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Midway Games cuts staff by 25%

'Mortal Kombat' team unaffected by layoffs

Midway Games has laid off 25% of its staff and cancelled several projects in early development in a bid to cut costs as a massive $150 million debt payment looms.

January deadline for all of Midway’s outstanding notes was triggered when Sumner Redstone sold the struggling videogame publisher to private investor Mark Thomas several weeks ago.

Cost cutting is part of a broader effort by Midway to improve its financial position as it works with advisory firm Lazard to find a way to pay off or renegotiate its debts, for which it doesn’t currently have enough cash to pay.

Layoffs of 180 staffers will result in the closing of Midway’s Austin, Texas, studio, with the rest coming from a small San Diego office and the company’s Chicago headquarters. Publisher is also suspending several games in early development for 2010 and 2011 and looking for partners to buy or help fund those games going forward.

Cuts won’t impact the development team that works on “Mortal Kombat,” Midway’s most successful and valuable franchise. The recently released “Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe” debuted as the No. 3 game for PlayStation 3 and No. 8 game for Xbox 360 in November, making it a lone bright spot for the company in recent months.

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