Very few companies in the video game industry can proclaim to have a history that stretches all the way back to the seminal years of the industry we now hold so very dear. Sony Liverpool, once known as Psygnosis, was such a company. Until today.
Sony has announced that it will be shuttering the Liverpool studio, as part of a restructuring of its UK properties. The console maker's Liverpool offices will remain open, but the studio, which had in recent years been responsible for the WipeOut franchise, as well as Formula One racing titles, is finished.
Sony released the following statement on 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, both for this coming year and further in the future.
Originally founded in 1984 by Ian Hetherington and David Lawson, Psygnosis actually began as more of a publisher than developer, bringing out such heralded Amiga titles as Shadow of the Beast, and the original Lemmings games.
The company had been known as Sony Liverpool since 2001, but the developer had been under Sony's banner since the mid-'90s, where it developed properties for the original PlayStation, including G-Police, Colony Wars, and of course, WipeOut, which became the studio's most recognizable franchise.
Psygnosis also had an amusing run of peculiar licensed games under its belt, including SNES/Genesis/Sega CD titles based on '90s horror films Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, as well as a PlayStation game loosely based on the Spice Girls cinematic tour de force Spice World.