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'Small Number' Of Boom Blox Devs Laid Off At EA

EA confirmed it laid off a "small number" of employees related to development of the Wii-based Boom Blox series, with the publisher calling the layoffs "routine" [UPDATE: Report says 14 laid off -- were at work on Natal games.]
Electronic Arts confirmed Wednesday it laid off an undisclosed number of employees at its EA Los Angeles location. Those affected were developers of the Wii-based Boom Blox franchise, video game blog Kotaku reports. "This is a routine event and not in any way related to EA's announced restructuring," said a company spokesperson, referring to a November initiative to lay off 1,500 workers by April this year. The company rep said the layoffs were business as usual. "Moving projects to leverage development strengths is common in global studio organizations," said the spokesperson. "In this case, a small project has been moved from EA Los Angeles, to the EA Bright Light Studio in Guildford, UK, where the Harry Potter franchise and several of the Hasbro properties are developed. A small number of employees were impacted by the decision." The rep added, "All eligible employees will receive severance and outplacement assistance. EA remains fully committed to maintaining its EALA studio which is the headquarters for the mobile division as well as for development of franchises like Medal of Honor, Command & Conquer and others." Boom Blox launched in May 2008 as part of a collaboration between EA and film director Steven Spielberg. In July 2008, EA said the first game sold 450,000, enough to warrant the sequel Boom Blox Bash Party. The company didn't respond to inquiries about what the layoffs mean for the Boom Blox franchise. [UPDATE: The long-running games website Blue's News said it spoke with Jeff Dixon, a former lead programmer at EA LA who lost his job as part of the cuts. He said that the 14-person Boom Blox team was laid off in the middle of working on a launch title for Microsoft's Project Natal. "I strongly believe in the future of Natal," he said.]

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