UK-based Blitz Games Studios to close after 23 years

Staff reportedly honoured the company with a round of applause even after they were told they'd lost their jobs

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The Independent Tech

Videogame companies across the UK are looking to employ up to 125 developers affected by the closure of Blitz Games Studios

The independent games developer based in Leamington Spa announced it was closing yesterday when it was put into liquidation after 23 years.

Although the move put 175 people at risk, 50 former employers are being hired by a new company created by Blitz founders Philip and Andrew Oliver.

Philip Oliver has also invited other companies to email him and it is understood that development studios Rebellion, Mind Candy, Natural Motion, Rocksteady and Splash Damage are interested in speaking to ex-staff about possible vacancies.

Blitz Game Studios issued a statement saying existing management had sought fresh investment, having also tried to tie up new contracts but that it was unable to secure enough funds to sustain the business.

It went on to say that two of the current projects being worked on by Blitz staff were self-financing and these are being worked on by the Olivers' new company.

CEO Philip Oliver said: “We have managed to weather numerous storms over the last two decades that have sadly seen the demise of many of our friends and colleagues across the industry, but the run of problems we've had to face over the last year is unlike any we've seen before.

“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.

It has been an absolute honour to lead such an extraordinary group of highly talented people who have consistently pushed boundaries and created amazing games that we've been hugely proud of. We've been humbled by the loyalty and commitment that they've all shown over the last 23 years and we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all of our staff, past and present, for their years of loyalty, their creative drive and their commitment to Blitz and to us.”

He said the company had come close to generating fresh funds but that major clients had felt unable to commit.

Philip and Andrew Oliver have been involved in the games industry since 1983 when they had their first work published as a programming “type-in” in a magazine. They were paid £50.

They went on to create the very popular Dizzy series of games, working for Codemasters which is also based in Leamington Spa.

In 1990, they formed Blitz Game Studios and created a large number of games with a growing number of staff. They included the 3D game Invincible Tiger: The Legend of Han Tao, Droplitz, Biggest Loser, Pac-Man World, SpongeBob SquarePants and iCarly.

Philip Oliver recently began an initiative called Made in Creative UK which aims to promote games that are produced in the United Kingdom.

It appears the Olivers were popular people to work for. Company insiders say staff gave them a round of applause following their job loss announcement, something the administrator was believed to have said he had never seen happen before.

Blitz made their name programming the popular Dizzy series of games.