Pandemic Making Office Space (God, Sorry)

By John Walker on November 23rd, 2009 at 8:44 pm.

Sniff, sorry guys.

We’ve not mentioned the passing of Pandemic. The studio will breathe their last with The Saboteur, due to ship in a couple of weeks. They were bought by EA two years ago in a two-for-one offer with BioWare for a mere $860m. It’s sad to see the creators of Full Spectrum Warrior, Battlefront, Mercenaries and Destroy All Humans closing their doors. Some of the company have responded in the only proper way, by creating an Office Space tribute, which you can see below.

It’s a shame. I met the Pandemic team when they were making the sequel to Full Spectrum Warrior, and while it was once again inevitably a high-70s game, the team behind it were a truly lovely bunch. I was out seeing that game as a representative of the Edge-brain (all hail its name), and enjoyed the peculiar privileges their password-like title provides. “Oh, you’re with Edge, come with me…” Seriously, the other lame-o console and PC mags were left in the regular studio area for pigling plebs, while I was swept into a private office to be proffered with exclusive jewel-encrusted interviews and meats of the like you’ve never dreamed. Apart from the jewels and meat bit. I kept it as quiet as possible that I was also out there for GamesMaster, in case this tarnished me and I was cast out into the rest of the studio like the scum I secretly am. And this, this story about me, is my obituary to Pandemic apparently. They are fine men, and very pleasant company, and I was pleased to hear somewhere that Randy Pitchford has encouraged them all to apply for jobs at Gearbox.

RIP Pandemic. Here’s their fine goodbye:

Video stolen from Mr Jonty’s Twitter.

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70 Comments »

  1. Flobulon says:

    I liked Destroy All Humans :’(

  2. Heliosicle says:

    i really enjoyed the original mercenaries, at the time i had a feeble family computer and a ps2 with a few games and i played the death out of it. full spectrum warrior was really good too

    mercs 2 was good but behind the times, if it had come a year earlier with a few less bugs it would’ve been awesome.

    :(

  3. Neosubu says:

    +1 for making a cool parody
    -1 for probably giving themselves cancer from all that toner dust.

  4. Gotem says:

    On other news, some game developers with plastic pieces in the eye are looking for a job

  5. Senethro says:

    I hope the censor strips were covering safety visors!

  6. Railick says:

    I loved Destroy all Humans mainly because they used the guy who does the voice for Invader Zim for one of the alien over lord dudes

  7. Tei says:

    Making games is this hard, even if you make good games, everything can go wrong :-/

  8. Nick says:

    heh, I guess they took the toner out for Office Space, never actually occured to me at the time.

  9. Oak says:

    Well, that stuff gets pretty expensive.

  10. toro says:

    So nobody cares :D

    I only played BattleZone 2. A good game.

    • Gap Gen says:

      It was a good game. I was part of the “orange is good” camp on the whole BZ/BZ2 divide, too.

  11. Reverend Speed says:

    Full Spectrum Warrior (the first, not that criminal piece of trash sequel) has never left my hard drive.

    RIP Pandemic. It just never seemed to go quite right for you, did it?

  12. Fumarole says:

    Cathartic. Though perhaps they should have taken the toner cartridge out first.

  13. Jacques says:

    I recognise the song, but I can’t remember the name, who is it!?

    • Sauron says:

      It’s “Still” by the Geto Boys. Most famous for being played over the same scene in Office Space.

  14. Guinness says:

    As his first major act as EA CEO, John Riccitiello buys the venture capital firm he founded for 860 million dollars — acquiring Pandemic and Bioware. Two years later Pandemic is liquidated meaning that it’s financially worthless. Granted, the Pandemic half of the sale was the weaker link, but no matter how you look at it this was a tremendous waste of money for everybody but the man himself.

    He just slashed EA’s release schedule, another thousand jobs, and cheerfully announced a new 200 million dollar acquisition. Why are they still giving this guy money?

    • SirKicksalot says:

      Because he’s the best thing that happened to EA since Road Rash.

    • Gorgeras says:

      Actually it’s the first thing he did the SECOND time he was EA CEO.

      It was under his first stewardship that EA became the evil empire. He destroyed it’s reputation and now he can’t decide if he’s going back to his old ways or not.

      Frame it another way: he’s the worst thing to happen to EA since the first time he happened to EA.

    • groovychainsaw says:

      Also, they’re pushing more ‘original’ IP (more than they used to) and are increasingly losing money. Meaning that the old sequel-machine EA actually looks like a more viable business model for games than fancy new-IP EA (which, when you look at activision’s bajillions, appears to be true). Bit of a worry for those of use who would like some evolution/maturity(?) in gaming….

    • Gorgeras says:

      EA is like Mr Burns. He’s evil and even when he’s trying to be good; he’s still evil. That sums up EA.

      It’s strange because EA has actually got much better, just as Ubisoft, Activision and everyone else have become worse. EA is getting better, but with minor hiccups such as the CEO pushing through decisions which are a blatant conflict of interest on his part.

      Again I can not give EA any credit for the new IPs; how they could not see that they were thwarting their own attempts to innovate with the ridiculous DRM they pushed is something no one has been able to explain.

      EA did not lose money on new ideas; they lost money because they took one step forward and two steps back.

  15. newt says:

    Well, at least they left with a very fine & memorable game imho. I wonder how will Saboteur fare against shinier competition (AC 2) and understandable prejudice (WW2 game? meh). RIP, Pandemic.

  16. Vinraith says:

    I suppose this means there’ll be no (or very little) post-release support for the Saboteur, which is a real shame. Mercenaries (the first one) stands amongst my favorite console games of all time. That the company that made it should go under, while the Grand Theft Auto series and its clones march ever onward, just depresses the hell out of me.

    • Oak says:

      Hey now. I loved Mercenaries too, but the Grand Theft Auto games have been consistently great since the first outing, despite their growing insistence on pedestrian things like trying to tell a story.

    • Vinraith says:

      I’ve never liked them. The arcadiness and the setting just don’t gel for me at all. I’m not saying they’re bad games, but Mercenaries was vastly superior for me personally. I had hoped more open world action games might follow in that mold, rather than GTA’s rather arcadey model.

  17. Shnyker says:

    RIP Pandemic, one of the great devs out there. May your lungs forever be clingy from toner dust in memory of this loss.

  18. Optimaximal says:

    Firstly, any company still willingly using the money sinks that were HP LaserJet 4100′s deserve to go bust.

    Secondly, luls at the guy trying to cause damage with the baseball bat – I think the sledge won that round.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Firstly, any company still willingly using the money sinks that were HP LaserJet 4100’s deserve to go bust.

      You realize that clip is from a 10 year old movie, right?

    • John Walker says:

      “Firstly, any company still willingly using the money sinks that were HP LaserJet 4100’s deserve to go bust.”

      That’s the most specifically insane comment I’ve ever read on RPS. Congrats!

    • Phil H says:

      Firstly, any company still willingly using the money sinks that were HP LaserJet 4100’s deserve to go bust.

      You realize that clip is from a 10 year old movie, right?
      You realize that this was a new video done by the former employees parodying a 10 year old movie and smashing a different piece of gear, right?

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      John has now challenged all of the RPS commenters.

  19. Vandell says:

    Not a huge loss.

  20. Spoon says:

    Silly game devs. Sledgehammer + flip flops is never a good idea.

  21. absentblue says:

    I watched this because they’re smashing a printer, the same model I use, while wearing the same shoes I do! Or at least the guy in the freeze-frame preview is.

  22. jameskond says:

    I liked the first Mercenaries =(

    The other one was shitty as hell =(

  23. EBass says:

    Never nice to see a dev go under the waves, but aside from Battlezone 2 I can’t put any of their games down as great games. Speaking of which, if Battlezone 2 wasn’t by the same devs who the hell made Battlezone 1?

  24. Jason Moyer says:

    I never though of Pandemic as a great studio, yet I sank a ton of time into Battlezone 2 and the Battlefront/Mercenaries/Full Spectrum games (been meaning to get DOH for the xbox for a long time, and haven’t gotten around to it yet). The Saboteur looks like it could be a very good game as well. Sad to see them go.

  25. WilPal says:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8373794.stm

    Hats off to you Mr Walker!
    You showed them haha.

  26. Lars BR says:

    The first FSW was a masterful puzzle game disguised as a shooter. Loved it (though I played the xbox version – can’t remember why).

    Also, Randy Pitchford’s got some balls on him.

  27. Driadan says:

    So, they broke the laser printer to free the fourth guy? Poor man, trapped inside a laser printer

    P.S.: I hope they get a nice new job

  28. Bob says:

    In slightly related news:

    Streamline Studios closed today. They’re probably not as well known as Pandemic, but they are responsible for a lot of content for the Gears Of War games, as well as the entertaining Half-Life-mod-became-game Gunman Chronicles.

  29. Flappybat says:

    Mercenaries 2 was so badly done, I’ve not really felt as ripped off for a game before. The bugs were insane and even looking past that there were gameplay flaws that would have felt old five years ago.

  30. Wooly says:

    If EA does this to Bioware, I will lose it.

  31. Kieron Gillen says:

    I loved Mercenaries 2 and I don’t care.

    KG

  32. Orange says:

    Loved the Office Space tribute.

  33. Psychopomp says:

    Well, at least no ones mourning “the loss of another great studio,” like Pandemic was Origin or Bullfrog.

  34. Frumples says:

    Pandemic used to have an studio near my workplace in Brisbane, Australia, and I used to love walking past their building every day. The street I work on is kinda drab, but Pandemic’s office front was super-bright yellow, with a huge gas mask down one side. Sad to see them go!

    • Ceebux says:

      Agreed :( It always made me a little happier when I drove past.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Pandemic AUS were the culprits behind LOTR: Conquest – had I paid for it (review copy – in b4 stoning), I’d have murdered someone!

  35. Derek K. says:

    Dude, Star Wars Battlefront was awesome. I spent a ton of hours playing that with my family. It was in the middle of the great SW game renaissance, man!

  36. Swingydoodoo says:

    Thought they were going off to join Red Faction when I saw them walking away with hammers and crowbars.

    Damn man, I was hoping for a Battlefront 3!

  37. Gwog says:

    I’m sad for these guys, even though I never played any of their games. Losing a job must suck.

    I’m very curious how this Office Space tribute video relates to their studio being closed down. Like, huh?

  38. Lobotomist says:

    Being bought by EA is like signing a slow death to your studio.

    Remember also it was Bioware/Pandemic. Nobody talks about that …

    Its a chopping axe above Biowares head too. One slip and chop !

    • Optimaximal says:

      Pandemic was always just collateral from the Bioware purchase – EA didn’t want them, but had to buy them if they wanted the most successful Western RPG developer.

      Bioware aren’t going anywhere – Dragon Age is doing well for a new IP and TOR will likely be a massive cash cow.

  39. MadMatty says:

    Damn computer nerds are puny.
    Not *one* good whack at it.
    You have to funnel your rage and frustration into the strike- and let loose with your ANGA. lol

  40. Shadowcat says:

    Shame on you RPS for failing to mention Battlezone! I’m glad that at least a few of the comments rectified that.

    Note to EBass and Psychopomp: Activision did indeed make the first of the modern Battlezone games; however if you look at the credits you’ll find a good 25 names in common between that Activision team and the Pandemic team who made the sequel. Pandemic was formed out of Activision.

  41. Poita says:

    Well I hope that a bunch of them form a new studio and get to work on Battlezone 3.

    I’m not into RTS games much but BZ and BZ2 are still two of the best games i’ve every played. You want tower defense? BZ1 and 2 were Tower Defense on steroids with moving towers that you could leap into and aim yourself basically. Awesome.

  42. phil says:

    Goddamn it, no more Destroy all Humans games, well I still have the third game to play through and perhaps ‘Big Willy Unleashed’ but I understand they are meant to be just awful.

    Still, Pandemic Games, they’re anally probing the angels now.

  43. Schmung says:

    Mercs 2 was great :(

    Also – Laserjets, obviously tougher than Office Space would lead you to believe.

  44. reindall says:

    I understand they had to vent their emotions, but feathers are just too cruel.

  45. Psychopomp says:

    Just so everyone knows, you can grab Full Spectrum Warrior for free off fileplanet

  46. AC says:

    BF3 was being made by FRD and is now in the hands of Rebellion. Nothing to do with Pandemic!

  47. sana says:

    Guess I’m the only one who remembers them for Dark Reign 2?

  48. The Unbelievable Guy says:

    Destroy All Humans and Mercenaries were two of my favourites. I’m still looking forwards to the Saboteur, despite the shadow of tragedy cast over it.

  49. SheffieldSteel says:

    /pours out a forty

    :(

  50. Joe The Wizard says:

    I thought the exact same thing. And that he has probably never used a sledge for anything in his life the way he awkwardly maintains both hand positions as he drives it.