Epic Mickey studio in trouble?

[UPDATE] Sources say Junction Point staffers have been on paid leave for over one month with layoff news expected today; studio closed entirely.

[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, Disney confirmed the closure of Junction Point Studios.

The original story follows below.

Epic Mickey studio Junction Point may be in trouble. Multiple sources have confirmed to Kotaku that employees at the Austin, Texas-based studio have been on paid leave for more than a month now, with layoff news expected to be announced today.

Junction Point owner Disney has not yet commented on the rumor.

The news was sparked when Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts' studio Roberts Space Industries tweeted that Junction Point would be shut down entirely. The tweet has since been removed, with the company saying it has "no inside info on their status."

Industry veteran George Broussard also commented on the matter, saying, "The Junction Point rumors have been circulating a while. Warning signs when you give employees two months off after shipping."

Junction Point shipped Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two in November. The game was not a critical or commercial success for Disney, recording mediocre review scores and reportedly selling 270,000 copies in the United States by the end of 2012.

The Austin, Texas, development scene has been in the spotlight of late. After finding no bidder in THQ's bankruptcy auction last week, Vigil Games was dissolved. Thirty-five of the Darksiders studio's employees, including cofounder David Adams, are now working at Crytek USA Corp. in Austin, Texas, which opened yesterday.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

25 comments
mattcake
mattcake

And again we could all see the game would be average at best since it was announced, so why did they expect it to sell well? Is it really that hard to find one single damn person to play the game before release and say what's blindingly obviously wrong with it? I think I'll setup a gaming consultancy company - send us your games and we will tell you where they suckso you can fix it before release, as it's obviously too hard to do when you're that close to it :)

brxricano
brxricano

That cow looks like its waiting for some Mickey squirtage....pshh id leave too if i had to see that.

soulless4now
soulless4now

Always a shame when so many people lose their jobs. 

00J
00J

Really obvious one here. Funny how game companies tend to destroy themselves. I can't stand Mikey Mouse in anything but a Disney World Parade or float... 

I remember the interview with Warren Spector touting "Epic Mikey" as the direction games should go, stating as much that games are too violent and we should embrace Epic Mikey... 

Well, gamers have spoken and real money is going to be had from real gamers.  There is a market for every type of game, just don't bet the farm on a game that 5 year olds are supposed to be able to play. 

I really think it's quite interesting how game companies continue to self destruct when the people that buy their games constantly tell them what they want through sales figures and game reviews... 



Konuvis
Konuvis

Austin is going to get flooded. All the good guys are dropping like flies! Psygnosis, Vigil, Junction Point...

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

What about Warren Spector? Where does he go?

Can we please have a new Deus Ex? Or something along those lines?

Deadly_Nemesis
Deadly_Nemesis

Well Duh, it's had two flops.

Hopefully this means Warren will get out of Disney and back into making real games...or hell at least giving lectures again. always interesting hearing his game design philosophies. Now if only he would actually follow what he preached.

OmegaGear
OmegaGear

Other sites are already reporting this studio is closed.

hippiesanta
hippiesanta

Disney is an Evil Empire like EA .... except medicore result

endorbr
endorbr

You think.  You just said Epic Mickey.  The first game was terrible and the second one isn't much better.  I can see why the studio would be in trouble.

00J
00J

@AuronAXE who cares wasn't he the one touting Epic Mikey, he should go down with the ship. 

Deadly_Nemesis
Deadly_Nemesis

Maybe he'll join up with Harvey Smith again for the next Dishonored. I doubt it but hey would be interesting.

DrRockso87
DrRockso87

@Deadly_Nemesis We'll probably hear in a few months that Warren Spector has started a new company with a Kickstarter project for a "new cyper-punk RPG" or something. Man can dreams...

Slim_Lyrics
Slim_Lyrics

@hippiesanta So Disney is "Evil" for shutting down a company that produced a  mediocre and widely panned game.

Lord_Python1049
Lord_Python1049

@endorbr Loads of bad games sell though with the right brand, while good games don't. I think it must be something else.

Deadly_Nemesis
Deadly_Nemesis

Well when was the last time a Mickey Mouse game did well?

unreal_master
unreal_master

@bb52700 @queuing_for_PS4 So they should keep their jobs and keep being awful at it? They had a 2nd chance, its time to move on and go else where with other projects.

JediLegacy
JediLegacy

@Deadly_Nemesis It doesn't help that Mickey Mouse is now a joke, a shade in the Disney industry. Like Mario he has been violated by his respective company through various features so much that now kids don't recognize him in his role in cartoon as much as the iconic emblem of Disney.

 In other words, the brand doesn't strike anyone with anything more than a yawn, and the game was terrible. Two things that hit them hard.

zneno
zneno

@ComRaven @queuing_for_PS4 Classic , blame the man, mentality -- Virtually all jobs (worth a damn) are affected by outside forces. Just because you cant  adapt doesn't mean you're exempt from doing at least a decent job. Sorry YOU don't have the slightest clue how industries work (typical talk from an under performing employee). 

Slim_Lyrics
Slim_Lyrics

@ComRaven @queuing_for_PS4

Yes, outside sources may have played a part in the ultimate outcome of the finished product, but it still does no change the fact that the JUNCTION POINT MADE A BAD GAME. They paid for that with poor sales and finally paid the ultimate price with their closure. 

As sad as these recent closures are, one can find hope in that it will help weed out these poor development teams that fill the industry with bad games and allows for the gifted members of those teams to move on to other studios where they're expertise can be better utilized.

Slim_Lyrics
Slim_Lyrics

@ComRaven @queuing_for_PS4 The greater tragedy is people such as yourself defending the failures of others. Everyone agrees it's sad that people are losing their job.But to put all the blame on a badly developed game on the development teams owners is stretching it. 

DrRockso87
DrRockso87

@ComRaven @queuing_for_PS4 I'm not happy or anything that Junction Point is in trouble but don't excuse their mishandling of these titles on the publisher.

Epic Mickey 2 was supposed to be an improvement upon the first yet it failed. It currently holds a 59% rating on Metacritic with most of the reviews criticizing the gameplay instead of if it were unpolished (bugs, framerate drops, loading times, etc.)

If you want to see a developer screwed over by publishers, look at Obsidian. Bethesda rushed Fallout: New Vegas to release which, despite great reviews, was criticized for being unfinished (very buggy, glitchy, etc.)

ComRaven
ComRaven

@queuing_for_PS4 Sorry, but you don't have the slightest clue (typical talk of someone outside the industry). It all comes down to time and budget. If you had Blizzard or Valve working with some of the constraints that many "bad" (so called by people like you) devs are working under, they would produce crap as well. It is always a tragedy when people lose their jobs, but to see people like you always go "they deserved it, why is their game not as good as a 50 Million, 5 year game" is ridiculous.