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Electronics Arts to close UK studio

EA is about to close its Bright Light developer studio, the people behind the recent Harry Potter games, putting jobs at risk.

There's bad news for gamers -- especially for anyone involved in the UK gaming industry. It looks like Electronic Arts is about to close its Guildford-based Bright Light developer studio. Bright Light was behind the most successful movie-game tie-in series of all time, the Harry Potter franchise.

Just Push Start is reporting the company has entered the formal consultation process required by law before closing a studio.

"After a review of current and future projects, Electronic Arts has started a formal consultation process with its Bright Light employees over the proposed closure of the studio," said an EA spokesperson. "The proposed changes will help centralise development on future projects, reduce development costs and will allow for better knowledge and talent sharing within the organisation."

The spokesperson said EA aimed to minimise job losses. "Employees that are impacted will be considered for positions at other EA Studios including those in the UK," they said. "The UK is a vital centre of game development for EA and we intend to maintain a strong presence here."

As well as the hugely successful Harry Potter games, Bright Light was responsible for massive hits like Theme Park, Syndicate, Populous, and Dungeon Keeper, when it was part of Bullfrog Productions. Those names should set the nostalgia glands throbbing of a few older gamers. It began its current incarnation in 1995, when it was known as the EA UK Studio. In 2007 EA gave Bright Light a new identity, primarily making games for young audiences and families for the EA Play label.

It also produces games for Nintendo, and developed Need For Speed Shift for the PSP, so this closure will impact gamers of all types.

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