owns those, and if Sab 1 is successful, there will be a Sab 2 with them, until the Sab is run dry.

    If Pandemic was an indie studio and The Sab does well, they could have continued making new innovations.

    Indie gaming is where it's at. It's becoming more and more obvious.

    Continuing on this thread, even our most beloved developer Valve is doing it. L4D2 is more or less the equivalent of what a roster update and an added training camp mode is in an annual Madden title. Its still fun, and many will find its still worth paying for (I did) but ultimately its the gamer that stifles innovation. As long as we line up to buy that yearly Madden, COD, or Guitar Hero title for full price, the publishers will keep investing in it.
  26. Winfrey
    Winfrey I think I would disagree with the comparison of L4D2 to the updates made to a Madden/Sports game. They added quite a bit more content and innovation than a roster change and a few control nuances imo.

    It's really unfortunate to see a developer that really took a big swing with a very interesting and innovative game, The Sabotuer, get axed before the game even is released. These conflicts inevitably come up between developers and publishers. Valve had to fight out of Vivendi Games in order to do what they felt they needed to do. There are not many developers that have anywhere near the resources to accomplish that, however.

    I will continue to reward gaming companies that release quality, innovative titles and ignore the ones that want me to buy the fifth iteration of a game that is obviously a cash cow being slowly milked.
  27. ardichoke
    ardichoke
    mondi wrote:
    Counterpoint: Could Pandemic have weathered 2 unsuccessful games, and had the resources to make The Saboteur if they were an indie company?
    Counter-counterpoint: Would Pandemic have made the 2 unsuccessful games if EA didn't own them? Did EA have some hand in having them make those two games against the better judgment of the people who otherwise would have been running the company?

    I don't know the answer to those questions any more than you know the answer to the questions you posed. Something to consider though as both the games in question game out after EA acquired Pandemic.
  28. primesuspect
    primesuspect
    mondi wrote:
    Counterpoint: Could Pandemic have weathered 2 unsuccessful games, and had the resources to make The Saboteur if they were an indie company?

    As Ardichoke said, I'm pretty sure Pandemic wouldn't have made those shitty games or the shitty decisions behind them if EA didn't have a hand in it.

    The Saboteur is what they should have been working on. LotR Conquest was the result of EA saying "make this game now"
  29. Winfrey
  30. Thrax
    Thrax That post reads more like an employee who is butthurt over getting canned than a new perspective.
  31. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster Or "butthurt" that the one time leader and visionary that was Josh Resnick sold them all out.
  32. John
    John For all those people here whining about "Evil EA", get real! The fact is that Pandemic Studios failed to produce a successful game or a drop of profit for YEARS. Years, guys, years.

    Face it: Pandemic didn't produce a single successful next-gen title in the 4 plus years since the Xbox 360 arrived. The management at Pandemic openly stated that they were aiming to make games with a Metacritic rating of 85 or higher. So what was the company's track record?

    ** Mercenaries II arrived after almost 2 years of delays, and got a 72 metacritic score.

    ** Lord of the Rings: Conquest shipped roughly on time but got a little higher than a 50 score! That's horrendously low.

    ** The Batman game was cancelled after failing to thrive for more than a year.

    ** Two other games the studio spent months developing were cancelled.

    ** And Sabateur is more than *2 years* late, with a huge team bleeding vast amounts of cash every month. And you know what? It's not an A+ title, despite what some fawning previews might suggest. It's a solid but largely unremarkable game.

    It's easy to blame the big bad faceless corporation (EA). It's harder to admit that the nice, passionate developers at Pandemic (some of who you met personally and hung out with) made a lot of bad decisions, year after year.

    And yet that's the honest truth. And you know what else? After all the money Pandemic spent on its next-gen titles (all of which were started and floundering well before EA bought the studio), Pandemic would have been out-of-business far earlier had it NOT been for EA buying them. EA gave Pandemic more time and more money to produce a hit, and it just didn't happen.

    If you can blame EA for anything, it's the company's CEO for buying Pandemic/Bioware at such a steep price. EA severely misjudged Pandemic's value, and blew a huge wad of shareholder money on such a rich deal. That's something you should all be angry about...
  33. John
    John "The Saboteur is what they should have been working on. LotR Conquest was the result of EA saying "make this game now"

    Brian, just so you know, Pandemic was completely independent when it started working on LOTR: Conquest. In fact, it was more than a year away from being acquired by EA when it aggressively courted EA to do a LOTR game inspired.

    Actually, both EA and Pandemic wanted to do the deal quite badly. Pandemic would bring the Battlefront-style gameplay and EA would bring the massive marketing and distribution muscle. Sounded good on paper, but doing Battlefront with swords and melee isn't quite the same thing as doing a shooting game in the Star Wars universe. Also, the game had to be done in almost 1.5 years (initially) due to the fact that EA's LOTR license would expire at that point, which meant a development schedule with no room for errors....
  34. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster John,

    I respect what you are saying, but lets examine the LOTR failure. If EA has all this raw marketing clout why where they not able to secure an extension on their licence for the LOTR franchise so their developer could have time to produce a completed product for their customers? Perhaps EA did not deliver what they promised there? I'm just saying, from the outside looking in there are three sides to every story, what he said, she said, and the truth.
  35. John
    John Cliff, extending the licensing deal on one of the most recognizable franchises in the world is not an easy or inexpensive matter. It's not like renewing a loan on a library book, or paying a late fee at Blockbuster. Licenses are secured for YEARS at a time, with multiple products in mind, at great expense. Trying to renegotiate that kind of deal in the 11th hour for the sake of only one game is not practical. Having said that, EA *did* manage to get LOTR: Conquest a few months more development time, and the game was *still* far below everyone's expectations.

    The fact is, EA gave Pandemic tons of support and freedom to make the games Pandemic wanted to make. So did Elevation Partners, which funded the Pandemic/Bioware venture for almost 2 years before EA purchased Pandemic. If you knew anyone at Pandemic, you wouldn't hear complaints about their publisher (EA) "meddling" with the games. That simply didn't happen.

    Which is why it's ridiculous to see fans all over the internet dump on EA for Pandemic's failings. It's ridiculous because that kind of reaction is largely fueled by a child-like and ignorant fantasy where the fun-loving, creative developers (the good guys) are always oppressed by the faceless, bean-counting corporate suits (the bad guys).

    When you guys are ready to put aside the fairy tale, here's what you're left with:

    * Pandemic didn't ship a hit game for years, but the budgets and cost-overruns for its games required at least *one* of them to be a hit.

    * A massive recession hit the world, and tons of people stopped buying games, even good ones.

    * Management at EA had to make sure that EA survives, and the best way to do that is to scale back expenditures and put their resources where they think the winners are.

    It's really that simple...
  36. Thrax
    Thrax Dismissing subjective interpretations as fairy tales with another subjective interpretation. It's the classiest way to make a point.

    Also, you know someone is uninformed when they say this:
    If you knew anyone at Pandemic, you wouldn't hear complaints about their publisher (EA) "meddling" with the games. That simply didn't happen.

    To which those of us who <i>do</i> know people in Pandemic say: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
  37. Sledgehammer70
    Sledgehammer70 If you only knew...
  38. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster John,

    For full disclosure, are you someone with EA? I'm just trying to understand your perspective?

    Listen, what you are saying is not without merit. As I am fond of saying, I'm the son of a Steelworker, trust me, I know the harsh realities of business all too well. I'm just saying when Pandemic made the deal to sell to EA, they probably had some expectations up front as to how that agreement was going to lend them certain resources and perhaps EA did, or didn't come through on that? I don't know with any certainty. What I do know is that by giving up its independence Pandemic did not entirely guide its own fate, and perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here?
  39. primesuspect
    primesuspect Yeah a little disclosure on your part would probably go a long way towards clearing the perception that you're just an EA shill trying to put out a fire or something
  40. John
    John I'm not an EA employee, I'm a Pandemic employee (former, obviously) who had good access to the people guiding the company. And have good respect for them....but not enough to let EA take the blame for Pandemic's demise.

    Cliff: You assume that an independent developer guides its own fate, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Most independents are highly dependent on the publishers that fund and distribute their games. A publisher could easily make a strategic change that leaves a developer with a big staff and no money coming in....and even pick off the developer's best employees as they abandon ship.

    Don't think that scenario didn't occur to the founders of Pandemic! It was to *escape* the uncertainties of being an independent developer that first led Pandemic to contribute itself into a bigger developer....ie, Bioware/Pandemic, (VG Holdings), which was funded by Elevation Partners.

    The plan was to become a "super developer" that could actually fund its own titles from start to finish (like Pixar does...or did until Disney acquired them). As a super-developer, Pandemic/Bioware would not be dependent on publishers for milestone checks and other meddling, but on its own deep pockets. It could develop high quality titles on its own, and then shop the titles around to multiple publishers, taking the best possible bid. The publishers would basically take a cut as distributors, but not nearly the lion's share of profits that publishers typically take (since Bioware/Pandemic assumed all the risk of funding the games). Bioware/Pandemic would also own their IP.

    Sounded like a good and reasonable plan, and it was one that, again, Pixar practiced well. Unfortunately, a ton of money was spent developing those Pandemic games, and when they went to shop them around, they didn't get a lot of great, compelling bids (there are fewer and fewer publishers out there capable of giving a super-developer the terms they want, and publishers naturally didn't want to create a monster by helping Pandemic/Bioware become a name brand that could set every term and call every shot in the future).

    Suddenly, fronting all the money for some very expensive games doesn't look quite as safe a strategy as it once did. And on multiple occasions, EA seemed to be able to provide Pandemic what it most wanted--it made the best offer to distribute Mercs II, it had the license that would let Pandemic make a Lord of the Rings action game (which Bioware/Pandemic would fund itself); it had the clout to get the license to do a Batman game, which Pandemic was very excited to do. Finally, out of all the other publishers, EA also seemed the most interested in Pandemic's Saboteur (there may not have been any credible bidders beyond EA..).

    It didn't take long for Bioware/Pandemic and Elevation Partners to realize that joining EA, in fact, might be the best thing to preserve Pandemic's ability to call its own shots. Otherwise, there was a very real possibility of many of those games not getting good distribution, and never recouping their investment. Had that happened, Pandemic's "independence" would only be a fast-track to bankruptcy.

    Anyway, you should rid yourself of the notion that being independent means you guide your fate. It doesn't. That's why so many developers *do* opt to be acquired by bigger publishers who have a broad enough product line to weather the ups and downs of one or two game's financial failure.

    The problem is: a good developer isn't always good. They may make a hit or a couple of hits (like Pandemic did), but then turn out some big, disappointing failures. That's happened with a lot of beloved developers....through no fault of their acquiring publisher. When a string of failures takes place, a publisher can have no choice but to drop the axe.

    For those really interested in why Pandemic didn't make it, you might ask why Mercs II and Saboteur took almost *twice* as long to develop as expected (requiring upwards of $30-$40 million to develop). Is that not an interesting question? You might ask about the engineering nightmares that went on for months on Mercs II, and how a creative director ended up running the engineering team for a while. You might ask about how Pandemic tried to develop a universal world-building tool and engine to base all its games on, and how it just didn't work well for anybody, and each game ended up doing their own thing. Also, factor in the distractions to upper management of 1) contributing themselves to BioWare/Pandemic, and then 2) merging with EA, all within a couple of short years. Ask about some weird power struggles between team leads, which upper management left un-checked because they were busy doing other things.

    These and other issues all contributed to Pandemic's games simply not making it through development, or not being good enough to sell well, and all of these issues were independent of EA.

    I hope I don't sound down on Pandemic. I'm not. It had great people, was filled with game-lovers, and really strived to make great, big budget A+ games (there really was a passion for that). And the founders really did think outside the box when it came to their Bioware/Pandemic strategy of becoming a super developer.

    It's just that great games are actually very hard to make (especially original ones), even for pros. When you come across a great game, you should worship it, because it really is a near-miracle...
  41. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster John,

    Thank you for the insightful reply.
  42. Shane_j
    Shane_j I remember the first time i played mecernies 1
    you would have to scrap me off the couch to get me to stop playing it
    mecernies 2 was an okay addition
    needed some more work but whenever EA has a finacial budget that is mostly puting its weight on Pandemic what can you do except release the darn game and hope for the best
    i still play mecernies 2 and i will be a lover for Pandemic Studios for a long time

    And to you EA mecernies was a great series and to end it with ur bull **** was your own ******* fault
    i will keep my ps3 in the back closet with both mecernies 1 and mecernies 2
    until you understand your fing fault and recontinue mecernies farewell and good redence EA
  43. Tushon
    Tushon I guess he left his spelling in the back closet too.
  44. Connor
    Connor Man, I am still pissed they closed Pandemic studios. EA got my vote for worst company in America this year because of that (I realize that is somewhat against the rules but whatever)

    Mercs 1 was amazing.
    Mercs 2 needed to be better.
    The Saboteur is one of my favourite games of all time.

    I really hope that studio gets back together one day.
  45. CB
    CB I still haven't played The Saboteur. I guess I should?
  46. primesuspect
    primesuspect

    EA stands as a disgusting corporate whore, looking for the best buck on an easy night down a dark alleyway

    Yipes!

  47. Tushon
    Tushon

    Haha, so good.

  48. Myrmidon
    Myrmidon

    I feel like prime is the new insanity wolf right now

  49. primesuspect
    primesuspect

    I can't take credit for the bompz, it was shown to me

  50. UPSLynx
    UPSLynx

    Gee, thanks Brian.

  51. primesuspect
    primesuspect

    I can't take credit for the bompz, it was shown to me

  52. BobbyDigi
    BobbyDigi

    @primesuspect said:

    I can't take credit for the bompz, it was shown to me

    Imgur

    Imgur

    -Digi

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