Rockstar Games has announced that developer Rockstar Vancouver, the studio responsible for Max Payne 3, will be closing down. The 35-person team has the choice to join Rockstar Toronto or any other Rockstar studio of their choosing. Accompanying this news is that the Rockstar Toronto team will be moving into a new, custom-built facility in Oakville, Ontario that is significantly larger, which will be supported by the Ontario government. Rockstar is also hoping to add 50 new positions to the Canadian studio over the next few months.
Jennifer Kolbe, Vice President of Publishing and Operations, elaborated on the move:
“Expanding Rockstar Toronto and bringing our Canadian development talent together under one roof underscores our commitment to building world-class teams that can make the kind of groundbreaking entertainment experiences Rockstar Games is known for.
“We believe a single Canadian team will make for a powerful creative force on future projects. We plan to add more than 50 new positions to our combined Canadian team, and are pleased to be entering into this strategic partnership with the Ontario government.”
Max Payne 3, the most recent title from the Rockstar Vancouver team (which also saw Rockstar Toronto lending a hand in) was well received despite numerous delays. Unfortunately, it suffered from a poor performance in its first month of sales. This, combined with the expansion of the Toronto studio with government assistance, could explain the studio’s closure.
Analysis: It always bewildered me why Rockstar had two different studios located in Canada and why the two studios were so split up considering that the studios seemed to collaborate on a consistent basis. Offering employees of Rockstar Vancouver a choice as to where they would like to work is a nice gesture and something not seen nearly enough in the industry.
Interestingly, Rockstar Toronto hasn’t led a game development in quite a long time, with the 2005 title The Warriors being the last example. Since then, the studio has preferred to offer development support to other Rockstar studios. As for Rockstar Vancouver, outside of Max Payne 3, their only other title before being purchased in 2002 was Bully, released in 2006.
As for what the studio will be working on in the future, there’s only speculation. But Warriors 2 or Bully 2? Hell yeah, Rockstar, just go ahead and take my money now.