pandemic-studios posts

Dark Reign 2 added to's newest addition to its classic PC game library is yet another title from Activision's line up. It's Dark Reign 2, the sci-fi RTS sequel that was first released in 2000. The game was developed by the now defunct Pandemic Studios (indeed it was the second game from the company after it had released Battlezone II, also for Activision).

The DRM-free game is fully 3D, unlike the original which had a 2D engine as its basis, was released at the height of the RTS genre's popularity. The original game had multiplayer support but the servers that supported the multiplayer modes were shut down in 2008 meaning that's Dark Reign 2 is single player only. You can get the game now from for $5.99.

Rumor: Canceled Pandemic game revealed?

Electronic Arts' decision to shut down Pandemic Studios' offices in 2009 didn't affect one of the games that the team was working on as Mercs Inc got transfered to EA's Los Angeles studio. However, it looks like another game Pandemic was working on but was shelved has been revealed on a former Pandemic employee's web site.

Dorian J Compo's site states that he worked on the UI, HUD, and motion graphics for a game with the working title Legends while at Pandemic. The site also contains some concept artwork for Legends (including the image above). The game was supposed to be released for the PC and other platforms but got canceled in the summer of 2008. It's not clear what kind of game Legends was supposed to be although the concept art suggests it was some kind of fantasy-themed game.

[Via VG247]

EA to shut down online servers for Mercenaries 2 and Lord of the Rings Conquest

Electronic Arts continues to shut down its online multiplayer servers for games that have little online users. This week the publisher released a new list of games that will have their servers closed on March 16. Two of them are for the PC and perhaps ironically both of them come from the already shut down Pandemic Studios.

Both the PC version of the open world action game Mercenaries 2 and the action game Lord of the Rings Conquest will be unplayable online after March 16. EA says those games and the other console titles on their shutdown list "represent less than 0.3 (percent) of all peak online players across all EA titles." Mercenaries 2 was released in August 2008 and Lord of the Rings Conquest shipped in January 2009. The latter game's online shut down comes just 14 months after it was released.

Rumor: Star Wars Battlefront 3 still in play?

A lot of folks thought we might get an official announcement of Star Wars Battlefront 3 at last night's Video Game Awards. But the action game sequel, still not officially announced by publisher LucasArts, might still be in play. Fan site claims they got an email from a casting director Chris Marazzo who told them, " . . . Battlefront 3 is also in development. It was by far the most fun and coolest casting I ever worked on."

The first two games in the Battlefront series, developed by the now shut down Pandemic Studios, were highly successful in terms of sales. Free Radical Design was supposedly working on Battlefront 3 but LucasArts is rumored to have pulled the game from the developer last year. The developer was close to shutting down before being acquired by Crytek.

The Saboteur PC giving ATI users problems

Looks like the PC release of The Saboteur is giving some folks problems. Specifically owners of ATI Radeon-based PC game rigs are reporting issues running the open world WWII action game from Pandemic and EA with Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems.

Pandemic's official message board states that the team is aware of the issue and "are working as fast as possible to find a solution." They do have a workaround that will allow people to play the game but at a huge cost; you will have to turn off all but one of your PC's CPU cores. The post offers up exactly how to do this for your PC if you are so inclined but this is obviously a pretty drastic measure to take.

Gallery: The Saboteur

The Lord of the Rings: Conquest next on Direct2Drive's daily sales list

It's the start of a new work week and more importantly it's also time for another PC game available on IGN's Direct2Drive download service to be put on sale as part of their 24 Days of Christmas promotion. From now until 1 pm Eastern time on Tuesday you can purchase and download Lord of the Rings: Conquest for just $9.95.

This is the last game in EA's series of titles based on Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies and the second-to-the-last game developed by Pandemic Studios. The action game pretty much got buried and forgotten when it was released by EA in early January of this year.

EA CEO: Pandemic Studios was too expensive to continue

Last month, Electronic Arts shocked many in the industry when it announced deep layoffs in the publisher. That also included the shut down of its developer Pandemic Studios in Santa Monica, California. EA had purchased Pandemic (along with BioWare) just two years ago for a ton of money. Why shut down the offices now? Kotaku reports that EA's CEO John Riccitiello said a big reason was money. According to him, "For good or for bad, we are taking down headcount in California because it is really expensive."

He states making games in California has turned into a costly proposition compared to other parts of the world and that it didn't make economic sense to have Pandemic located just 10 miles away from EA's large Los Angeles studio. Some of Pandemic's team members have since moved to EALA where they are working on games with the Pandemic brand like the just announced Mercs Inc.

No need for PC gamers to unlock nudity in The Saboteur; it's already there

Earlier today word got out that the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of The Saboteur would be getting a "Day One" DLC update. The WWII action game from Pandemic and Electronic Arts will let folks who buy the game at retail stores download "The Midnight Show" which has some new locations in the game's city of Paris along with a new mini-game. It also unlocks an option to allow . . . nudity. Yes, nudity.

However, this time the PC owners of The Saboteur don't have to do anything to get the content that the console versions have to download. A "tweet" on the Pandemic Studios Twitter page states, "DLC comes on the PC disc already. No download needed." Yep, that means you can get your naked girls fix right from the start when the game ships to stores on December 8.

[Via Shacknews]

Gallery: The Saboteur

EA decides to make "Mercs Inc" official

In what has to be regarded as a very quick turnaround, Electronic Arts has come on out and admitted that Mercs Inc is indeed in development at its Los Angeles development studios. The game, also known as Mercenaries Inc, will be the third game in the action series that was originally developed by the now shuttered Pandemic Studios. The official word came just a few hours after a leaked trailer showing off gameplay hit the internet.

EA's press release on the game has little info on the title itself, nor any word on the game's platforms or release date. It did hint strongly that the Pandemic name would be used in the branding of the game when it is released even though the team of former Pandemic developers is working out of EALA now.

Rumor: Multiplayer-oriented Mercenaries game in the works?

The shut down last week of Pandemic Studios' Santa Monica offices is not supposed to be the end of Pandemic itself or the original brands that the developer, through Electronic Arts, still owns. Which is why the above and supposedly leaked video might actually be made into a full game one day.

Web site Bitmob states that the above video, supposedly showing off a multiplayer-oriented entry in Pandemic's Mercenaries series called Mercenaries Inc, is real. Their anonymous sources says the trailer itself was made a few months ago at Pandemic. As for the game itself, the site claims that the title is still in pre-production at EA's Los Angeles studio and being made by the few ex-Pandemic staffers that made the transition to their new EALA offices. Even if all of the above is true it will likely be some time before the game itself is released.


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