Disney Interactive made the controversial decision to close Black Rock at the beginning of this month, and here at Dealspwn - being fans of the studio's past efforts, Pure and Split/Second - we were disheartened with the news. It's been a cruel couple of years, with Black Rock joining an ever-growing pile of cracking developers kicked to the curb. In an interview with Develop, a number of former Black Rock staff have spoken out about their harsh treatment at the hands of Disney.
The two former Black Rock employees refused to be named, but did cast a damning light on the whole situation. They refute claims that Disney was a "family-friendly company", claiming the team was treated "very badly". When they got wind of Disney's new social gaming strategy, Black Rock strove to adapt to their publisher's new demands. But according to the anonymous Black Rock sources, they "never stood a chance".
Disney halved the Black Rock head-count two months ago when they let over 40 staff go, forcing the team to advertize for Unity-proficient new employees in an effort to develop a free-to-play social networking title in time to appease their Disney overseers. Black Rock "put a lot into" their new project, but when the Disney execs turned up and informed the team they wouldn't be greenlighting the project, the team was shocked. "This isn't how we expected to be treated," they lamented to Develop.
The former Black Rock staff pointed to Activision's closure of fellow racing developers Bizarre. According to them, Activision "did it properly" and offered Bizarre "real support and feedback". "We haven't," they declare angrily, "we're getting shafted". They hope the rest of the industry and the community see Disney for who they really are. "They've handled it very badly". [Develop]