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Studio Liverpool closed, WipEout dev’s projects canned

Wednesday, 22nd August 2012 11:40 GMT By Dave Cook

WipEout developer Studio Liverpool has been closed and all of its projects cancelled, Sony has confirmed. Sony has also issued a statement explaining the outfit’s closure, and has cancelled all of the studio’s projects including – according to fresh rumours – a next-gen WipEout game for PS4.

Sony’s Studio Liverpool

Best known for PlayStation’s WipEout series.

Began life as Psygnosis in 1984.

Catalogue includes Shadow of the Beast, G-Police, the Colony Wars games and Destruction Derby.

Final game was Vita launch title WipEout 2048.

Rumours of Studio Liverpool’s demise began with a post at the GR Arcade forums.

Sony then issued a statement confirming the closure:

“As part of SCE Worldwide Studios, we do regular reviews to ensure that the resources we have can create and produce high quality, innovative and commercially viable projects in an increasingly competitive market place. As part of this process, we have reviewed and assessed all current and planned projects for the short and medium term and have decided to make some changes to our European Studios.

“It has been decided that Liverpool Studio should be closed. 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. Our Liverpool Facility will continue to operate, housing a number of other vital WWS!E and SCEE Departments.

“This should not take anything away from the great work WWS are doing and the incredible games and services that we have made, and continue to make.”

“Honoured to have been a part of it”

Studio Liverpool’s Sandy Lobban took to Twitter to express his gratitude for his time spent working at the studio: “End of an era today for Studio Liverpool. Honoured to have been a part of it.”

Sony Studio Liverpool began life as Psygnosis in 1984, and earned itself a solid track record for making and publishing fun and technically advanced titles across a range of formats. One of its largest and long-standing publishing deals was DMA Design’s Lemmings series and its several successful spin-offs.

Famed for iconic classics such as Shadow of the Beast, Colony Wars, G-Police, Puggsy and the Discworld games, Psygnosis hit a real stride on PlayStation with the launch of Destruction Derby, catapulting it in front of new audiences and earning the studio worldwide acclaim.

The studio’s biggest hitter however, was the futuristic 1995 racer WipEout. The game’s pounding dance soundtrack and eclectic art style helped Sony underline PlayStation as the stylish new console on the market, allowing it to break the teen and young adult markets.

Many regard WipEout’s gravitation towards licensed music as the catalyst for signed and named artists being used in games today. The trend would continue and evolve with sequels Wipeout 2097 and Wipeout 3, solidifying the franchise’s dominance over the futre racing genre.

Many tried to topple WipEout, but few could match its pace, style and exemplary design, as bolstered by design collective, The Designer’s Republic. It wasn’t long until Psygnosis was ushered into the Sony family and was rebranded as Sony Studio Liverpool

On to PSP, PS3 and PS Vita, the WipEout series would remain consistently popular, carving out a niche of its own that no one rival studio could challenge. The popularity and sheer quality of PS Vita launch title WipEout 2048 proved that right up until its closure, Studio Liverpool had a strong talent base, keen eye for expert design and a dedication to quality experiences.

The studio’s closure marks the end of one of Britain’s longest-running and celebrated studios, and our thoughts go out to all employees who have been affected by today’s closure.

Breaking news

26 Comments

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  1. Gheritt White

    What?!?!? No more WipEout?????

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Razor

    Pysgnosis :(

    #2 2 years ago
  3. locus2k1

    ‘Tis a sad day in anti-grav racing, its most current release is still one of the best games on the Vita.

    All the best to the development team.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Dragon246

    Shocking to say the least. Unlike zipper, their games were well reviewed and sold well. I hope they buy a new studio soon to continue this franchise and not outsource it like resistance to nihilistic.
    This loss of sony is the gain of other racing franchises as liverpool had some of the best people on racing.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. mojo

    sadface

    #5 2 years ago
  6. AHA-Lambda

    Holy shit, didn’t think this day would come :(

    #6 2 years ago
  7. KrazyKraut

    That makes me really sad. Wipeout 2097 and Wipeout HD are two of my fave games. Hope their legacy will live on.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Johnny Cullen

    :’(

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Dave Cook

    Terrible news, another talented British studio down :(

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Gadzooks!

    That’s pretty shitty. Wipeout was one of the few games I actually enjoyed on the PS3.

    That kind of talent didn’t deserve to be shackled to Sony anyway. Here’s hoping they can strike out on their own and create some new IPs with some of that good ol’ Psygnosis magic!

    #10 2 years ago
  11. DrDamn

    What else were they working on? Anyone know? Love Wipeout but as a series I thinks it’s run it’s course. Obviously some very talented people there though so would have liked to see them work on something else.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. DrDamn

    @10
    Looking down the list of titles since becoming SCE Studio Liverpool it does seem like they were fairly restricted in output.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCE_Studio_Liverpool#Games_developed_as_SCE_Studio_Liverpool

    #12 2 years ago
  13. manamana

    Sad. Sad and terrible news indeed. In the end they’ve been wiped out by Sony. Would be interesting to know which studios work on “exciting new projects”, because I do believe that *every* Wipeout from Studio Liverpool is polished and top notch.

    It’s a huge loss for the gaming world. No matter what.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. ManuOtaku

    Feel bad for the people that worked there, they did made really good games, but really i dont understand this move in sonys part, i wonder if the economical situation has anything to do with this?, or if its something well planed for future portafolio tittles.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Stoopid_Snot

    as sad at it is I am not very surprised… How many more F1 and WipeOut titles can you make?

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Ireland Michael

    *sad face*

    #16 2 years ago
  17. absolutezero

    Remake Psygnosis!

    Create a new G-Police! Multi-format, next-gen smashy, flying, robot helicopter death.

    This is pretty shitty though, I really do miss Psygnosis so hearing that they might never get to produce anything again is pretty horrible (not that Sony would let them make anything other than more Wipeout titles)

    I still own Overboard.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. diego-rbb-93

    Nobody talking about Alundra? Man, that game is fucking awesome!!! Im actually completing it on PSP as I was never able to complete it on PSX, and man, that game its so long and so beatiful… Its the PSX´s Legend of Zelda for me without any doubt.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. roadkill

    :(

    #19 2 years ago
  20. bitsnark

    Totally fucking shit news this.

    :(

    I’m going to go off and have myself a Prozac flavoured coffee now.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Erthazus

    and the reason?

    Because they are not making brown FPS title that can sell billion copies for them?

    #21 2 years ago
  22. absolutezero

    Just to point out that the two Team Ico games released to date will have sold far far less than the combined output of Studio Liverpool since its inception, they have shown next to nothing of The Last Guardian and im guessing its sucking up money like a hover, while Liverpool actually released games.

    Thats ok though, industry darlings and all.

    The UK industry is a pretty horrible place right now. At least there Rocksteady I guess.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. TD_Monstrous69

    My heart goes out to the folks affected by Studio Liverpool’s closure, hope they land on their feet. To honor the studio’s memory, I shall go and play Wipeout HD.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. polygem

    too bad. never was a true wipeout fan….fury/HD is awesome though. nice visual style. i didn´t like 2048 at all though. wasn´t it the liverpool studio that made medievil ressurection for the psp? i loved that game. it wasn´t flawless but still on my personal top 10 list of the best psp games for sure.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Kuwabara

    I am fucking pissed at you SONY

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Meta_Dragon

    Hmm. Shutting down studios. Budget cutting. Terminating employment. Bad signs indeed.

    #26 2 years ago