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Sony closes Studio Liverpool

Sony closes Studio Liverpool

SCE Studio Liverpool, previously known as Psygnosis prior to its acquisition by Sony, has been closed.

Sony has confirmed that Studio Liverpool, the development house previously known as Pysgnosis, is to close.

Founded in 1984 by Ian Hetherington and David Lawson, Pysgnosis is best known for work on the 1987 eight-bit classic Barbarian, 1989 parallax-scrolling platformer Shadow of the Beast and as the publisher for DMA Design's Lemmings in 1991. Following its acquisition by Sony in 1993 for use as a PlayStation development house, Psygnosis would go on to make some of the console's best-known hits including gravity-defying racer Wipeout.

In 1999, the classic Psygnosis name was dropped and the studio rebranded to Sony Computer Entertainment Studio Liverpool - or just Studio Liverpool for short. As Studio Liverpool, the group would take over the Formula One series of games until Sony's licence for the franchise expired in 2007, as well as numerous successful Wipeout sequels.

In later years, however, Studio Liverpool has hit troubled times. In 2010, Sony announced that the group would be forced to close down certain projects to focus on more profitable ventures. 'It has been decided that production on a number of projects within Studio Liverpool will cease immediately due to project prioritisation' the company announced in January 2010. 'This decision will have no impact of the role that the North West Studio Group will play in the future of all PlayStation platforms.' As a result of the restructuring, Studio Liverpool halved its head-count.

Two and a bit years later, things have finally reached a head: rumours are circulating that Sony has closed Studio Liverpool altogether, telling the group's employees that an impending reorganisation has left them surplus to requirements.

Sources close to events and posting on the GRcade site have claimed that Michael Denny, senior vice president of Sony Worldwide Studios Europe, gathered the Studio Liverpool staff together this morning to announce the studio's closure, ending the group's 28-year run in the computer game industry.

Sony, for its part, has not commented on the reasons for the Studio Liverpool closure. Contacting the company via telephone, we were told that nobody from the press office was available, and we are waiting on a statement via email - with which we will update the story accordingly.

UPDATE
Sony has given us a formal 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.
'

31 Comments

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Cei 22nd August 2012, 13:06 Quote
Whaaat, no more Wipeout?!
The Infamous Mr D 22nd August 2012, 13:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cei
Whaaat, no more Wipeout?!

Probably likely that it'll be more Wipeout made by someone else instead. Although I'm not sure how much of a golden goose Wipeout is for Sony these days.
kenco_uk 22nd August 2012, 13:21 Quote
Huh, well bloody hell. I can only hope the visionaries behind Wipeout, Destruction Derby etc are being re-appropriated elsewhere in the group. Presumably, XDev (LBP, Motorstorm, Buzz!) are also affected?
Cei 22nd August 2012, 13:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Infamous Mr D
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cei
Whaaat, no more Wipeout?!

Probably likely that it'll be more Wipeout made by someone else instead. Although I'm not sure how much of a golden goose Wipeout is for Sony these days.
Ugh, probably just as bad. Wipeout has been doing well on the PS3/Vita with 2048 and HD/Fury, and I was hoping for the next game on the PlayStation 4.
fix-the-spade 22nd August 2012, 13:37 Quote
Well that brings back memories of Colony Wars and G-Police. I still have them too, nobody else made space combat quite like that.
Oh well, sell out to the big boys, suffer the consequences eventually.
Landy_Ed 22nd August 2012, 13:43 Quote
Lets not forget the fantastic Red Zone, brilliant for it's time.
PingCrosby 22nd August 2012, 13:51 Quote
Brings back memory's of my Great Great Uncle, he was a scouse Red Indian called Angonamo
Krikkit 22nd August 2012, 14:03 Quote
RIP Psygnosis. G-Police, Colony Wars and Wipeout were some magnificent series.

/fires up PSX.
aLtikal 22nd August 2012, 14:23 Quote
G-Police!! Omg id forgotton about that game completely, used to be great fun. What a shame :(
Guinevere 22nd August 2012, 14:24 Quote
Does this mean I have to finally stop waiting for another game in the Barbarian franchise?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbarian_(Psygnosis)

Sad days.
Bogomip 22nd August 2012, 14:44 Quote
I hadn't heard of Psygnosis for ages, mainly because Wipeout has only been for Sony things recently.

Thanks for the lemmings though, im sure the quantity of time I spent playing Lemmings as a child has been instrumental in the development of my problem solving skills.
Harlequin 22nd August 2012, 14:50 Quote
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/sony-to-restructure-liverpool-studio
Quote:
"It has been decided that production on a number of projects within Studio Liverpool will cease immediately due to project prioritisation. Our North West Studio Group has been and will continue to be a vital cog in the WWS family, with a history of producing genre defining games such as MotorStorm, WipEout, Formula 1 and WRC and this decision will have no impact of the role that the North West Studio Group will play in the future of all PlayStation platforms."

Think they`ve been living on borrowed time since jan 2010 tbh
Gareth Halfacree 22nd August 2012, 14:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/sony-to-restructure-liverpool-studio Think they`ve been living on borrowed time since jan 2010 tbh
As do I - which is sort of why I included that self-same press statement right in the middle of the article. :p
Parge 22nd August 2012, 14:59 Quote
I'd forgotten about G- Police! Amazing game!
Bloodburgers 22nd August 2012, 15:58 Quote
I loved Gpolice and Wipeout. Its sad to see the studio go but i would love to see revamped versions on pc taking advantage of the lastest hardware's abilities.
Krikkit 22nd August 2012, 16:12 Quote
G-Police was one of those defining games on the PSX for me, it's just as important in my gaming history as Crash 3 or MGS. Happy times.
pbryanw 22nd August 2012, 16:24 Quote
Farewell Psygnosis - You made some of the best games on the Amiga (Hired Guns, Shadow of the Beast, Lemmings, Agony) with some of the best intros at the time.
GuilleAcoustic 22nd August 2012, 16:31 Quote
The main song from Agony is still playing inside my head. Those guys made some of the best games on Amiga.

X9UTnUcyED0
Pookie 22nd August 2012, 16:53 Quote
I still love playing Walker on my Amiga. Always hoped for a remake :(
Harlequin 22nd August 2012, 16:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
As do I - which is sort of why I included that self-same press statement right in the middle of the article. :p

i do love you , you know ;)

i just gave another source for the same part , to of course , reinforce your , imo, quite correct view point :D



*did i just get away with that or what lol*
Gareth Halfacree 22nd August 2012, 17:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookie
I still love playing Walker on my Amiga. Always hoped for a remake :(
Walker would work pretty well on tablets: stick yer thumb on the walker itself and slide it to move, then use yer other hand to poke where you want to shoot. Wonder who holds the rights to that franchise now?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
i do love you , you know ;)
Flattery will get you everywhere, you shameless hussy.
Guinevere 22nd August 2012, 19:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookie
I still love playing Walker on my Amiga. Always hoped for a remake :(

Walker was (is) so cool. One of the first games I remember playing that made good use of a keyboard + joystick control method.
SuicideNeil 22nd August 2012, 21:22 Quote
Never did get that G-Police 3 game to bring a good conclusion to the first 2 games, oh well... *sad face*
azrael- 22nd August 2012, 21:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogomip
I hadn't heard of Psygnosis for ages, mainly because Wipeout has only been for Sony things recently.

Thanks for the lemmings though, im sure the quantity of time I spent playing Lemmings as a child has been instrumental in the development of my problem solving skills.
^ This!

For all intents and purposes Psygnosis was gone from my mind when it was bought by Sony. Not that I really noticed that, mind you. Never knew it was behind games like Wipeout and G-Police.

I _do_ remember its subsidiaries Psyclapse and Reflections, however. That they all were part of the same group was easily recognizable by looking at the respective company logos. I vividly remember trying to create something similar for that group I was part of back in the day. Which reminds me, I can't quite remember the front-facing owl head as being part of the logo.

In any case, RIP Psygnosis!
AiA 23rd August 2012, 00:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuicideNeil
Never did get that G-Police 3 game to bring a good conclusion to the first 2 games, oh well... *sad face*

I always hoped for a GPolice 3
Gpolice was my perfect game.
and yet no game plays like Gpolice did on the PC since
SMIFFYDUDE 23rd August 2012, 00:12 Quote
TBH I'd never even heared of Studio Liverpool until know. I've known of Psygnosis for years but just assumed they'ed gone bust as I hadn't seen their logo on anything for so long.
hughwi 23rd August 2012, 08:12 Quote
I spent HOURS playing G-Police :-)
Cavedweller 23rd August 2012, 09:32 Quote
How come nobody remembers RollCage?
Speed and soundtrack that could rival WipEout?

I do... Played it to death. Though the soundtrack was alot better on the playstation, you could modify the PC multiplayer. My favorite was 99 laps of the bowl! That was quite intense.

WipEout was the reason I got a PSX, and I loved them all. 2097 is still the best for me, but Wip3out was a close runner up.

G-Police was a exelent game, but I only played the first one. The story was great and the missions had an exelent pace.

Destruction Derby 2 was right there among the best driving games on the PSX as well...

Weren't those the days... Damn I miss them.

But thier hayday was definitly on the PSX, so while it makes me sad, it makes sense. WipEout was never that strong on other platforms.
Beasteh 23rd August 2012, 20:44 Quote
No more Studio Liverpool? :(

...No more Wipeout?

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/gg185/maqjr/nooooooo.png

Might dig out the PS1 and play some Destruction Derby 2, Wipeout and G-Police in tribute. So many memories!
dire_wolf 26th August 2012, 08:43 Quote
What a shame, I remember back int' old Amiga days, when you saw that logo come up on screen while the game was loading you KNEW you were in for a treat :-)
Kacela 28th August 2012, 12:30 Quote
[QUOTE=Bogomip
Thanks for the lemmings though, im sure the quantity of time I spent playing Lemmings as a child has been instrumental in the development of my problem solving skills.[/QUOTE]

Hear, hear. Lemmings should've been a prerequisite for anybody wanting to pursue ANY discipline of engineer...
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