What just happened? Moving Picture Company (MPC) Vancouver, the animation studio that played a “significant role” in redesigning Sonic the Hedgehog for the upcoming movie, has shut down. According to reports, an email sent to staff blamed local "increasing external market pressures" for the closure, as well as more attractive opportunities in other locations.
Following the outcry at the weird-looking Sonic, who appeared in the first trailer back in April, director Jeff Fowler promised that changes would be made. The amount of work required meant the movie’s release date was pushed back three months to February 2020, which reportedly still required a huge amount of crunch to get the job finished. PlayStation Lifestyle writes that an alleged former employee used Reddit to reveal the crunch was due to working on two “infamous projects” over the last few months.
“We’ve all put in extreme hours wrapping two infamous projects in the last couple of months. We’ve done multiple weeks without a day off, regular 17+ hour shifts to the point that most of us are seriously sleep deprived and are suffering still,” read the now-deleted post.
It’s not known how many staff will be left out of work. At its peak in 2013, the studio hired 800 people. CBC News writes that there’s no word on whether MPC-operated studios in Montreal, London, Los Angeles, and Bangalore, India will be affected.
In addition to creating a much less horrific Sonic, MPC has been responsible for the VFX on Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lion King, Life of Pi, Blade Runner 2049, and many more. The company was a member of the Interactive and Digital Media Trade Association of B.C, which educates students about the industry.