Split/Second studio lay-offs confirmed

UPDATE: Disney gives the nod.

Update 2: Disney has confirmed to Eurogamer a "reduction in its workforce" at Brighton-based developer Black Rock Studios.

"Disney Interactive Studios confirms a reduction of its workforce from its Brighton-based internal game development studio, Black Rock Studios. The studio will continue its work on its current project," the publisher said.

Update 1: The anonymous Black Rock source has clarified to Eurogamer that it's not 40 jobs at risk, it's 40 jobs that are safe. "Around 100 jobs are at risk," we were told.

Original story: Around 40 staff at Split/Second developer Black Rock Studio are rumoured to be facing redundancy tomorrow morning.

An anonymous source at the Brighton-based Disney Interactive Studios subsidiary told Eurogamer, "it's rumoured at Black Rock that there will be voluntary redundancies tomorrow - roughly 40, with the aim of reducing the studio to a single game team."

The source explained that around half of the studio had had nothing to do since mid-December.

"It seems Disney have been unable to provide us with a project to work on, and our concept pitches clearly haven't gone down well (despite there being many of them)."

Aborted projects included a sequel to 2008 quad-bike racer Pure and a follow-up to last year's Split/Second.

"After SS wrapped, we started work on SS2 pre-prod which was cancelled last December due to DIS's new management and their changing priorities (the push towards freemium etc) - SS2 didn't really fit in with that (despite some efforts to shoehorn it in).

"We had a concept week (everyone in the studio working on small teams) to try to come up with new ideas, but nothing really stuck. We had a freemium week sometime later with similar goals too.

"The inactive portion of the studio has been expecting redundancies for months, so this doesn't come as a surprise to anyone. It's sad that it's come to this of course, but for many people they'll be quite happy to take the money and go, as they've been sitting around doing nothing for months."

Our source did reveal that a "good proportion" of the studio was actively employed on a "promising" title. He explained that the project was "new and risky, so I imagine [Disney] don't want to risk putting two teams on it."

We've asked Disney Interactive Studios for comment and will update if it chooses to respond.

If true, this wouldn't be the first round of job cuts at Disney in recent months. Back in January, it announced a "restructuring process" with the loss of around 700 staff.

Split/Second launched on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 last May picking up an 8/10 from Eurogamer.

"Split/Second requires exactly the right combination of skill, memory and reflexes from you while maintaining a permanent high of tactile feedback, sensory assault and knife-edge excitement," wrote Oli Welsh.

"If that's Black Rock's elevator pitch for a modern arcade racer: sold."

Split/Second's U.S. launch trailer

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