Wipeout series developer, Studio Liverpool, have been shut down by Sony, the team confirmed today via the Wipeout 2048 Facebook page, following rumours of their closure. A message on the page reads:
As some of you may have heard Sony have chosen to close Studio Liverpool as of today.
This page will no longer be maintained by the WipEout Team.
We have loved making every game, every minute and every one of you. Keep the faith, keep loving WipEout.
Thank you for everything, Pilots. It’s been an amazing journey and we’ll miss you.
Studio Liverpool was founded in 1984, under the the name Psygnosis. In 1993, the studio was acquired by Sony to help develop games for the original PlayStation. This led to the development of the Wipeout series, which would become part of the PlayStation brand’s legacy in the years to come.
Today’s closure isn’t the first time Studio Liverpool have seen tough times. In 2010, Sony restructured the studio, laying off some employees and re-allocating others to different studios. Production was ceased on numerous projects as part of a “project prioritization” effort.
A statement from Sony states that the decision to shut Studio Liverpool down was made after a regular review of all studios under Sony Computer Entertainment. The studio is being shut down in order to allow Sony to focus their investment in their other studios that are working on “exciting new projects”. Employees will be re-allocated where possible, but lay-offs are part of the plan as well. Additionally, while the development studio itself is being closed, other portions of the Liverpool campus will continue to function, such as finance and localization departments.
Earlier this year, Sony also shut down SOCOM developer, Zipper Interactive. Prior to this, in January, they closed down BigBig Studios, developers of Little Deviants and MotorStorm: Arctic Edge for PSP. Looking back to 2011, a large number of employees were also let go from Sony Online Entertainment, after development of The Agency, an ambitious MMO for PC and PlayStation 3, was cancelled.
No mention has been made of what will become of the Wipeout franchise. If you’re interested, you can view an excellent retrospective of the series and Studio Liverpool’s accomplishments in the video below, put together by one of the members of the Wipeout Zone forums: