It’s been a pretty weird week for news so far. Especially in terms of jobs. Yesterday, EA announced that fifty people were being laidoff from PopCap, in addition to announcing Plants Vs Zombies 2. Shortly after that though saw an announcement that was a bit more surprising – Sony announced that they would be closing off Wipeout (or wipEout, if you prefer) developers Studio Liverpool.
The reasoning for the move comes as Sony plan to restructure their UK properties. Though it should be noted that Sony aren’t fully closing down the studio – but they’ll no longer be developing their own games. Speaking specifically, Sony put out a statement (via Giant Bomb) which explains a bit more:
“As part of SCE Worldwide Studios, we do regular reviews to ensure that the resources we have can create and produce high quality, innovative and commercially viable projects in an increasingly competitive market place. As part of this process, we have reviewed and assessed all current and planned projects for the short and medium term and have decided to make some changes to our European Studios.
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.
Our Liverpool Facility will continue to operate, housing a number of other vital WWS!E and SCEE Departments.
This should not take anything away from the great work WWS are doing and the incredible games and services that we have made, and continue to make, both for this coming year and further in the future.”
Where it gets really shocking was just how long Studio Liverpool had been around for. You may know them best as the developer formerly known as Psygnosis, and had been around since 1984 – and have done so much crazy work. From working on Lemmings (as a publisher), Shadow of the Beast, Destruction Derby, quite a few acclaimed Formula 1 games and of course, Wipeout – they were definitely one of the more special developers out there.
Pour a forty out for them, chuck on some Wipeout HD or 2048 (their final game) and mourn one of the last great British developers.