Gamasutra reports that Electronic-Arts owned PopCap video game studio has issued a round of layoffs and closed down one of its international studios.
Electronic Arts purchased PopCap last year for around $1.3 billion, after the company refused sale to the troubled Zynga. Electronic Arts has recently been up for sale, quietly, with multiple investors and IPOs interested in acquiring the company. Whether this has led to PopCap shutting the doors of some international arms or not, is anyone's guess.
PopCap's Dublin and Shanghai offices have either been closed down completely or have seen significant layoffs. The Seattle headquarters has lost fifty or so employees, as well. It is unclear as to whether the remaining international arms of PopCap will see the same kinds of layoffs in the same numbers, or whether restructuring will occur in the coming days. Prior to the layoffs, PopCap employed over four hundred workers, scattered at their various studios in San Francisco, Seattle, Shanghai, Dublin, Vancouver, Seoul and Tokyo.
The company recently announced that they are entering development on the long-awaited sequel to their smash-hit "Plants VS. Zombies," which tasked the player with defending their home from a zombie onslaught using only weaponized greenery. That game is slated for release in spring 2013, and whether or not it will follow the same formula of the original is up in the air. Rumors have been circulating that the game will be taking a wildly different approach this time around, and be more in-line with traditional first-person shooters.
With any luck, PopCap will enter a period of restructuring and be able to bring many of those laid off back into the fold. Should EA find itself a new owner, having PopCap available as its primary mobile arm to enter into the ever-growing smart phone space is surely an asset, as few companies have created the insanely addicting titles that PopCap has ("Bejeweled" and "Zuma" are two of their other top-tier mobile titles currently on the market).