Developer shuts down its Gotham shop just days before Battlefield 2 hits the market--and just nine months after it acquired the studio.


Last September saw many-a-mod maker's dream come true for Trauma Studios. The New York City-based collective, which had produced the popular Gulf War DesertCombat mod for Battlefield 1942, was bought by the game's developer, Digital Illusions CE (DICE), for $500,000.

The buyout was the culmination of a seven-month collaboration between Trauma Studios and DICE, which saw the indie shop work on the recently golden Battlefield 2. Trauma Studios was also working on "a new PC game based on the Battlefield 2 engine," which was not identified at the time. The agreement also called for Trauma Studio's staff to grow from nine employees to 20.

Instead, Trauma Studios' staff has now been reduced--to zero. In a statement released today, DICE announced that the company has "decided to discontinue the New York office, Trauma Studios." The company gave a rather cryptic reason for the closure, saying "conditions have changed and the future plans of the company differ considerably from when Trauma Studios was acquired in September of 2004."

Thomas Skoglund, DICE's chairman, explained a bit further. "The acquisition of Trauma Studios was nevertheless particularly motivated," he said. "The deal contained value in form of rights to trademarks as well as a new game concept."

DICE CEO Patrick Soederlund was more blunt. "We will from now on focus on the growth of the Swedish operations," he said. DICE's statement said its Canadian studio will remain in operation, and it will continue to outsource "elementary graphic services to cheaper countries as for example Ukraine (sic)."

All of Trauma Studios' employees--now totaling 12--have been offered employment in DICE's Stockholm headquarters. However, DICE will no longer pay $200,000 in outstanding funds from the original deal. "The total payment is thereby 300,000 USD," read the company's statement. "Other costs of liquidation are diminutive."

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