EA Closes Ridgeline Games

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EA Shutting Down New Studio Ridgeline Games

EA announced today that it will be closing Ridgeline Games, a new studio founded by Halo co-creator Marcus Lehto, in order to consolidate resources. According to EA, "We have made the difficult decision to close Ridgeline Games. We are working with all employees to place them into suitable roles on other teams where possible. This news also coincides with a broader restructuring announced earlier today that will see EA lay off some 670 employees amid a shift away from future licensed IPs.

Redirecting Resources to Ripple Effect Studios

Some staff from Ridgeline Games will be transferred to Ripple Effect Studios, another studio owned by EA best known for the Battlefield series. By reassigning resources originally intended for Ridgeline Games to Ripple Effect Studios, EA likely hopes to bolster development of upcoming Battlefield titles.

The Brief Lifespan of Ridgeline Games

Ridgeline Games was only announced in October of 2020, headed by Lehto following his departure from Bungie and 343 Industries. At the time of announcement, Lehto said Ridgeline aimed "to build immersive worlds and compelling stories that will inspire wonder in players of all types." However, after less than a year, Ridgeline Games will be no more, with its resources and talent absorbed into EA's larger studios.

A Sobering Reminder of Industry Volatility

The sudden closure of Ridgeline Games serves as a sobering reminder of the volatility of the gaming industry. Even studios led by industry veterans like Lehto are not immune to abrupt changes in direction or priority on the part of their parent companies. For developers, job security can feel elusive, as entire studios may open and close based on the whims of executives and shareholders seeking to maximize profits. Overall, the shuttering of Ridgeline Games highlights some of the harsh realities of working in AAA game development.

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Some Ridgeline Staff Moving to Ripple Effect Studios

Electronic Arts announced that it will be closing down Marcus Lehto's Ridgeline Games studio. However, some of the staff from Ridgeline Games will be transferred to Ripple Effect Studios, another EA-owned studio, to continue working on the Battlefield franchise.

Continuing Work on Battlefield

According to inside sources, around 30 developers from Ridgeline Games will move to Ripple Effect Studios, the studio responsible for Battlefield Portal and Battlefield 2042’s Hazard Zone mode. The transferred staff will reportedly be working on future content for Battlefield 2042, though exact details are still unknown.

The Fate of Ridgeline’s Unannounced Projects

The closure of Ridgeline Games raises questions about the studio’s unannounced projects. According to Marcus Lehto, Ridgeline had been working on “a couple of incubation projects” for EA. However, with the studio now shut down, the fate of these unannounced titles remains uncertain. EA has not commented on whether these projects will be moved to other studios or canceled altogether.

A Blow to Lehto and His Team

The shuttering of Ridgeline Games comes as a blow to Lehto, who founded the studio in 2016, and his team. In a statement, Lehto said “I am sad to announce that after 5 great years, Ridgeline Games will be closing its doors.” Lehto expressed his gratitude to his team and regret that their unannounced projects will not come to fruition. While some staff will find a new home at Ripple Effect, the closure likely leaves many developers unemployed.

The closure of Ridgeline Games and transfer of staff to Ripple Effect Studios represents a restructuring of EA’s FPS studios. While bad news for Lehto and his team, Battlefield fans will hope the additional developers at Ripple Effect will benefit future content for Battlefield 2042. The fate of Ridgeline’s other projects, however, remains unknown.

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What This Means for the Future of Battlefield

Battlefield fans were shocked by the announcement that EA is shuttering Ridgeline Games, the studio founded just last year by Halo co-creator Marcus Lehto. However, the closure may not spell doom for the Battlefield franchise. According to EA, some former Ridgeline staff will be moving to Ripple Effect Studios, another EA-owned developer that has supported DICE on recent Battlefield titles.

Continued Development

With key staff shifting to work under Ripple Effect, Battlefield development should continue largely unimpeded. Ripple Effect has contributed to Battlefield 1, Battlefield V, and Battlefield 2042, suggesting they have the expertise to sustain work on the franchise. The transfer of staff also indicates EA’s commitment to the Battlefield IP and desire to keep core team members involved despite closing Ridgeline.

Questions Remain

Nonetheless, questions remain over what will become of the undisclosed project Ridgeline was developing. There is also uncertainty over Lehto’s future role, if any, in the franchise he helped shape. Lehto’s vision was supposedly key in founding Ridgeline, so his departure introduces instability. More broadly, frequent studio openings, closures, and staff shuffling within EA risks hampering productivity and depleting morale.

Overall, the shuttering of Ridgeline Games is a blow to studio diversity within EA and the stability of development teams. However, with staff moving to Ripple Effect and work ongoing at DICE, the future of Battlefield seems secure for now. The franchise that defined a genre and brought team-based combat to millions of players worldwide will march on into new titles and new platforms. While Ridgeline’s project will fade into obscurity, Battlefield’s long legacy persists.

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