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Report: Australia's Krome Studios In Trouble, Shedding Further Staff

Report: Australia's Krome Studios In Trouble, Shedding Further Staff

October 15, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

October 15, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
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More: Console/PC

Long-standing economic troubles at Krome Studios in Australia doesn't seem to be improving. It seems the company, once Australia's largest independent developer with 400 staff at its peak, is laying off more staff and may close its doors entirely, according to reports from the region.

Website Tsumea, which focuses on the game developer community in Australia and New Zealand, cites numerous local sources to report the unfortunate tidings.

It first learned of "drastic" job cuts hitting the studio's remaining Melbourne and Brisbane studios (Krome's Adelaide location was put "on notice" in August and later closed), and now claims that all remaining staff are being let go and the studios shuttered on Monday.

Krome recently developed Xbox Live Arcade's Game Room and the Wii, PSP and PS2 versions of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Trouble first hit the studio as the PSP version of Force Unleashed II was canceled by LucasArts, although it was never officially announced that Krome was developing the title.

According to Tsumea's reports the studio does have at least one unannounced project, on which it says that some staff will be re-hired as contractors to finish up remaining work.

Reports of trouble at the company started surfacing beginning in November 2009, when, citing the poor global economy, the company eliminated an undisclosed number of jobs. Another round, also affecting "an unspecified number of positions."

Next came news of the impending Adelaide closure; the studio said in a statement at the time that it hoped to be able to retain some of that staff "pending the outcome of upcoming projects", and claiming that staffing decisions at Adelaide didn't affect work on its other unannounced titles.

The studio was founded in Brisbane in 1999. In addition to its work with LucasArts and its development of the Game Room virtual arcade for the Xbox 360 platform, it's also known for Ty the Tasmanian Tiger.

Krome has also contributed work to major licenses including Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen and Viva Pinata: Party Animals, and most recently released original downloadable title Blade Kitten.

The closure of the Melbourne office, if confirmed, will be further notable because it ends the continuous operation of the studio formerly known as Melbourne House and Beam Software. Founded in 1980, it is Australia's longest running game development studio.

Gamasutra has reached out to Krome for official comment and will update with any further information.

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