Test Drive Unlimited studio shutting down

Atari's latest financial report reveals firm closing doors at Lyon, France-based Eden Games, company revenues slide 34 percent; mobile games to be a focus in time ahead.

Test Drive Unlimited studio Eden Games is headed to the scrap yard. Studio owner Atari has announced that the Lyon, France-based development shop is now labeled as "discontinued operations," with the publisher beginning to sell off investments related to the studio.

Eden Games is in the process of making a permanent pit stop.

Eden Games most recently developed 2011's warmly received Test Drive Unlimited 2 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Previously developed titles include 2008's Alone in the Dark, and the 2006 original Test Drive Unlimited.

In 2011, Eden Games formed a "symbolic strike" aimed at protesting a wave of forthcoming layoffs at the firm, believed to total as many as 80. A letter from Eden Games claimed "mismanagement" on the part of Atari and noted the publisher was not willing to enter negotiations with the studio.

[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, Atari confirmed with GameSpot that Eden Games is not presently shut down.

"Our earnings statement contained a report about the divestment of Eden Studios. We want to make it clear that the studio has not closed and that we will continue to support the console and PC games of Eden Studios, notably Test Drive Unlimited 2, while this process is underway," reads a line from the statement. "The divestment is in line with our previously stated strategy of exploiting our popular intellectual property library on mobile devices, where he have seen strong initial success, and via online games and licensing."

The news comes via Atari's latest financial report, which saw company revenues slide some 34 percent to �39.6 million ($51.3 million) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012. The company posted a net loss of �3.7 million ($4.78 million) for the period, better than the �6.2 million ($8.02 million) hit it took a year ago.

Looking ahead to its current fiscal year, Atari said it will build and monetize its digital titles, with a focus on making mobile games a "core" business sector. Outside of this, Atari plans to take advantage of its intellectual property portfolio through licensing and strategic partnerships.

Atari did not mention specific financial goals for the coming year, but did say the firm expects flat-to-continued improvement for operating income.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

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Discussion

88 comments
Jackc8
Jackc8

Atari's got Test Drive:  Ferrari Legends coming out tomorrow.  It's made by Slightly Mad Studios, who did the Need For Speed:  Shift games.  Quite a big deal one would think.  But has anybody heard of it?  Anybody know it exists?  No.

 

Wonder why they're not doing well financially.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

The first TDU was just what Test Drive needed, A fresh start....the game wasn't perfect but it was very popular but TDU was a flop...a dud....a....yeah.

TDU had/has so many problems it isn't funny but all or most of it could have been avoided if they had spent another year on it, honestly TDU2 feels like a beta not a full game. If Eden does close down Atari really is truly dead as a publisher because I don't see any of their other developers replicating what Eden did with TDU.....

404FredNotFound
404FredNotFound

Why all the hate towards tdu2 yeah it is a flawed game, but its still fun non the less, I loved driving around the massive islands, also even tho allot of ppl complained about the controls, if you use a decent wheel its actually pretty good, for those who just wanted to cruise (like me) its a blast.

Anyway I don't really like Atari that much, they don't have that many good franchises left, TDU and The Witcher being the main ones, Alone in the Dark is pretty much dead, they bought Driver Publisher (side note:had both Driver 1 and 2 awesome game), but end up losing it, now theres Tera as a big mmo that seems promising and lets see how that plays out, Eden Games was actually a pretty good developer, not sure what happen or Eden Games employees claims are true, but its dead now.

 

"Grabs Flame Shield"

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

Atari here is the real deal.  We await you making a system.  Atari was about systems and not just games.  Seriously get some more backing from serious investors and come out with a system.  I would buy for sure and so would many others.

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

dunno about console versions, but TDU2 for PC was a mess and a major disappointment.

evil_devil_mons
evil_devil_mons

TEST DRIVE UNLIMITED 2 was suck ass game it was waste of time for me, it was a good effort,  they created so much things in it like home  customs, clothing customs, which was an awesome concept 

TimboII
TimboII

Too bad....TDU 1 was fun, there just wasn't enough you could do in the open world. I didn't like TDU2 as much....but still one thing to be said about Eden Games...they developed the best Test Drive games to come out in the series in YEARS.

rthanujaya
rthanujaya

massive open environment is the only positive thing in TDU,

I always hated its terrible gameplay and stupid COP mode .. anyways, TDU2 was a complete disaster !

EvilShabazz
EvilShabazz

"The divestment is in line with our previously stated strategy of exploiting our popular intellectual property library on mobile devices, where he have seen strong initial success, and via online games and licensing."  This is MBA-speak for: "We're not going to try to make anything new - we are just going to try to trick you into buying rehashed versions of our old games on your phone."

BladeTrinity114
BladeTrinity114

Bad news! I think Test Drive Unlimited (Preferred the first one) was an awesome game. They really nailed the feeling of an MMO without it really being one. Also, I must've put about 100 hours into the game and didn't even get close to 100% completing it. I hope someone else picks up the franchise though, it would be cool if someone were to improve on it because it did have it's fair share of bugs and glitches. 

KFHEWUI
KFHEWUI

While it is never good to hear about a company being shut down (except for TItus), I am not really surprised this happened. After what they did to Alone in the Dark, I am surprised that lasted as long as they did.

eliebaz
eliebaz

smart phones to blame! damn you smart phones and tablets you ruined the console 

G-Man4ever
G-Man4ever

i'm sorry for the guys ending up without a job, but TDU and TDU2 were disasters (at leas the PC version). i had more precise control and impact damage in super mario  than in TDU series. sorry, best of luck to the dev's!!!

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Would anyone actually notice if Atari pulled out of the console and PC market altogther?

Raxyman
Raxyman

TDU 2 sucked... I liked the first a lot, but this one lacked that shine all racing games needs. But this isn't a thing just from Eden studio, a lot of good racing frachises are pretty awful now. NFS, Burnout, Ridge Racer, none of these are good now. In fact, the only studio i fell i can rely on with great racing games is Codemasters now (Please, GRID 2)...

 

But back into topic, Eden isn't the most notable studio, yet they showed some interesting ideas in all their games, be they good or bad. Maybe if they had a better supporter....

pszone
pszone

This not Eden studios fault itsAtari's, fault Since video game crash in 1970s or 1980s . I think seen enough and i think about time Atari's leave the gameing world.

sykopat99
sykopat99

When they start using the Kotick dictionary and use words like exploit and monetize you know it's only going to get worse. :(

ady_1102
ady_1102

this is what happens when you put your hopes into a shitty game (TDU2)

E-i-N-e
E-i-N-e

No! This was my favourite racing game in the entire world, it offered more realism than anything else. It sucks seeing all these game companies going bust but this is a major blow in the business. Rest in Peace Test Drive Unlimited.

theoasis77
theoasis77

Duh what were they thinking? It wasn't a racer it was the sims with some bad driving... Terrible concept.

shenron43
shenron43

I always liked Test Drive. Between Test Drive and Need For Speed, that was about 50% of what I played back in the day.

plaintomato
plaintomato

Good. Atari isn't capable of providing the support necessary to produce really excellent games; which TDU2 could have been with a the backing it deserved. Sad for Eden, but if those guys can manage to take the idea that was TDU somewhere worthwhile it could mean amazing things down the road.

 

It's like a divorce from a shoddy spouse...hard road, better horizon.

megakick
megakick

Back in the 16 bit age Genesis games cost $49.99 and games didn't cost near as much to make as they do now.

 

Stop crying buy new or don't buy at all.

Keep buying used and destroy video games GJ.

shaggyaz
shaggyaz

Damn this is very sad to hear.Test Drive Unlimited 1 is one of my all time favorite racers and after the bugs got fixed Test Drive Unlimited 2 was pretty good aswell

playahater1
playahater1

I'm pretty bummed out about this. The TDU series was a great series of games. 

eriktkire
eriktkire

nobody's losing sales in this industry, big publishers are finally feeling the effect of releasing way too many crappy/unfinished games.

Every sale those games miss out on isn't a loss.  Every sale they made is a crime.

 

But having said that, and having had the advantage of being part of the long delayed and utterly incompetent beta for this game, Eden only has themselves to blame.

 

I'm so tired of hearing about developers feeling "pressured" by a publisher to do this or that.  Grow a pair and say no.  How many of these developers boast about their vision for quality and their belief in integrity for the art of 'good' games, then cry "the publisher made us do it.

 

If your primary goal is a pay cheque, then you have no right to be talking about things like 'integrity'.  Find another job.  There are plenty out there that are easier to do, generate a bigger income, and would give them enough spare time to develop their own small-scale indie level games...

 

... and yes, there are joe jobs out there that pay well and give you plenty of spare time if you make the effort to find them... question is are they really passionate enough to build games on their own time without the safety net of a mega publisher?

 

It's a real shame that base level of risk isn't the screening process for game development anymore, and that's why the biggest names in the industry are still the amongst oldest (like Carmack and iD).

aaron263
aaron263

Its a shame to see another game studio shut down. I loved Test Drive Unlimited 1, i spent countless hours collecting each and every car and house, i also got the game completion to 100%. Test Drive Unlimited 2 was ok, but when it was released my god it was such an unfinished game, so many bugs it felt like i was playing a game still in the alpha testing stage. The game was literally unplayable the first day as when you got to the main menu the "start game" button didn't work so everyone was stuck watching the same cut scene over and over again until a fix finally cured the issue. From the day TDU 2 got released i was convinced Eden was going to crash and burn in the near future, seemed the quality of their games was on a slow decline.

Andy1945
Andy1945

The end for Atari, right there.

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

Usually I wouldn't agree with some people suggesting a potential crash since it's just a small development studio that's closing, but with big studios also suffering low sales marks and layoffs, I wholly agree on an impending depression.

 

Developers simply refuse to market new ideas. Instead they just fall back on the same old worn out genres, and now they've backed themselves into a corner. This is probably why indie developers are becoming more successful. The industry is either going to have to change or suffer. I'd rather see a change as a crash could kill off many young studios with fresh ideas or it may also make them stronger by forcing consumers to turn to them instead of companies like EA who continue to milk the jersey cow.

 

One other contributing factor to a possible depression is the increasing lifecycle of these consoles. The software reached it's full potential a long time ago . A result of  the 80's depression was also a lack of advancement. Consoles games were basically the same from the time they were conceived to the the time of the crash. Even Nintendo struggled trying to revitalize the industry, until people took notice that the games were actually better. Time to change the oil more frequently or the car is going to stall. Evolve or die.

Jonny-Two-Delta
Jonny-Two-Delta

 @Jackc8 Woah. Good call Jack.If I worked for atari I'd hire you to go around slapping everyone in Advertising and PR.

aussiemuscle
aussiemuscle

 @404FredNotFound I also liked TDU 1 and 2, but a couple weeks after tdu2 was launched all the problems started emerging between atari and eden, and user complaints were largely ignored on the official forums and tech support center. PC users were lucky enough to get a patch with a couple extra cars, but mostly the online component was broken and they were never able to fix it.

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

 @DeViLzzz That Atari has been dead for over 10yrs. Besides, the Tramiel family destroyed the company with crap consoles like the Jaguar. I'd never buy another Atari console unless Nolan was running the show and he's too busy with Chuck E Cheese to care about games.

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

 @PlatinumPaladin Yes as I hope one day they come out with a system.  Any company who takes that name should be putting out more than games.

gbogason23
gbogason23

 @E-i-N-e More realism? as opposed to what... GTA

Try Iracing, Rfactor, Netkarpro, LFS just to name a few. then you know what realism is supposed to be like.

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

 @megakick if video games died from me buying used then I would just find something else to do so who cares

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

 @megakick That's because carts cost more to make than plastic discs.

pez2k_
pez2k_

If you say no to the publisher, they simply stop funding your game, your company folds and everybody loses their job.

 

When you're talking about 'passionate enough' to build games like this as an indie developer, I think the term you mean is 'rich enough'. The budget needed just for a relatively simple racing game like PGR3 is already several million dollars, never mind a huge effort like TDU. There's also the issue of licensing, without a major investor like a publisher you're unlikely to afford to license any real cars, which massively hurts sales .

 

You certainly don't sound like you have any experience of the industry, nor the budgets and timescales involved.

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

 @eriktkire Yep. Some people are just looking for a paycheck. Punch in, punch out. These people have been working fast food for too long.

Smokescreened84
Smokescreened84

 @Snaptrap It's what I've been saying for the past several years - the industry needs to progress, it needs new ideas, new creative vision, it needs to start taking risks and be willing to move from the usual things.

 

Of course suggesting change and progress is never welcome amid the many who want things to stay as they are, who want the same tired ideas all the time and who don't want to leave their comfort zone.

 

The video game industry is in a rut and has been for a while now.  The pursuit of profits first over quality products while rehashing the same old thing and the same old ideas time and time again has led to new ideas being prevented.

 

Especially in the past decade or so with the obsession with shooters with multi player and MMO's, and slapping multi player onto as many games as possible that don't even need such a feature.

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

 @pez2k_ That's when you place your cash into establishing an original concept instead of dumping it into a licensing money pit that leaves you with nothing for quality purposes.

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

 @Smokescreened84 This is why I stopped console gaming in 2004. PC may offer the same over-saturated rubbish, but they also offer games that the big guns would consider "risky". Train Simulator? Street Cleaner Simulator? These devs are playing the outfield while everyone else plays close to home.

pez2k_
pez2k_

Car physics is totally unrelated to and a lot more specialised than object physics that you see in other games. Even just modelling how a tyre grips and slides needs years of experience to do with any sort of accuracy.

 

As for the modellers, yes, racing game studios tend to have specific artists who are skilled at certain types of modelling, for example a car art team, a track loft team, and a trackside objects team. There are huge differences betwen the three such as the polycount restrictions, usage of materials and shaders, and the ability to efficiently use reference material.

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

 @pez2k_ Car modellers? I've never heard of anyone being limited to model only one type of object or apply physics to one type of genre.

pez2k_
pez2k_

But Eden are a racing game studio, they employ physics programmers, car modellers and other such specific roles. Changing genres would still mean laying off most of their staff, which isn't really a great solution.

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

 @pez2k_ I know what your point was. That's why I was suggesting not putting developments costs into licensing cars for a racing game, especially if you have a limited budget. Instead of making a racing game, you make something else that allows you to use those funds for more practical purposes other than licensing.

pez2k_
pez2k_

You've missed my point. If you want, for example, an Audi R8 in your game, you have to pay Audi a lot of money for permission. TDU2 already took a critical beating for not licensing BMW and Lamborghini, can you imagine what a flop it would be if there were no name brands at all? On an indie budget you couldn't even afford to include a Lada Samara.

Smokescreened84
Smokescreened84

 @Snaptrap I don't play PC, too fiddly and fussy and I'm tired of always having to upgrade if I want to play a single game.  I'm fine with console gaming, but I'm fed up of seeing the usual shooter rehashes, sports rehashes and sloppy mistakes.

 

So many games are rushed out to compete with the yearly shooter rehashes, so many games are buggy and glitchy and so many publishers and developers just don't listen and learn from their mistakes.

If they're losing sales, then it's their own fault for trying to complete with rehashes and rushing out unfinished games.