Sony Computer Entertainment Restructuring Studio Liverpool

By Ishaan . January 29, 2010 . 11:52am

http://www.siliconera.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/wipeout_hd.jpg Sony Computer Entertainment are in the process of restructuring Studio Liverpool, the developer responsible for the wipEout franchise, according to a report at GamesIndustry.biz. In addition to the restructuring, production on several projects will “cease immediately.”

 

The restructuring is part of a “project prioritization” effort spearheaded by the Sony Worldwide Studios division, presided over by Shuhei Yoshida. While GI.biz were informed that staff removed from Liverpool would be re-allocated to other studios wherever possible, some lay-offs would, unfortunately, be necessary.

 

A public statement from Sony declared that, while Studio Liverpool was being restructured as part of a larger effort, Evolution Studios in Runcorn — the team behind MotorStorm — would not be affected.

 

Originally named Psygnosis, the Liverpool studio was acquired by Sony in 1993, shortly after which they began development of the wipEout games. In 1999, the Psygnosis brand was dropped in favour of the SCE Liverpool Studio name, and the smaller studios within Psygnosis were merged with the developers of the EyeToy to form the SCE London Studio, which developed the Singstar games. We wish them the very best of luck.


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  • malek86

    Weird. You are saying that Sony bought Psygnosis in 1993 (and that’s confirmed by their own press releases, which can still be found on the net). However, I clearly remember that Psygnosis has released a number of games for the Saturn, and something for the N64 too.So what’s up here? Did they get Sony to somehow allow them to make games for the competition?

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      I wondered about that, too. There was a wipEout on the N64, and on the PC as well. No idea how / why they were allowed to do that.

      • malek86

        The PC wasn’t really a competitor to the PSX (and the wiki says Wipeout was actually bundled with Sony Vaio’s), so it’s not really mind bending.

        I’m wondering more about their Wipeout and Destruction Derby releases for the Saturn and N64, which I’m pretty sure they worked on by themselves. Could it be that maybe Sony was still more interested about profits than about setting up their own brands at the time?

        By the way, Psygnosis was another of my favorites. Oh, the hours spent on DD2. The ’90s were the best times to be a PC gamer. After that, it’s all gone downhill. Alas, when will we have our revenge?

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          Yea, I grew up completely as a PC gamer. I didn’t get into Japanese RPGs (even though I watched a ton of anime growing up) until Pokémon. Destruction Derby 2, Carmageddon, Extreme G-2 (I owned the PC version) were all fantastic.

          Some other 90s PC stuff I spent YEARS of my life on: Outwars, Jazz Jackrabbit 2, Quake 2, Heretic 2…good times. Wish people still bothered optimizing properly for PCs…

    • http://twitter.com/ECMIM ECM

      This doesn’t entirely clear it up but, yes, Sony clearly let them develop for other platforms:

      http://news.spong.com/press_release/9707/Psygnosis-Confirms-Multi-Format-Strategy-for-Software-Games-Publishing

      It’s possible Psygnosis, at the time, wasn’t actually reporting to SCE and was managed by some other arm of Sony thus granting them a modicum of autonomy to seek profits where they could.

  • SlashZaku

    “Several Projects”? If there is a Colony Wars game there for PS3 (PSM rumored that they were working on one) and they’re ‘ceasing’ work on it, I’m going to be pissed.

  • edwinbradford

    Hi guys, I’m not sure its correct to say that SCE London Studio developed LittleBigPlanet? It was developed by Media Molecule which is comprised of ex-Lionhead staff. Media Molecule is based in Guildford, way outside London, I used to do that commute from London every day and hated it with a passion. Sony of course published the game, they may have bought the studio, I can’t remember but the team history and locations are different.

    Incidentally, I had an interesting conversation with an Electronic Arts manager who claimed to have been involved managing or producing the original WipeOut title. I’ll have to paraphrase but it was something like “…it was a nightmare, we wouldn’t do it that way again, Designers Republic kept on wanting to do really creative things and we had a tough time keeping them in line”.

    So there you have it. One of the defining games of its era “would not be done that way again” because it was too difficult to “manage” the design studio.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      Ack, that was a dumb error on my part. Don’t know what I was thinking…I knew fully well Media Molecule were behind LBP. Fixed! Thanks for pointing it out. :)

      The EA manager story about the original wipEout certainly is interesting. Edge had a little piece on the origin of the game a couple weeks ago, but I assume that wasn’t the complete story. Here it is: http://www.edge-online.com/magazine/the-making-of-wipeout

      Just curious: Were/are you at Media Molecule?

      • edwinbradford

        Hi Ishaan, I’m a huge fan of Siliconera, I don’t think I’ve missed a post for two years, please don’t be concerned about the error, you guys are amazing well informed :)

        I’ve no connection with Media Molecule, I worked at EA Guildford for two years followed by 6 months at Lionhead on their now announced Natal project, I’m now temporarily working at a small developer in Germany, its freezing cold with lots of snow.

        Guildford is now the main center for games development in the UK… unfortunately. My personal opinion is that for a creative industry to be truly creative on a large scale it needs to be based in a large thriving metropolis with a large pool of local talent from which to recruit like Tokyo.

        Sorry if I’m wandering off topic.

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          Thanks so much for the kind words. It’s always great to hear from someone on the development side that reads the site!

          I agree completely with your point on setting up studios in places where creative talent is easily accessible. I can’t speak for the UK, of course, but when I worked on the development side, we had a studio close to New Delhi in India, and talent was definitely hard to come by; most of it is down South.

          I guess this is why developers are flocking to Toronto all of a sudden!

          • edwinbradford

            …and tax breaks from what I hear. Canada gives big tax breaks to games companies. I hope it works out there, if Toronto became a real center for North American development it would be great for the creativity of the industry. A bit too cold for my tastes though.

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