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Report: Disney video game division lays off 50 employees


Separate from the closure of Warren Spector's Junction Point Studios, the developers of the Epic Mickey series, 50 more employees reportedly lost their jobs at Disney Interactive yesterday, according to the LA Times. The paper's source is "a knowledgeable person not authorized to discuss the matter publicly."

Disney Interactive Studios endured huge layoffs across 2011, including the closure of Split/Second developer Black Rock. We've reached out to Disney Interactive Studios for comment on today's report.

We learned yesterday Epic Mickey 2 sold 529,000 copies in the US during 2012, with that return on investment certainly sealing the deal on Junction Point's closure. Since then, Epic Mickey creator and Junction Point founder Warren Spector posted a public goodbye to his studio on Facebook, which we've printed in full after the break.

Spector was effusive in his farewell to Junction Point, saying he's rarely worked with a "team more dedicated or harder working." While he noted the games "polarized" critics and fans, Spector said he's never been part of anything as deeply touching as his Epic Mickey series.

Will the man behind Deus Ex be back? "Let just say, now it's time to move to the next adventure," Spector wrote. "I honestly don't know what that will be yet, so don't ask."

Yes, it's true. The Junction Point journey is over. To all those who've asked, or want to ask, I'm sad but excited for the future.

JPS had a good eight year run. I got to work with some amazing people on some amazing projects. I've had some of the most magical times of my life, fulfilling several life-long dreams. I've gotten to know Disney fans and Disney cast members, gotten hands on with Disney's history, walked where Walt walked... "Magical" really is the only word.

But now it's time to... (Man, I almost said, "now it's time to say goodbye to all our fa-mi-ly..." Which would have led me right to "M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E!"). Let's just say, now it's time to move on to the next adventure. I honestly don't know what that will be yet, so don't ask. (And while we're on the subject of asking, if you're a journalist, don't bother - all press inquiries go to Brian Nelson and Carrie Davis over at Disney.)

Anyway, whatever you think of me, or Junction Point, or Disney or the Disney Epic Mickey games - yes, I know we polarized people! - I'll always look back on the last eight years with nothing but pride. Rarely have I worked with a team more dedicated or harder working. Never have I been part of a game - of anything, really - that touched people at as deep or personal a level as the Epic Mickey games. That's priceless.

I said to myself as Junction Point embarked on the Epic Mickey journey that, worst case, we'd be "a footnote in Disney history." 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.

WE did that.

Junction Point.

I'll always be grateful to Disney for that opportunity, to the folks who helped out along the way in Glendale, on the studio lot in Burbank, at the parks in Anaheim and Orlando and Paris, at Disney offices around the world and at Pixar. (You know who you are!) I'm grateful to the Disney fans, bloggers and historians who embraced me, the team and our work - that was huge. And, most especially, I'll always be grateful to the folks – the family – at Junction Point who did all the real work.

I'll see all of you in the future!

And, really, press inquiries go to Brian and Carrie! ;)

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