Sony Closes Driveclub Developer Evolution Studios

Longstanding studio, which developed games across PS2, PS3 and PS4, is axed as part of wider restructure.

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Driveclub developer Evolution Studios has been closed by its parent company Sony. According to a statement issued to GameSpot, the closure was enacted as part of a restructure to its European studios.

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"Regular reviews take place throughout SCE Worldwide Studios, ensuring that the resources that we have in such a competitive landscape can create and produce high quality, innovative and commercially viable projects.

"As part of this process we have reviewed and assessed all current projects and plans for the short and medium term and have decided to make some changes to the European studios structure. It has been decided that Evolution Studio will close."

Sony said it will attempt to shift some developers from Evolution studios, which is also known for its work on the World Rally Championship and Motorstorm franchises, to other teams. It noted, however, that there will be some compulsory redundancies.

"Where possible we will try to reallocate people onto other projects," it said. "If appropriate opportunities are not possible within the company, we will assist staff in any way we can, including speaking with local employers and with other development companies.

"It is regrettable that this decision will lead to compulsory redundancies. We accept that this decision will mean that we risk losing high calibre staff but by focusing on other Studios that already have exciting new projects in development we believe we will be in a stronger position going forward and able to offer the best possible content of the highest quality for our consumers."

Paul Rustchynsky, director of Driveclub, posted a message addressing the closure on Twitter.

"Before I sign off to take a break and spend some time with my family I just wanted to say a few words," he said. "Firstly, a big, big thank you to all the fans that have supported us throughout Evo's storied history; we couldn't have achieved what we did without you.

"Thank you to Sony who helped Evo rise to the top tier of racing game teams in the world, working as a first party team has been a fantastic experience.

"Last but certainly not least: A massive thank you to the whole team at Evo, it truly has been an honour to work with such a talented, passionate and determined group of people. I hope you will all join me in celebrating Evolution by picking up a pad, throwing on your favourite Evo game, and giving us a victory lap."

Evolution community manager Jamie Brayshaw also released a statement on Evolution's closure, confirming that Driveclub will continue to be supported by other teams at PlayStation.

"It's the end of an incredible era for Evolution Studios," Brayshaw wrote. "Driveclub will live on under the care of the awesome team at PlayStation and we hope it will continue to thrive in their safe hands and with continued support from all of you, the players, our community.

"Community has always been at the heart of everything we've worked hard for at Evo. Your endless enthusiasm, support, honesty, and energy was always our biggest motivator. You all helped Evo to become one of the greatest racing gaming studios in the world, and we can't thank you enough for that. You will continue to inspire us while we all take a little break and work out what we're going to do next ... Thank you once more, for everything. The best is yet to come."

Since its launch in October 2014, Driveclub sold over 2 million copies. Although the game was initially criticised for being a barebones experience at launch, Evolution has released numerous content updates and, over time, it has improved significantly.

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Avatar image for sargentpsgamer

Being honest here, the only reason they were not closed sooner is because Sony was milking Driveclub for every little penny they could get back. If they closed the studio earlier, Driveclub would have bombed even harder.

Avatar image for PETERAKO

Its a repeating pattern. Advertise a slew of social features, make a botched release.

Avatar image for RicanV

They tried.

Driveclub shaped up to be great but it happened too late. Add to that the delayed free version and you're going to have problems.

Avatar image for deactivated-5c0b07b32bf03

This is not surprising for a couple reasons.

Firstly, though DC is a finished, solid game now, it took way too long to get to that point. The botched launch cost Sony a lot of money and time. Major publishers do not forget or easily forgive something like that, even if the developer has been around a while.

The second reason has to do with Microsoft, which I'm not bringing up because of some fanboy garbage. I'm bringing it up because it is a valid point. Microsoft has gained a reputation as being a place where developers go to die--even previously successful developers with promising futures. Why it happens, who really knows for sure. Lately, yet another big name developer connected with MS bit the dust. Sony is undoubtedly aware of the situation, and may have somewhat tactfully chosen the present moment, while the negative spotlight is on MS, to shut down Evolution Studios in an attempt to avoid any amount of bad press they can. From a strategic standpoint, Sony has made the right move.

And I'll throw this in there, too. Sony is wildly successful at the moment, and it looks to stay that way. Shutting down Evolution is more than 'cutting the fat'. It is a message to first party developers, as well as developers in general. The message is: 'get your shit together from the get go, because if you don't we'll get it together for you and toss you and all of your shit out the door'.

Avatar image for Immendorf

@reduc_ab_: wow, with this level of fanboyism, sony should hire you with that released resources, you'd do hell of a pr

Avatar image for deactivated-5c0b07b32bf03

@Immendorf: Fanboys are so quick to label other people fanboys, my word. See my reply to ExoticCharm below. If you still think I'm a fanboy, then you, my friend, are full of it.

Avatar image for ExoticCharm

@reduc_ab_: Finding another way to say "I know you are, but what am I" doesn't make you sound any more intelligent, my friend.

Your very own words from the VR article. You don't seem to take your own advice very often.

Avatar image for deactivated-5c0b07b32bf03

@ExoticCharm: And echoing me makes I'm flattered, really. But the point of the conversation seems to be lost on you.

Avatar image for greaseman1985

@reduc_ab_: Yeah, it's Microsoft's fault. Sony (and other publishers) have never shuttered development studios. Only fanboys can turn this around and somehow link it to Microsoft while say Sony is great.

Avatar image for ExoticCharm

@greaseman1985: Don't bother with Redub. He's a sony fanboy that's too dense to realize he's a fanboy. Just look at what he says in other topics if you need more proof. His whole soap box speech amounts to "When MS does X it's bad, but when Sony does X it's good". It's the same dribble that his ilk has been spouting for years.

He will never learn; he will just keep tossing childish insults when someone challenges him.

Avatar image for deactivated-5c0b07b32bf03

@ExoticCharm: No answer. See, that's what's wrong with your type. You just come here for a fight, so when it becomes apparent that the person you're labeling as a fanboy is not, in fact, a fanboy, you take off. Below, I gave you a reply that no fanboy on either side would give, and you ignore it. Classic.

Avatar image for deactivated-5c0b07b32bf03

@ExoticCharm: Huh? Dude, shutting down studios sucks, period. If Sony did it now to hide under the radar a little bit because MS just did it, then I think it's a horrible thing for Sony to do. Sony does just as much evil as MS. I think both companies are full of shit, personally. It has nothing to do with the consoles themselves. The XB1 is a good console; the PS4 is too. Both have their own advantages. On the other hand, both MS and Sony are evil corporations. Both do shitty things. I accept that. I just want to play good games.

Now, would a Sony fanboy say all that? Ask yourself.

Avatar image for deactivated-5c0b07b32bf03

@greaseman1985: Way to completely ignore what I was trying to say, dude. No, this certainly is not MS's fault. You are either obtuse, or, well, you're probably obtuse.

Avatar image for greaseman1985

@reduc_ab_: I didn't ignore anything, it's clearly a fanboy comment. There was zero reason to even mention Microsoft. This has nothing to do with Microsoft. Sony and other publishers have closed down development studios long before Microsoft did.

Avatar image for deactivated-5c0b07b32bf03

@greaseman1985: Agreed, Sony shuts down studios. Just as much as Microsoft. I brought up Microsoft because I think their negative press of late influenced Sony to drop the bomb on Evolution right now, while everyone is looking at Microsoft. It's called being strategic. It has nothing to do with 'fanboy' anything.

I don't know why I'm even trying to explain this to you. I might as well be talking to an oddly shaped basketball.

Avatar image for Attitude2000

@reduc_ab_: I see where you're coming from, but I don't know if PR factors into closing development studios. Otherwise, why announce it?

Avatar image for deactivated-5c0b07b32bf03

@Attitude2000: You announce it so it doesn't come out without you announcing it, thus avoiding you looking like you're trying to pull a fast one. Get it?

Avatar image for Myron117

@reduc_ab_: What??! That doesn't even make sense dude. It makes it WORSE that Sony have done it now. If they had done it a few months later or something then it would just be a "Oh that's sad to hear, but the economy..." This is now just a DIRECT comparison. Case in point, your comments and everyone elses.

Avatar image for oflow

@Myron117: especially after Sony was taking digs at MS on twitter for doing the same thing.

Avatar image for deactivated-5c0b07b32bf03

@Myron117: I disagree. It's cool that you disagree with me. When someone does something negative, they create an aura of negativity around themselves. When someone else does the same thing, if the original aura is not yet dimmed, then the secondary aura appears less vividly. I know that sounds weird. Humor me.

Avatar image for PETERAKO

Let there be social nonsense, but there also be bankruptcy. Remember Maxis?

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

@PETERAKO: I do. They became the sims company and EA did EA to them. I have my original Sim City box and floppies.

Avatar image for greaseman1985

Suddenly I'm reminded of certain Sony fanboys' comments in an article last week that "If Sony was anything like Microsoft they'd close studios".........

Avatar image for rolento25

@greaseman1985: I guess their troll comment was successful, cause here you are still thinking about them.

Avatar image for solidsolo

let this be a lesson to devs when releasing broken games. DC was a complete disaster

Avatar image for greaseman1985

@solidsolo: Ubisoft hasn't gotten the memo.

Avatar image for xMansie

@greaseman1985: Or EA

Avatar image for spaced92

That's a shame, they were a pretty consistent racing dev for years. Driveclub was one bad moment in 15 years (and the main issue was a lack of content), unfortunately it was their most expensive game as well. That's the video game industry for you though.

Avatar image for suicidesn0wman

@spaced92: Same thing happened to Free Radical, one bad game and they fell off the face of the planet. Shows how fickle the industry can be due to the high cost of making games.

On a side note, Free Radical is now known as Dambuster Studios, devs behind Homefront: The Revolution. I'm sure Evo will undergo a similar transition where the staff and content doesn't change very much, just the studio name.

Avatar image for SpicyRamen10

Somehow I'm not surprised considering how much of a disaster DC was when it launched. It seemed like they genuinely cared and tried to improved their game over time, but alas it was not enough. I hope they all can find another job pretty soon.

On another note...what's going on this month? A lot of cancelled games and studios shutting down or layoffs...might as well call it "Death March" lol.

Avatar image for Vonrikken

Driveclub was nothing special from the get go, and just like lionhead, you make poor product, you should be restructured/closed. Trim the fat and bring on the lean an mean Sony

Avatar image for BassMan

Unfortunate, but not surprising. This is what happens when you release a broken racing game and have it only run at 30fps.

Avatar image for nurnberg

@BassMan: Driveclub is 60fps.

Avatar image for BassMan

@nurnberg: I wish you were right, but sadly it is 30fps.

Avatar image for bickle2

"We figured out that two horribly boring and unfun driving games were at least one to many. Hopefully Sega will release a new Daytona to teach us what doesn't suck."

There fixed that farewell speech

Avatar image for joshrmeyer

Didn't see this coming. Possibly the botched launch of drive club had something to do with it? Not sure if they had new games coming out anyways, but that sucks if they did.

Avatar image for sladey

Microsoft should make a huge conference and offer them jobs at Xbox, get on the bandwagon..

Avatar image for suicidesn0wman

@sladey: I'm sure they could take on a few people at Playground.

Avatar image for DefunktJunk

Damn, well this certainly sucks. I hope this isn't the last we see of Motorstorm. Would've been cool to see another on PS4.. Hell, even on PS VR would be pretty sweet.

Avatar image for beantownsean

Sympathy for the Devs now, then bash the Indie games they make later.

The studio The Molasses Flood is a perfect example of what happens when Devs get booted..

Avatar image for LPDisturbedHU

I wish luck to all of the developers and talented people over at Evolution Studios.

I hope you guys can find work easily and close to home.

Studio shutdowns are never fun, especially after Lionhead, Press Play, and now Evolution.

Avatar image for kyelo

Even though Driveclub is now a decent game, I suspect if the game was better at launch they'd still be standing.

Avatar image for Halloll

@kyelo: this is why games are reviewed at launch.

Avatar image for whatsazerg

@kyelo: I agree

Avatar image for myhomieyoda

well sucks for them

Avatar image for deactivated-5c1c32e0b8cc8

This is a real shame, especially since it's mainly a racing game studio. There's not enough of the racing genre nowadays. Thank you Evolution for bringing great games, countless hours of entertainment, and smiles to people all over the world, including me! I wish you the best of luck on your journey forward!

Avatar image for shibua

VR is the future for Sony

Avatar image for quinnd6

@shibua: Jeez I hope to heck not.

VR is overpriced and has no decent games scheduled for it at the moment.

If that's the case I'd have to sell my PS4 and get an Xbox one.

I don't want any freaking upgrades either I only bought the PS4 last year ffs.

Avatar image for sladakrobot

They closed Evolution Studios coz VR is the future for Sony?

Avatar image for Barighm

@sladakrobot: No, they closed because they want to ensure the creation of "high quality, innovative and commercially viable projects" going forward.

Which is funny because nobody really does innovative or high quality anymore. It's only truly about the commercially viable part.