Codemasters closing down non-racing operations

Ben Parfitt
Codemasters closing down non-racing operations

Long-struggling Codemasters has confirmed the closure of its Malta studio and stated its intention to focus exclusively on racing games.

The Malta studio was opened just last year and released its first title, smartphone card game Battle Decks, this year. However, the failure of both that release and more recent title Overlord Fellowship of Evil – which was slammed by critics – has led to a re-think.

While it's been great to explore projects outside of racing, we know that our hearts belong to racing in all its many glorious forms,” Codemasters told Eurogamer.

The success of Dirt Rally's Early Access programme has been incredible, F1 2015 was very successful reaching number one in many territories, we've recently announced that Micro Machines will come to mobile and we have a strong road map ahead of us that keeps racing as its razor focus.

With Battle Decks' development complete, we're saying goodbye to Malta and looking to fold talent from its 11-person team into our most successful studios here in the UK as we double-down on racing to develop future titles that will demonstrate our absolute commitment to the category.”

This is not the first time the company has pledged to focus all of its efforts on racing. However, ideas rarely seem to stick at the publisher nowadays, with turbulence being the defining trait since India's Reliance Big Entertainment bought into the company in 2010. In 2013 it acquired a controlling stake.

Long-term CEO Rod Cousens left the company earlier this year, with many of its long-term UK employees have already left. Eurogamer reports that sales in Codemasters' last financial year halved to 25.5m year-on-year, with losses more than tripling to 20.8m. it adds that a further 30 staff have left in the last few months, although the F1 team remains intact.

Codemasters has so far struggled with the transition to next-gen machines, releasing just two titles thus far – Grid Autosport and F1 2015. Last year's F1 title, F1 2014, never saw a release on the latest hardware.

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