Vancouver’s Radical Entertainment undergoes widespread layoffs

Parent company Activision reports "some" employees will remain to support existing Activision projects.

Vancouver-based video game developer Radical Entertainment, the company behind the Prototype open world game franchise, may be closing, according to several reports Thursday.

The restructuring includes significant layoffs.

U.S. parent company Activision, in a statement to game site, said that Radical Entertainment will not develop its own games going forward.

“Although we made a substantial investment in the Prototype IP, it did not find a broad commercial audience. Radical is a very talented team of developers; however, we have explored various options for the studio, including a potential sale of the business, and have made a difficult conclusion through the consultation process that the only remaining option is a significant reduction in staff. As such, some employees will remain working for Radical Entertainment supporting other existing Activision Publishing projects, but the studio will cease development of its own games going forward,” reads the statement on from Activision.

Rumours first swirled of the studio’s closure after Radical Entertainment audio designer Rob Bridgett tweeted Thursday “RIP Radical Entertainment 1991-2012″, followed by wider reports of company layoffs.

Radical Entertainment confirmed the layoffs and posted a statement on the company’s Facebook page Thursday afternoon.

“This morning Radical Entertainment went through a significant reduction in staff. We’re very proud of what we achieved with the Prototype franchise, but unfortunately, the Blacklight virus [game element] didn’t spread as far as it could. For PC gamers, rest assured that the PC version of Protoype 2 is still going to launch on July 24th as planned. And a special thanks to the Prototype Army and all our extremely loyal and passionate fans for supporting Radical Entertainment. We couldn’t have come this far without you,” the company said in the statement.

B.C. paper The Province reported that 89 people were laid off from the 20-year-old company.

Facebook fans responded with an outpouring of criticism for parent company Activision, which also owns and publishes the Call of Duty games, calling it the “cancer of the gaming world.”

French mass media conglomerate Vivendi Universal Entertainment (now Vivendi SA) acquired Radical Entertainment in 2005, and in 2008, Vivendi Games and Activision merged to form Activision Blizzard, the label under which the Prototype franchise was released.

Radical Entertainment is also well known for developing Scarface: The World Is Yours and Crash: Mind over Mutant. According to reports from former Radical developers, Activision had also previously cancelled a Scarface 2 project in the works at Radical, in addition to other Radical projects in development.

Prototype 2 topped the U.S. game charts in April, according to NPD numbers on the site.