Electronic Arts, renowned for its sports franchises and an erstwhile publishing deal with Squaresoft that fizzled in the late 90s, has reportedly gobbled up one of its satellite development houses, Origin Systems. Origin, best known for its Ultima and Wing Commander franchises, will be relocated from its digs in Austin, Texas, to EA headquarters, with staff being given a choice between a severance package or relocation to California.
Origin is not the first EA holding to be merged with the company proper; Westwood has fallen by the wayside, and Maxis will be brought closer to the fold as part of the company's restructuring scheme centered around the establishment of a new development campus in Los Angeles.
While it appears fairly certain that this move will come to pass, EA itself has yet to confirm the shutdown. When reached for comment, Glen O'Connell, an EA spokesperson, noted that "EA is constantly evaluating best-practices and structures for our worldwide operations. At this time, we have no changes to announce."
Whether these changes will have any impact on the company's current projects, most notable among them the upcoming MMORPG Ultima X, remains to be seen. RPGamer will continue to watch this situation as it develops.