The game development team at Studio Liverpool, one of Europe’s longest-running game studios was closed by its parent company Sony yesterday, without any prior warning and in the process cancelling all games in production. Among them were two rumored titles due to be released for the upcoming PlayStation 4 games console.
According to unnamed sources speaking to Eurogamer, the two affected PS4 titles include Wipeout, which has been in production for the last 12-18 months, and another title said to be a “Splinter Cell style game.” Sony will retain the rights to the Wipeout franchise but its long-term future is uncertain.
The studio first opened its doors in 1984 as Psygnosis, an independent developer and publisher who went on to release Obliterator and Shadow of the Beast in the 80s before hitting the headlines in the 90s with the publishing of DMA Designs’ Lemmings titles. In 1993 Sony acquired the gaming firm in a bid to bolster its game console ecosystem, before incorporating it into their Sony brand and renaming it Studio Liverpool in 1999.
Sudio Liverpool's most recent work includes the release of Wipeout 2048 for Sony’s PlayStation Vita handheld, and they also took part in extensive testing of the device during its development. The decision by Sony to shutter the studio will not affect the other departments, and although it’s still currently unconfirmed, the Guardian has been informed that the game developers will be relocated to other studios in the UK.
Sony’s full statement is below.
It has been decided that Liverpool Studio should be closed. Liverpool Studio has been an important part of SCE Worldwide Studios since the outset of PlayStation, and have contributed greatly to PlayStation over the years. Everyone connected with Liverpool Studio, past and present, can be very proud of their achievements.
However, it was felt that by focusing our investment plans on other studios that are currently working on exciting new projects, we would be in a stronger position to offer the best possible content for our consumers.