Recently jobless, four ex-employees of formerly Electronic Arts-owned studio Pandemic found they had some extra time on their hands. So they began making an iPhone and iPod Touch game that not-so-subtly pokes fun at their current job situation, and their former boss.
Downsized Games went live on March 10 this year after EA closed down Pandemic
in 2009. The closure happened a few years after the megapublisher acquired the Mercenaries studio
The startup's first game is the futuristic BulleTrain
, which is set in a universe ruled by "giant mega corporations" that, instead of spacecraft, use bullet trains to ship goods. "This makes the Bullet-railroad barons, lead by the dastardly JR, the richest and most powerful people in the galaxy," reads Downsized's website
in a clear reference to EA CEO John Riccitiello.
If "JR" didn't make the EA reference clear enough, the website further explains the premise: "You used to run a small shipping company on your home planet of Glendon-19 [Pandemic was on Glendon Ave. in L.A.] but a hostile takeover by Elaborate Acquisitions [EA, of course], your local B-rail corporation, has left you out on the streets."
Downsized is made up of Manny Vega (concept art), Andrew Mournian (lead modeler), Zach Haefner (UI) and Ariel Tal (game programmer).
A Monday entry on the website read, "Yes we were all laid off by EA. Yes it sucked. Yes it got us together and got the creative juices flowing. Yes we are having a lot of fun poking fun and making a FREAKIN' VIDEO GAME!"
The website also said, "We are hard at work ironing out the kinks, and making the game even more fun. It's a simple concept really, but I'm surprised how much goes into making even the simplest of games." No release date has been confirmed for BulleTrain