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Activision may close mobile-focused UK studio Blast Furnace

Activision may close mobile-focused UK studio Blast Furnace

January 31, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

Activision's mobile-focused studio The Blast Furnace may be facing layoffs or complete closure, according to a report from MCV.

The publisher is entering into what is known in the UK as "collective consultation" with the staff of The Blast Furnace, which is based in Leeds, UK.

According to our understanding of UK employment law, this type of collective consultation is mandatory whenever an employer believes it may have to lay off 20 or more "redundant" employees within a period of 90 days.

It's noteworthy in light of the fact that the studio has put out high-profile mobile titles like Call of Duty: Strike Team and Pitfall.

A comment from an Activision representative in response to MCV's request suggests that the publisher is at least attempting to keep the staff together in the event of a closure.

"We met with The Blast Furnace this morning and are currently discussing options for their future," an Activision spokesperson reportedly told MCV. "The Blast Furnace is a very talented studio and has been a great partner to Activision. Our preference would be to keep the talented group of employees at The Blast Furnace together and develop a plan that would enable them to remain as a team."

Last time we checked in with the studio was 2012, when Activision hired former Rockstar Leeds president Gordon Hall to head up The Blast Furnace and serve as Activision's chief creative officer across all mobile products.

Update: When reached for comment, an Activision representative confirmed that Gordon Hall was still working at The Blast Furnace and issued the following statement regarding the studio's future:

"Like any successful business, Activision Publishing continuously works to evolve its business based on our strategic plans and market opportunities. As we focus on our 2014 operating plan, we are aligning our resources against our anticipated business requirements. As part of this review, we have started a consultation at Blast Furnace based in Leeds in the UK. Blast Furnace is a very talented studio and has been a great partner to Activision. As part of this consultation exercise we are exploring all our options regarding the studio."

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