Disney Interactive has decided to shut down the UK-based Black Rock Studios, one of its internal game development studios. The shut down, as reported by VG247.com, means that 40 team members are now out looking for jobs. Back in May Disney laid off a significant amount of Black Rock team members. Some of those team members have already formed at least two independent game companies. Disney's official statement on the matter is that due to the fact that Black Rock's next game was not "green-lit for further development" the decision was made to close the studio entirely.
Founded in 1998 under the name Pixel Planet, the developer was then quickly bought by Climax Studio in 1999 where it made a number of racing games. In 2006 it was bought by Disney Interactive (then called Buena Vista Games) and was renamed as Black Rock Studios in 2007. Under its new owners, Black Rock created two acclaimed racing games: The off-road arcade racing game Pure in 2008 (for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms) and the 2010 released arcade racing action game Split/Second (for the PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and PSP platforms). The latter game, where players were able to trigger massive explosions and other events on the urban race tracks to take out other racers, got a lot of positive reviews and awards from game critics. However overall sales of Split/Second were disappointing and plans to create a sequel were canceled in late 2010.
Disney Interactive shut down another game development studio, Propaganda Games, earlier in 2011 and laid off a large number of its employees at its offices. The games division of Disney has been losing money for the company for the past few years.