What Happened To Pandemic? Former President Explains

Two years and one startup later, the president and co-founder of the video game studio that brought us Mercenaries and Full Spectrum Warrior offers his take on its demise.
Former Pandemic president and co-founder Josh Resnick has been quiet on the subject of games since the EA-owned studio's 2009 closure, but two years and another startup later, he's reflecting on the end in the same tone as someone talking about an old love they hadn't thought about in years. As part of a larger Gamasutra interview to be published at a later date, Resnick broke his silence and gave us his take on why the studio that brought us Full Spectrum Warrior, Mercenaries and The Saboteur was forced into closure, describing a perfect storm of factors that all culminated in what many outsiders assumed: the studio was stretching itself too thin. "We were growing our teams and taking on ever-bigger challenges," Resnick says. "I mean, almost every project that Pandemic was working on at the time was a huge, unwieldy, massive world game. And they're just really expensive, and really challenging from a technology standpoint." The studio left behind an unfinished body of work that included a third Mercenaries game, as well as a title based on 2008's superhero film The Dark Knight, a game tie-in that was suspiciously absent from store shelves despite the movie's success. "There were some things that we didn't get to see through to completion, unfortunately," he says. "We were working on some really really amazing stuff with great teams, but I don't think all of those necessarily fit or aligned with where EA needed to go, and where the industry was going." While Resnick admits that many of the factors that led to the studio's closure could be blamed on the company's growing pains, there were also factors beyond its control. "Do I agree with the decision, in terms of shutting down the studio? Absolutely not," he says. "There was some incredible talent at that studio, and EA is not getting the benefit of that talent anymore. I think that's a shame." On Thursday Resnick's new start-up, nProgress, released a smartphone app called ntro (pronounced "intro"). The app is designed to help introduce users to people standing nearby by mapping common backgrounds and interests together. The app is backed by a $1.7 million round in angel funding. Roughly half of nProgress' staff is ex-Pandemic, including The Saboteur lead Trey Watkins, though the app itself is not a game. Gamasutra will have more on Resnick's new venture, as well as additional insight on the death of Pandemic, in an upcoming interview.

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