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Pandemic Studio Pty. Ltd.

Overview

Pandemic Studio Pty. Ltd. was the Australian satellite development studio of the US-based company Pandemic Studios, LLC. It was established in 2000 by Andrew Payne and Adam Iarossi who left the Los Angeles studio to the branch in the Brisbane suburb of Fortitude Valley. The studio was also referred to Pandemic Brisbane or Pandemic Australia.

The team's first title was Army Men RTS (2002). Later, the division would work on the Destroy All Humans! franchise with the titles Destroy All Humans! (2005) and Destroy All Humans! 2 (2006).

In November 2005 Pandemic as a whole formed an alliance with with BioWare Corporation, backed financially by Elevation Partners. This also affected the Australian studio. Through the operation a holding company called VG Holding Corp was created. BioWare's two co-founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, and Pandemic's two co-founders Andrew Goldman and Josh Resnick, became shareholders and senior executives. John Riccitiello from Elevation became the company's CEO.

On 11th October 2007 it was announced VG Holding Corp, including both BioWare and Pandemic, would be acquired by Electronic Arts, effective January 2008. On 7th January 2008 the company officially became a part of the EA Games label.

THQ asked for a third Destroy All Humans! game in late 2006, but the Australian studio declined, preferring to work on new IP. On 23rd October 2006 it was announced a second development team at the Australian studio was formed. The Alpha team began working on an open world Wii game tentatively called The Next Big Thing while the Bravo team pitched a number of concepts to the LA office. These were all rejected in favour of game similar to Destroy All Humans!, but playing as the son of Satan and collecting souls. With enthusiasm low for such similar game design, it was eventually canned.

EA however had the rights for the Batman IP for another 18 months and the Bravo team started work on a game. After several months they were informed the game would need to be tied to the then upcoming The Dark Knight movie instead of the general franchise, meaning much work had to be scrapped. It was turned into an open world game, similar to the US studio's Mercenaries series, but the Australian team had no experience with such designs and the engine of The Saboteur they used, a then upcoming game of the US studio, was eventually deemed unfit for such large worlds. The enhancements and modifications they had to make put such pressure on the hardware it brought the dev kits to their knees. The team eventually grew to 130 people to get it done, but there was not enough time to meet the movie's release date.

In September 2008 the game needed to go Alpha but was in such an unpolished state management decided to can the project entirely. Naturally the team size was reduced, but by December Electronic Arts announced another major restructuring making the Australian team the main candidate. The Bravo team disappeared and the Australian studio was set "free", leaving the Alpha team independent, but with the rights to the Wii game they were working on. As such, Pandemic Studio Pty. Ltd. as the Australian division of Pandemic Studios, LLC does not exist anymore.

Lead Designer Morgan Jaffit went on to found Defiant Development in 2010.

Trivia

Contact information (January 2009)

Pandemic Studio Pty. Ltd.
Centro 2
15 James St
Fortitude Valley, QLD
Australia 4006
Phone: +617.3252.3381
Fax: +617.3252.5716

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