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Electronic Arts shutting down Pandemic Studios in Westwood

November 17, 2009 |  1:18 pm

The_saboteur_00019__w._wm_ Electronic Arts' ongoing cutbacks are hitting L.A. hard, as the struggling video game publisher has decided to shutter its Westwood-based developer, Pandemic Studios.

An EA spokesperson said that a "core team" from Pandemic will be integrated into the publisher's other Los Angeles studio, located in Playa Vista, and will continue working under the Pandemic brand name.

EA acquired Pandemic, along with sibling development studio Bioware, in 2007 for a then-record-setting $860 million. Its decision to close Pandemic just two years later is a stark demonstration of the publisher's financial difficulties, which led it last week to announce a cut of 1,500 jobs, 16% of its workforce, after reporting a net loss of $391 million last quarter and a 13.5% drop in revenue.

Pandemic employed approximately 200 people in Westwood, the majority of whom will lose their jobs. In an internal memo posted on the news blog Kotaku, Nick Earl, senior vice president of the EA Games label, said Pandemic is being shuttered to "improve our cost structure, ensure quality and build schedule integrity for this studio."

Pandemic's co-founders and top executives Andrew Goldman and Josh Resnick are leaving as part of the shift.

Next month, EA will release the last game developed by Pandemic in Westwood, a World War II action thriller called "The Saboteur." Other games it has made that may be see sequels made by the team moving to Playa Vista include the over-the-top action series "Mercenaries" and "Destroy All Humans," a comedy about an alien visitor to Earth.

Update (7 PM): For more details, see the story in tomorrow's Times.

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: A scene from Pandemic's upcoming game "The Saboteur." Credit: Electronic Arts and Pandemic Studios.