Blitz Games were the fire extinguishers of the UK games industry: you might not have noticed them recently, but it was reassuring to know they were still there. Despite a last ditch strain to find new contracts and investors, however, the company’s management has conceded defeat and let go about 125 staff.
“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,” wrote CEO Philip Oliver, who you’ll remember from his Dizzy Returns Kickstarter pitch.
“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.”
It’s not all bad – just mostly. Approximately 50 of Blitz’s 175 employees will be offered work at a new outfit built to prop up the company’s two “self-sustaining” projects, which are currently unnamed. What’s more, management have reached out to fellow UK development mainstays Rebellion to find homes to some of the remainder – and Forza Horizon studio Playground Games have already declared their interest via Twitter.
“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,” Oliver went on. “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.”
Blitz’s gameography is a long list dominated by licensed efforts and a recent focus on Kinect development. Oliver tells an unfortunate tale of publishers unwilling to commit, and unwilling to say as much to Blitz’s management. The business has been fed with the Oliver brothers’ personal savings for “some time”, but those coffers are now spent.
“We wish the very best of luck to all the staff who are sadly leaving us today and thank them again for their drive, creativity and enthusiasm,” Oliver concluded. “They, like us, are passionate about games, and we call on the rest of the industry to capture their passion and continue the careers of some of the most talented young creatives in the country.”
It’s a terrible shame to see one of the UK’s oldest oaks finally felled. Best of luck to those in search of a new nest – and to those who’ll see this setback as the opportunity it is to break indie. We look forward to the fruits of their future work.