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Sweatshop HD developer Littleloud closes doors (update)

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Littleloud closes shop

Brighton-based studio, Littleloud — best known for its work on the browser and iOS game Sweatshop HD as well as animated shorts The Curfew and The Diary of Anne Frank — is shutting down, according to a post on its website.

The studio's creative director, Darren Garrett wrote: "All good things must come to an end, and after thirteen years as one of the UK's MOST AMAZING creative game and animation studios, we have decided to take our bow and say farewell.

"As anyone who's done it can tell you, it's hard work running a studio, and after a year of ups and downs, it felt like the right time to let it go and explore other creative ventures."

The post goes on to thank the people who have contributed to the studio over the years and states that the studio's last game — iOS title Sticks and Stones — is still in the works, and the studio aims to get it "out in the next few months."

No explicit reason was given for the studio's closure and there has been no word on what will happen to its employees.

Littleloud is a BAFTA-winning studio that primarily took on projects from Britain's Channel 4, BBC Learning, BBC Radio and various film studios. Its most recent game — Sweatshop HD, an iOS port of its browser-based game, Sweatshopwas removed from the iTunes App Store in March for violating Apple's guidelines. The strategy management game puts players in the shoes of a manager of a sweatshop, where they have to hire, fire, exploit and abuse workers in order to maintain an efficient factory. Apple removed the game from the app store because it was "uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop," Littleloud's head of games Simon Parkin said in a statement at the time.

Update: Littleloud's creative director Darren Garrett responded to Polygon's request for comment by explaining that the studio's closure is the "cumulative effect of many things rather than any one thing in particular."

"The pulling of Sweatshop HD from the App Store was certainly incredibly disappointing on many levels, but it would be inaccurate to lay the blame squarely at the foot of that unfortunate event," he said via email. "The point came where we really thought it best to call it a day and give everyone the chance to exit gracefully rather than the uncertainty of pitching for further work. The people at the company have always been the most important aspect of Littleloud and over the closing weeks they have all been brilliant, working hard up to the moment the doors closed to land the ship as gracefully as possible."

Garrett said most of the studio's employees have gone on to find work already, while he and Simon Parkin are working to finish the studio's last game, Sticks and Stones.