Pandemic Studios

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pandemic Studios, LLC
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryVideo games
Founded1998; 26 years ago (1998)
  • Andrew Goldman
  • Josh Resnick
DefunctNovember 17, 2009 (2009-11-17)
Key people
Number of employees
200+ (2009)

Pandemic Studios, LLC was an American video game developer based in Westwood, Los Angeles. Andrew Goldman and Josh Resnick founded the studio in 1998 after leaving Activision. Pandemic Studios, alongside BioWare, was acquired in 2005 by Elevation Partners and placed under VG Holding Corp., which in 2007 was sold to Electronic Arts (EA). EA closed Pandemic Studios in 2009. Pandemic Studios is known for a variety of titles, including Full Spectrum Warrior, Star Wars: Battlefront, Dark Reign 2, Destroy All Humans!, Mercenaries, and The Saboteur.


Pandemic was formed in 1998 by president Josh Resnick and CEO Andrew Goldman, both formerly of Activision, along with most of the original team members that worked on Battlezone and Dark Reign: The Future of War.[1] The studio was founded with an undisclosed equity investment by Activision.[2] The company name was narrowed down from around six choices, including Seismic.[1] In the end, Pandemic was chosen as the name.[1] Pandemic's first two games, Battlezone II and Dark Reign 2, were both sequels to the aforementioned games for Activision.

In 2000, Pandemic opened a development studio in Brisbane, Australia, within the suburb of Fortitude Valley, whose first project was Army Men: RTS, a real-time strategy console game using the Dark Reign 2 engine. Destroy All Humans! was the studio's next game. In 2003, the Los Angeles studio moved from its founding location at Santa Monica to a high-rise building in Westwood.

In November 2005, a partnership was announced between Pandemic and Canada's BioWare, with private equity fund Elevation Partners investing in the partnership. Both companies retained their brands and identities.[3] On October 11, 2007, it was announced that VG Holding Corp., BioWare and Pandemic's owner, would be acquired by Electronic Arts as of January 2008, subject to FTC approval.[4]

In February 2009, the Brisbane office was shut down.[5] Nine months later, in November, EA cut a total of 1,500 jobs, which affected various studios, including Pandemic. On November 17, EA officially confirmed Pandemic's closure, laying off 228 employees. The company absorbed 35 Pandemic employees into its EA Los Angeles studio to support The Saboteur and an unannounced project which was later revealed to be Mercs Inc, a sequel to the Mercenaries series.[6][7] In response, four former employees of the studio created an Office Space-style video, where they are shown smashing their office printer.[8]

Over a dozen former Pandemic developers are now employed at 343 Industries having worked on Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 4.[9] Other former employees have gone to work for Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Respawn Entertainment (who EA would later acquire in 2017), Blendo Games and many others.


Zero[10] is the common name for the evolution of the proprietary game engine created by Pandemic Studios. It was used first in the game Battlezone II: Combat Commander and later used in several Star Wars games including the popular Battlefront series. Battlezone II: Combat Commander and Dark Reign 2 both feature an in-engine editor accessible via commands.[11] It was given additional 3D functionality with Dark Reign 2,[12] which was further improved upon for Army Men: RTS.[13]

The engine was revamped for Star Wars: The Clone Wars to accommodate consoles and third person gameplay.[10] The engine was again retooled for Star Wars: Battlefront and the level editor was made a separate entity from the game engine. A set of modding tools including ZeroEdit, the new level creation tool, were released for use with Star Wars: Battlefront on December 23, 2004. An updated version of the tools were released on February 2, 2006 for Star Wars: Battlefront II. Pandemic used Zero as their primary engine for several of their games developed in their Los Angeles, California studio. Havok physics engine capabilities were integrated with Zero for Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction.[14] A new engine was built for 2008's Mercenaries 2: World in Flames.[11]

Games developed[edit]

Year Title Platform(s)
1999 Battlezone II: Combat Commander Microsoft Windows
2000 Dark Reign 2
2002 Triple Play 2002 PlayStation 2, Xbox
2002 Army Men: RTS Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, GameCube
2002 Star Wars: The Clone Wars GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox
2004 Full Spectrum Warrior Xbox, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2
2004 Star Wars: Battlefront Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, macOS
2005 Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction PlayStation 2, Xbox
2005 Destroy All Humans!
2005 Star Wars: Battlefront II Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox
2006 Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox
2006 Destroy All Humans! 2 PlayStation 2, Xbox
2008 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
2009 The Lord of the Rings: Conquest Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
2009 The Saboteur Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360



  1. ^ a b c Keefer, John (March 31, 2006). "GameSpy Retro: Developer Origins, Page 6 of 19". GameSpy. Archived from the original on June 9, 2007.
  2. ^ Meyer, Bill (June 12, 1998). "Activision Invests: Pandemic Studios". Archived from the original on October 10, 1999. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  3. ^ "Bioware & Pandemic Merge". November 3, 2005. Archived from the original (News) on September 29, 2007.
  4. ^ "EA To Acquire BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios". Business Wire. Berkshire Hathaway. October 11, 2007. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  5. ^ "Pandemic Brisbane Shut Down". February 11, 2009. Retrieved February 12, 2009.
  6. ^ Stephen Totilo (November 24, 2009). "EA Makes Mercs Inc, A New "Pandemic" Game, Official [UPDATE]". Kotaku. Retrieved November 21, 2009.
  7. ^ Brian Crecente (November 17, 2009). "Confirmed: EA Closes Pandemic Studios, Says Brand Will Live On". Kotaku. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  8. ^ Kotaku (November 23, 2009). "Pandemic Studios Says Goodbye Geek Gangsta Style". Kotaku. Retrieved November 23, 2009.
  9. ^ "Microsoft hires ex-Pandemic members for new Halo game". November 21, 2010. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  10. ^ a b Star Wars: The Clone Wars "making of" video
  11. ^ a b Fahs, Travis (December 17, 2009). "IGN Presents the History of Pandemic". IGN. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  12. ^ Kasavin, Greg (February 2, 2012). "Dark Reign 2 Impressions". GameSpot. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  13. ^ Walker, Trey (November 9, 2011). "Hands-on Army Men: RTS". GameSpot. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  14. ^ Kasavin, Greg (May 12, 2004). "Mercenaries E3 2004 Preshow Impressions". GameSpot. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  15. ^ "Screwing Up Batman". 17 January 2009.
  16. ^ Luke Plunkett (November 15, 2010). "Your First (And Last) Look At Mercenaries 3". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  17. ^ Gilbert, Ben (January 8, 2009). "Canceled Pandemic Wii title wanted to be 'The Next Big Thing". Engadget. Verizon Media. Retrieved May 21, 2019.

External links[edit]