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Pandemic Studios, LLC

Overview

Pandemic Studios, LLC was a game development studio based in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1998 with an equity investment by Activision and lasted more than ten years, until the closure in 2009. It was helmed by Josh Resnick (President) and Andrew Goldman (CEO) who both worked at Activision previously. The studio's first titles, Battlezone II: Combat Commander (1999) and Dark Reign 2 were both sequels to Activision games.

In 2000 Andrew Payne and Adam Iarossi left the Los Angeles studio to start the satellite studio Pandemic Studio Pty. Ltd. in the Brisbane suburb of Fortitude Valley (Australia). The studio was also referred to Pandemic Brisbane or Pandemic Australia. The Australian 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).

The US company continued to work for a large number of publishers, such as Midway, THQ, Electronic Arts and LucasArts. In 2003 Midway terminated Pandemic's contract, which led the studio to sue the publishing company. In the same year, the company moved from its Santa Monica location to Westwood. During those years the studio worked on Triple Play 2002 for EA (2002), Star Wars: The Clone Wars for LucasArts (2002), Full Spectrum Warrior as a new franchise for THQ (2004), Star Wars: Battlefront (2004) and Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005) for LucasArts (2004), and Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction as another new franchise for LucasArts (2005). In 2006 Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers was released.

In November 2005 the company formed an alliance with with BioWare Corporation, backed financially by Elevation Partners. 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.

In October 2006 it was announced a second development team at the Australian branch had been formed, which led to the creation of several Destroy All Humans! titles where the US studio partially contributed to the first title.

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. Two more games were created the next years: Mercenaries 2: World in Flames as a second title in the Mercenaries series (2008 - but now for EA) and The Lord of the Rings: Conquest (2009).

Meanwhile, a team at the Australian studio got into trouble working on a movie adaptation of The Dark Knight and was eventually let go. Following a major restructuring by Electronic Arts, the Australian studio was set "free" and a small team was left with the rights to the open world game tentatively called The Next Big Thing, but working independently and no longer as a part of Pandemic or EA, which means the Australian studio was officially closed.

The US studio continued to work on the free-roaming World War II title The Saboteur. Following an announcement by Electronic Arts in November 2009 that it would cut 1,500 jobs at its different development outfits, Pandemic Studios was hit hard and on 18th November it was confirmed the studio would be closed down, following the completion of development on The Saboteur and its release at the end of 2009. EA said the Pandemic brand and franchises would live on and a core IP team was folded into Electronic Arts Los Angeles (now Danger Close). The rest of the team was let go, including its top executives: former studio CEO Andrew Goldman, former studios president Josh Resnick and vice president of product development Greg Borrud.

At the end of November a new title by the trimmed-down Pandemic team was announced: Mercs Inc, a new entry in the Mercenaries series. Development will be done at the new location of Playa Vista, as a part of EA Los Angeles.

Trivia

The company website was formerly listed at www.pandemicstudios.com

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