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Zynga shuts down Baltimore studio, disbands  Civ  dream team
Zynga shuts down Baltimore studio, disbands Civ dream team
February 25, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi

The studio that Zynga staffed with veterans of the Civilization franchise is no more.

The company confirmed today that as part of its plan to reduce spending this year, it has shut down its Baltimore studio (Zynga East), in a move that affects "approximately 1 percent" of its workforce.

It's unknown how many people that amounts to exactly, though Baltimore Magazine said the studio housed about 35 people when it named it one of the best places to work in 2011.

Zynga opened the studio in 2009 by hiring former Firaxis designer Brian Reynolds (Civilization II, Alpha Centauri). The studio was staffed with other Firaxis veterans, including artist Dorian Newcomb and design director Soren Johnson.

Zynga's Baltimore studio is behind CityVille 2, a game that was shut down as part of a mass culling of underperforming titles at the conclusion of Zynga's first year as a publicly traded company. The studio was also at work on another, unannounced title.

Reynolds, who was elevated to Zynga's chief game designer, had left the studio by this point. Reynolds is considering launching a mobile startup in the Baltimore area, having expressed that he'd like to get back into designing his own games, rather than overseeing several across a large company.

Additional changes to Zynga today include the closures of its McKinney and downtown Austin offices, though those teams are being relocated to its Dallas and North Austin offices. The company is similarly consolidating its New York offices.

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Todd Boyd
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Well, now it's going to win #1 in "Most Non-existent Places to Work in 2013"!

Jesse Tucker
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Man, Baltimore has been having a tough time with closures lately! I hope as many people as possible land on their feet with this.

Ramin Shokrizade
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Maybe when consumers rejected the "depth of play" in Zynga's Indiana Jones Adventure game, Zynga decided that deep games don't sell on Facebook. I'd like to think that it is just bad games that don't sell on Facebook. I'm a big fan of the Civ franchise, so hopefully this crew will find a better home soon.

Carlo Delallana
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Civ on facebook was a flop as well so i think the jury is still out on deep game son FB. The game was good but the play pattern was not compatible with FB and the "mental state" that people are in when they interact with the platform.

Maybe Facebook is not the appropriate vehicle for this kind of interaction. This is likely the reason behind Kabam's mobile push. Not saying that Kabam games = the majesty of a Civ title from Firaxis but mobile seems to be a great fit for deep session-based games.