Epic Games has closed its recently opened subsidiary Impossible Studios. Staffed by the team that used to make up Big Huge Games before its parent company 38 Studios declared bankruptcy in 2012, Impossible Studios was hard at work on Infinity Blade: Dungeons after Epic officially opened the development house in August.
“We’re closing Impossible Studios. When former members of Big Huge Games approached Epic last year, we saw the opportunity to help a great group of people while putting them to work on a project that needed a team,” reads a statement from Epic Games’s Tim Sweeney, “It was a bold initiative and the Impossible folks made a gallant effort, but ultimately it wasn’t working out for Epic.”
“This means that Infinity Blade: Dungeons is now on hold as we figure out the future of the project.”
Epic already delayed Infinity Blade: Dungeons, a dungeon-crawling sequel to its best-selling iOS series, to 2013 in October. At the time, Epic PR representative Wes Philips said that the delay was due to Impossible Studios adding so much new content to the game. “Ever since the talented team at Impossible Studios got their hands on Infinity Blade: Dungeons, they’ve been busy adding their great ideas to the game,” said Philips. Based on Sweeney’s comments, it appears that Impossible was having more trouble finishing the game than Epic first let on.
The employees won’t be unceremoniously dropped from the company though. “In addition to providing Impossible Studios employees with 3 months of severance pay, we’ll be giving the team the opportunity to form a new company with the Impossible Studios name and the awesome Impossibear logo,” said Sweeney.
The past twelve months have been brutal for video game industry professionals. Huge companies like Sony have had to shutter prolific studios like Sony Liverpool. Publishers like THQ have imploded, its various game series and studios auctioned off to the highest bidders, while others like Vigil Games (Darksiders) had to be closed entirely. One of the biggest fiascos was the dissolution of Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios. The mismanaged studio crumbled under a mountain of unpaid debts, and left its subsidiary Big Huge Games, creator of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, without a penny to its name. By the start of E3 2012 though, Epic had publicly stated that it planned to save Big Huge Games and its staff. It’s sad that one of the brighter stories in the game industry has ended on such a dour note.