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Infogrames cuts back at Sheffield House

Restructuring hits jobs at Sheffield studio

A number of job losses are rumoured at Infogrames Sheffield House as part of a restructuring of certain operations at the French publisher Infogrames' Sheffield House offices have been targeted for restructuring by the multinational publisher, with rumours circulating on development forums suggesting that a number of layoffs have occurred at the studio as a result. The layoffs are expected to mostly affect a range of services which will now be outsourced to other Infogrames locations, but the number of games in development at the studio will also be reduced to two. No details on the exact numbers of job losses are available as yet, despite significant Internet rumour-mongering surrounding the news, but it is thought that tens of employees have been laid off. Infogrames is reportedly seeking to cut costs across its entire range of operations at the moment. The company is no stranger to aggressive restructuring, with changes affecting every office of the company - including London and corporate headquarters in Lyons - over the past couple of years. Jean-Marcel Nicolai, VP of European internal development studios, emphasised that these changes will result in higher quality product from the studio. According to Nicolai, "Infogrames has changed a lot in the last few years, and as a result has constantly looked at restructuring to make the most of its positions. This goes on all the time and people don't realise it - it's only when it impacts people's jobs that the outside world becomes aware." The Sheffield House studio, which formed the core part of Gremlin prior to its acquisition by Infogrames for £23 million in 1999, has had a somewhat chequered history. Many of its products, including UEFA Striker, Hogs of War and Wacky Races, have been commercial disappointments, and in January this year former Gremlin boss Ian Stewart was linked with a rumoured bid to buy back the studio. Although this never materialised, rumours of a management buy-out attempt at the studio continue to surface with surprising regularity. Related Feature - Superman screenshots (PS2)