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Codemasters picks up SEGA Racing Studio

There was quite a lot of surprise throughout the Industry when it was recently revealed that SEGA Europe would be closing its Birmingham, UK-based development house ‘SEGA Racing Studio’ after only three years in existence. It was consequently believed that the sixty-strong team would be shut down completely, thus making its employees redundant and putting a halt on the numerous projects that were underway following the release of SEGA Rally Revo last year.

Following the release of the resurrected SEGA Rally franchise across PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PlayStation Portable late last year (as can be seen in the video clip below to get a feel for what the team can achieve), it was expected to be the first of many racing-related products from the talented team. SEGA responded to the Press, many of which were strongly questioning the decision, by stating the following to Next-Gen:

“”The decision is part of a review of Sega’s Western Development Studios to ensure that each studio is a profitable entity in its own right. Unfortunately the Sega Racing Studios 5 year plan would not result in a successful return for the Sega business moving forward. Sega would like to stress that there will be no changes within their other internal development studios.”

However, it seems the doom and gloom is about to lift somewhat as UK developer Codemasters has swooped in to save the day and keep the Solihull-based studio alive, although it can only offer jobs to just over forty of the current staff, according to reports. Codemasters has been quoted as saying the hasty move is “‘an agreement that facilitates accelerated growth’ in the output of Codemasters in the racing genre, of which the company already has massive hits with the Colin McRae and TOCA Race Driver franchises (as seen with the recent DiRT release, as well as upcoming multi-format title Race Driver: Grid).

This now takes the head-count at Codemasters to over the three-hundred and fifty mark, and in response to the new deal, Rod Cousens, the Chief Executive Office of Codemasters said,

In seizing this opportunity, we have created additional resources to escalate our plans in the racing segment. We hope to welcome more than 40 people to the company and we have enjoyed the full co-operation of our friends at Sega in making this happen. It is good business for Codemasters, an exciting prospect and there will be more to come as we are not content to stand still.”

But what could the SEGA Racing Studio be enlisted to work on? Will it continue the projects it was currently working on before SEGA attempted to shut it down, or could Codemasters be looking to resurrect something like the Micro Machines franchise, which has basically been dead in the water for many years now, with each successive release failing to inspire journalists, nor capture the attention of general consumers.

Be sure to share your speculation on what the team might get up to by posting in the comments section below…

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One comment on 'Codemasters picks up SEGA Racing Studio'

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Comment by Taggsta on 2008-04-26 21:20:52 | Reply

Real shame that Sega Rally didnt make a good jump to to the next gen consoles. Sega Rally and the Saturn and Dreamcast were great.

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