The demise of British development studios is becoming an all-too-frequent occurrence following Realtime Worlds closure in September 2010, Bizarre Creations in February 2011, and a host of others in between. Now Cohort Studios' staff has joined the ranks of the unemployed, as it has announced immediate closure, ceasing of development operations and the redundancy of 25 employees.
Cohort Studios was a small business, most famous for its involvement with MotorStorm, Burnout Paradise and PlayStation Move launch title The Shoot. Lol Scragg, CEO of Cohort, stated that, "It really is with great sadness that we have been left with no alternative but to start winding down." The studio's final game was set for release this week as a PlayStation Mini title--Me Monstar: Hear Me Roar!. Due to continued problems surrounding the PlayStation Network, however, this release is likely to be delayed.
TIGA--one of the two trade associations representing the UK games industry and historically the voice of UK developers--stated that the closure of Cohort Studios was part of a wider problem. TIGA voiced its disappointment regarding the government's failure to undertake in a comprehensive assessment to determine the benefits of games tax relief. Talking to GameSpot UK, TIGA's CEO, Dr. Richard Wilson, emphasized that while there were no guarantees Cohort Studios could have been saved, certain measures could have been put in place to try to avoid such unfortunate circumstances.
Dr. Wilson urged the government to consider setting up a Creative Content Fund, which would help smaller studios gain access to finance by splitting the budget and costs. He also pointed out the importance for greater support in investment for skills and training in specialist areas, such as the video game industry.