It was with real fanfare that Turbine opened its Santa Monica studio in early 2004. Installing industry veteran Jason Bell as its studio head, the shop was supposed to be a "real spear point for biz-dev in Asia," as Bell put it previously. Additionally, the West Coast location housed the staff that hoped to establish closer relations with movie studios and other entertainment entities LA is notorious for.
However, all agendas in California will cease come late 2005. At about the same time Turbine unplugs the servers and ceases all support of Asheron's Call 2, Turbine's West Coast operation will close as well.
Turbine reps tell GameSpot the studio will be officially shuttered concurrent with the shut down of AC2 in late December 2005.
Turbine staffers downplayed the connection between the two bits of news, stating the Santa Monica office was focused solely on the original Asheron's Call, released in 1999. The rep elaborated, stating all business-development functions had transitioned back to Turbine's headquarters in Westwood, Massachusetts, months ago.
He added that all 10 staffers in California will have the opportunity to relocate to Turbine's headquarters in Westwood. Bell left the Turbine fold "several months ago."
Turbine's Tom Nichols said the company was now focusing its efforts on the upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing games The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar and Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach.