Epic Mickey 2 Studio Junction Point Shutdown, Plus Disney Has Laid Off 50 Employees

By Juan G. Rodriguez , Updated Jan 30, 2013 11:09 AM EST
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Walt Disney's video game division has laid off about 50 employees from several studios and closed Junction Point Studios, the developer of Disney Epic Mickey and its 2012 sequel Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the 50 layoffs do not include the jobs lost due to the closing of the Austin-based Junction Point, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The LA Times notes that Disney's Interactive Media unit has shed jobs in order to meet Chief Executive Robert Iger's goal of turning a profit for the current fiscal year.

The Times has published an email that was sent to staffers from Disney Interactive Co-President John Pleasants. The email read as follows:

"Our division operates in a rapidly evolving industry and as a result we must sometimes make difficult decisions to ensure we're meeting market demands. Unfortunately, today this meant announcing changes within Disney Interactive Games, including the closure of Junction Point Studios in Austin.

These decisions are never easy, or taken without serious thought and consideration, but they are essential in order for Disney Interactive to remain competitive and win.

I want to thank Warren Spector and the team at Junction Point for their tremendous passion, creativity and dedication in building the Epic Mickey games franchise. They have made an indelible mark on Disney Interactive and we truly appreciate their contribution to the ever-growing vault of Disney [intellectual property]. A sincere thank you goes to all of our employees for their continued hard work and commitment."

In separate article from the Yahoo News, Disney said that the closing of Junction Point Studio was due to the company's efforts "to address the fast-evolving gaming platforms and marketplace."

"We're extremely grateful to Warren Spector and the Junction Point team for their creative contributions to Disney with 'Disney Epic Mickey' and 'Disney Epic Mickey 2,'" the studio said in a statement.

After the news broke, Spector took to his Facebook account to reflect on the development of the Epic Mickey series.

"I said to myself as Junction Point embarked on the 'Epic Mickey' journey that, worst case, we'd be 'a footnote in Disney history,'" Spector posted Monday on Facebook. "Looking back on it, I think we did far better than that. With Mickey Mouse as our hero, we introduced a mainstream audience to some cool 'core game' concepts - and, most especially, we restored Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to a place of prominence."

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