Rumors were circulating about this yesterday, and I hoped it wasn’t going to be true but it has been officially announced today that Disney has closed down Junction Point Studios.
Both video games helped to re-launch public awareness of the Oswald The Lucky Rabbit character. Unfortunately, the first game was only available on the Wii console, severely limiting potential players to be locked into a specific gaming platform. While the second game is available on all major consoles and PC, slow sales on the sequel probably factored into Disney’s decision to close the studio.
Disney released the following statement about the closure:
It was with much sadness that we informed our teams today of changes to our Games organization, which include the closure of Junction Point Studios. These changes are part of our ongoing effort to address the fast-evolving gaming platforms and marketplace and to align resources against our key priorities. We’re extremely grateful to Warren Spector and the Junction Point team for their creative contributions to Disney with Disney Epic Mickey and Disney Epic Mickey 2.
This isn’t the first time over the last few years that Disney’s made cuts to a video game studio that it owns. UK studio Black Rock suffered from major staffing cuts in May of 2011. The previous year, Propaganda studios was closed after allowing a reduced workforce to finish “TRON: Evolution” and cancelling “Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned”. It seems that Disney’s been making a push away from console-based gaming and has actively been steering towards mobile gaming (iPhone, iPad and Android) with popular games like “Where’s My Water” and even has games on social networking sites such as Marvel: Avengers Alliance on Facebook.
I’m glad that Spector did what he did to bring us the Epic Mickey games and wish him success in whatever it is he decides to do now.