In Texas, a record-breaking winter storm has led to blackouts across the Lone Star state. As millions of Texans struggle to stay warm as well as obtain access to food and water, a number of major game studios in the state have temporarily closed down.
In statements to Kotaku, EA, Aspyr Media, Certain Affinity, and Owlchemy Labs said they had shut down operations in Texas, even as most employees are working from home. In an email to Kotaku, EA, which has 700 employees in the state, said:
“We’ve temporarily closed Electronic Arts operations in Austin to allow for those employees to prioritize and focus on their safety and that of their families. All other EA studios remain operational and are supporting the Austin team during this time. We place our teams first and continue to perform daily wellness check-ins with employees to assess their safety and offer any support and resources.”
The resources provided by EA include hotel accommodations for employees facing “extreme challenges,” as well as “transportation options to deliver emergency supplies to employees in critical need.”
Meanwhile, Aspyr co-founder Ted Staloch said that the Austin-based publisher had also closed “so that our employees can focus on the well-being and safety of their families.” The publisher, however, was able to announce the release of Stubbs The Zombie on Wednesday with support from “many teams outside of Aspyr.”
Owlchemy, the Austin-based studio behind VR games like Job Simulator, Vacation Simulator, and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, has also shuttered its operations. CEO Devin Reimer said in a statement to Kotaku:
“We have chosen to prioritize the health and safety of our team this week and have halted operations until power and water [are]restored. The team is working cooperatively to care for one another as best they can by providing shelter, water, food, and power to those in need.”
Certain Affinity, an indie studio based in Austin that’s co-developed series like Halo, Call of Duty, and Doom, halted its operations last week with CEO Max Hoberman stating, “No one warned any of us about the potential for widespread or prolonged outages. There still has not been coherent communication or assistance at a state level, though leaders and civic organizations in Austin are stepping up to the best of their ability.”
Other studios that have shut down include, Activision Blizzard, which has an Austin campus, and Stoic, the developer behind The Banner Saga, while Gearbox, the creator of Borderlands, remains partially open, and Cloud Imperium Games, which has backup power systems in place, is up and running.
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