Sony closes Wipeout studio

Liverpool developer shut down after nearly 30 years; studio was reportedly working on "dramatically different" Wipeout and Splinter Cell-style game for PlayStation 4.

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.

Sony Liverpool is no more.

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.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Want the latest news about WipEout 2048?

WipEout 2048

WipEout 2048

Follow

Discussion

123 comments
Szeiden
Szeiden

Well, there goes my plan to buy a PS4.

shantd
shantd

Hate to say it, but they have not been stepping up to the plate in recent years. Its been wipeout, wipeout, and more wipeout. In the last decade they've put out roughly 20 games, and appx. 75% of them were either a Wipeout or Formula One game. Other masterpieces include SingStar: The Wiggles, Cliff Diver, Table Soccer, and Fireworks.  In the last 6 years they've only contributed 2 games for the ps3.

 

It's never good to see a studio closed, but perhaps they should've been a bit more ambitious and they wouldn't be in this position. I don't blame Sony at all, their backing is better placed elsewhere.

Dogeatr00
Dogeatr00

Wipeout and Wipeout XL. How I miss those days! Along with Destruction Derby, these were PSX must haves!

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

It's always a shame when a studio gets shut down, but for it to be one that's contributed so much over the years; that really hurts. At the end of the day I suppose a sentimental business is a doomed business. (I feel dirty just writing those words.) Best of luck to all those at Sony Liverpool.

soulless4now
soulless4now

Such a shame since they've been around for so long. 

Hellhound30x
Hellhound30x

Sony shut it down because its not a call of duty clone studio house.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

How very, very sad..... I have played their games since the beginning. I can still see the beautiful graphics of the Owl perched on the Psygnosis letters that came with their old loading screens..... good times. I hope all the affected staff can find somewhere else and have another 30 years of success.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

The studio may be closing but there's still no word on the staff actually going.. and no-one has actually said that these projects are 'cancelled'.

 

Hopefully it's just a re-shuffle of resources, Wipeout is one of Sony's flagship titles and the Liverpool studio has incredible talent.

 

Usually these types of articles announce "staff laid off..." but thankfully there's nothing about that here.  I'll remain optimistic :)

Crib_Lizard
Crib_Lizard

G-Police, *sniff*, Colony Wars *Sob* *Sob* Wipeout *Sniff*

Thanks for some great games guys. You'll be missed.

tightwad34
tightwad34

Oh, Liverpool, you were the first kick-ass team I played with in FIFA. I will never forget you. Champions league champions. I know it's the Premiere league, but I think they also call it the Champions league. Anyway, poor Liverpool.

wencelaus
wencelaus

The first game I ever played by Psygnosis was a colorful side-scroller called Baal for the Commodore 64. The gameplay wasn't exactly ground-breaking, but the graphics were more elaborate and more creative than anything I'd seen before.

 

Excellent visuals have pretty much marked all succeeding games by this developer. Driving games like Wipeout are certainly fine, but driving isn't really what this studio was all about. I hope we haven't heard the last from this company.....

razgriz_101
razgriz_101

Closing a studio thats provided you with countless ne IP's (most of which apart from Wipeout fell into disuse) and a key part of the Playstation's brand success were reduced to a Formula 1 studio last gen which was a shame.

 

This gen, they produced some great wipeout games, and as i said one of the few sony studios with a rich history and commitment to make a good game.Yet studios like team ICO who are probably haemmorhaging money and historically never that profitable and never work to time scale manage to survive :S Sure team Ico is great but from a buisness standpoint they are horribly managed.

kyacat
kyacat

WOW I didn't see this coming dang Sony you're closing one best studio of the game industry and to the studio that made the game wipeout hope you guys find another job in game industry.

hadlee73
hadlee73

Sony Chairman: "Changes needed to be made to remain viable in this increasingly competitive marketplace."

Sith spy working for Microsoft: *hand gesture* "All we need to do is close one of our best studios..."

Sony Chairman: "All we need to do is close one of our best studios..." 

farcorners
farcorners

I got the very first Psygnosis Game. Brataccas, I think it was called. Kyle lives. There were cameras everywhere, spying on the player. It wasn't that great. Shadow of The Beast was the game that wowed everybody

X-RS
X-RS

WOW!!!

And I thought there was too LITTLE wipeout in the world.

rarson
rarson

Sad. I don't think they ever made a bad game. Great studio.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

Sad day for gaming when another legendary studio ceases to exist, hoping their legacy will live on in the current generation is unlikely, probably just get the crap milked out of everything they ever created.

Hopefully the people losing their jobs will get good ones elsewhere.

Hydrafiend
Hydrafiend

That Wipeout game for Vita is awesome-too bad.

Vodoo
Vodoo

Sony still thinks it's 1990 and they're at the top of the food chain. They think they can get away with offering a half-assed product at a premium price. That just ain't the case anymore. There's other companies offering better products for cheaper prices. Sony needs to humble themselves and realize they're not the pinnacle of the electronics world anymore. But Sony lives in the past and it's this type of thinking that's gonna be their downfall.

Dixavd
Dixavd

That's depressing. WipeOut is my favourite racing series. Hopefully those that have been moved get to continue to use their incredible racing-game-design in new projects. I wish them all well.

I also hope this isn't a precident to come for other UK-based studios. After seeing many studios close their doors in Japan and the US, I hope it doesn't happen to the UK and Europe as well

Diamondsoulz
Diamondsoulz

This game caused harm to my siblings in the PS1 days cause it SUCKED

Yulaw2000
Yulaw2000

That's sad news. They have made some fantastic games. I think Sony are making a mistake and I hope all the staff get properly compensated.

rasterror
rasterror

Another day, another Sony studio closing.  I've lost faith in Sony for a while and this is another reason why I'm skeptical about buying another Sony product. I know times are tough but Sony doesn't seem to know what to do with itself and seems like it's trying to rely on their old strategy and not evolving.  They're starting to become the Blackberry equivalent to the gaming room.

supermariomelee
supermariomelee

So there goes the chance for another Colony Wars game(unless Sony gets someone else to do it).

 

The industry seems to be struggling lately.  Since it seems like if a game doesn't have "football" or "Call of Duty" in the title, it doesn't sell that well.  Don't know if it's just everyone is burned out on video games, economy still in the crapper or what.  Seems like Sony is just making hard choices like other companies have had to do lately.  Although it's a shame to see this studio shuttered after all the fantastic games they've developed.

Nintyfan95
Nintyfan95

Finally the F-Zero Rip off is gone!

PillyChickle
PillyChickle

They were awesome before Sony bought them and ruined them.

flammablecrap
flammablecrap

For years I have been wanting  a new Gpolice with todays hardware but thats looking worse than ever now

CUDGEdave
CUDGEdave

Some great memories and great gaming days with Psygnosis and the fantastic machine that was the Amiga,"Walker" was a firm favourite of mine and still love it now,Shame I never finished "Blood Money" man that game was hard! ..sad to see but I salute the studio’s contributions to video gaming and hope the guys move on to find work elsewhere in the industry.

 

SolidTy
SolidTy

It's really unfortunate, but sadly the market just doesn't seem attracted to their types of games....although they get great scores, it's just a matter of sales not panning out. I was worried this was going to happen years ago actually.

RTHKI
RTHKI

 @danusty Look at Turn 10 and Polyphony Digital. Both one Franchise.

rarson
rarson

 @Vodoo 

 

Uh, Sony was not at the top of the food chain in 1990...

tightwad34
tightwad34

 @Diamondsoulz

 What did you do to your siblings? Did you do something out of rage because you were playing a bad game?

Dixavd
Dixavd

 @Nintyfan95 Funny coming from someone with a Sonic display picture. Eould have thought you would see that a copy can be distinct enough to bring something new to an idea as well.

rasterror
rasterror

 @SolidTy I agree.  but have you ever seen Sony's marketing?  They're terrible at trying to sell their products. 

tightwad34
tightwad34

 @Phil-teh-Pirate

 I just saw Liverpool in the title and their soccer team was the first thing that came to mind. Anyway it is very unfortunate for those who lost their jobs and I hope they are able to find work very soon if they choose so..

kyacat
kyacat

 @Dixavd  

I think Nintyfan95 need the brush on his game history and know that wipeout for first playstation came out way before F-Zero for the gamecube

kyacat
kyacat

Well it looksl ike I also have to brush up on racing game history to and I totally forgot about F-Zeo on snes

both games rock and this coming from nonfan of racing games

littleb75
littleb75

 @kyacat  @Dixavd what about the f-zero for snes? O yeah, the playstation one before the snes. anyway, both games rocked, wipeout rocked harder.