One of Britain's longest serving and largest games developers in the UK is to cease trading.
Executives at Dizzy developer Blitz Games Studios have informed staff that as many as 80 per cent of its workforce will need to be cut. During a company-wide meeting on Wednesday morning, the teams were told that financial burdens have left the management with hard choices.
More than 150 people have been made redundant and it is unknown how many staff will remain as the business winds down.
"Existing management have made every effort to seek avenues for new contracts and external investment but have been unable to secure enough funds to sustain the business in its current form," read a company statement.
Approximately 50 staff are expected to find immediate work at a new company born from the ashes. Blitz said two of its projects are financially self-sustaining, so "senior management will be forming a new company to service these clients".
Oxford-based developer Rebellion is also looking to hire some staff.
After twenty years of business, Blitz has become a British institution in the games space. The company is known for hiring and training young academic talent, as well as providing platforms for indie games developers. The company has taken an active role in lobbying on national issues such as tax breaks and is often present at industry events.
Blitz was founded in 1990 by Philip and Andrew Oliver, two enterprising developers who broke through with their hit adventure title Dizzy. The company has built hundreds of games over the past twenty years, as well as its own technology platform.
"We have managed to weather numerous storms over the last two decades that have sadly seen the demise of many of our friends and colleagues across the industry, but the run of problems we've had to face over the last year is unlike any we've seen before. Frustrations with clients, the global economic crisis, and more than our fair share of simple bad luck have all conspired against us and we are no longer able to continue trading," said CEO Philip Oliver.
"It has been an absolute honour to lead such an extraordinary group of highly talented people who have consistently pushed boundaries and created amazing games that we've been hugely proud of. We've been humbled by the loyalty and commitment that they've all shown over the last 23 years and we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all of our staff, past and present, for their years of loyalty, their creative drive and their commitment to Blitz and to us."
[Update: Two former senior Blitz Games developers have launched a new studio nearby in Leamington Spa called Game Lab Social.
The new venture is a "vibrant co-working space for creatives" that aims to help build new businesses with on-site training, business support and find collaboration opportunities. Its co-founders Ollie Clarke and Steve Stopps were former project directors at Blitz, and say the new venture is backed by Warwick District Council.
"Leamington Spa is a hotbed of creative talent and ideas waiting come together, and with this space, we'd like to help creatives realise their vision in a supportive environment," said Stopps.
"We're saddened by the closure of Blitz Game Studios, and as a former employees, we'll do everything we can to help connect creative talent to enable them to get straight back into what they do best; making fantastic games."