Studio Liverpool closed, WipEout dev’s projects canned

Wednesday, 22 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.

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