Hey guys! Today is some sad news that I’d like to talk about.
If you haven’t heard the news, Blitz Games Studios is going to close down after 23 years. In a statement from the Oliver Twins (the founders Phillip and Andrew Oliver): “Frustrations with clients, the global economic crisis, and more than our fair share of simple bad luck have all conspired against us and we are no longer able to continue trading”. While a games studio closing down is generally saddening, what makes this so upsetting to me is that while I’ve never worked there, it feels like a personal loss for me.
Blitz Games Studios is based in Leamington Spa, a small town near Coventry that aside from some small historical events, is my hometown where I was born and raised. So growing up, I knew of two big companies locally, Warwick based Codemasters and town based Blitz Games. Even before I decided I wanted to make games, I tried to find as much information from them, and my parents would save newspaper articles about Blitz Games and their founders, the Oliver Twins, and when I decided to get into games development and made this blog, I didn’t just visit their offices once, but twice through their open days. It was great to go there and meet the staff their, check out their work including some of their recent projects, not just games but simulations for training in military and health through their work at TruSim, and their game development tools known as BlitzTech, which have been used in a variety of games both in and outside of Blitz Games (like Dead to Rights: Retribution and House of the Dead: Overkill). I was even hoping to apply there after I graduated from University, and if I didn’t get a job offer from a large software company, I would have eagerly applied for an industrial placement there.
While their work was mostly on licensed titles, they were really well made games, and most of their original stuff were brilliant! I remember playing Pac-Man World and a demo of one of their Spongebob games back in the days, I enjoyed Dead to Rights: Retribution and I remember Fuzion Frenzy being featured a lot on a CiTV show called LANJam, also knowing the founders made games such as the Dizzy Series also made the company feel so much cooler in my eyes.
Fortunately, despite 125 layoffs as a result from the announcement, several companies have already stepped in to offer positions to those staff members, in particular the Oxford based Rebellion is in talks with Blitz to hiring some of their staff. Not to mention that even with one less company, there are still quite a good number of games companies, big and small, in and around Leamington, not to mention that the Oliver Twins intend to open a new company soon, so hopefully we will hear some more stuff!