Sony Liverpool, the company responsible for creating the Wipeout franchise, has been closed. An update on the firm's Facebook page today confirmed the closure after nearly 30 years of operation, effective immediately. It is not clear how many staffers were affected, but Eurogamer reports that Sony will attempt to relocate those impacted to other studios.
In a statement provided to the site, Sony explained that it decided to shut down Sony Liverpool after a regular review found that changes needed to be made to remain viable in an "increasingly competitive marketplace."
"It has been decided that Liverpool Studio should be closed," reads a line from the statement. "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."
The studio was established in 1984 as Psygnosis, before being picked up by Sony in 1993 and rebranded. The firm developed launch titles for every PlayStation format ever released. Most recently, Sony Liverpool developed the warmly received PlayStation Vita game Wipeout 2048.
In addition, Sony Liverpool is home to Sony's European quality assurance outfit. This division was not affected by the closure of the Wipeout studio.
Eurogamer reports that the firm was at work on multiple titles for the PlayStation 4, including a new Wipeout entry and a Splinter Cell-style action game. The new Wipeout title reportedly had been in development for 12-18 months, and was to be "dramatically different."
As for the Splinter Cell-style project, this game supposedly began its life as a gangster-style title before morphing into something resembling the popular Ubisoft franchise. It also reportedly used motion capture technology similar to that used by Team Bondi for L.A. Noire.