Sony has announced the closure of one of their longest running development studios amid a reshuffle of resources. Japan Studio, known for games like Shadow of the Colossus, Ico, Gravity Rush, Ape Escape, Knack and the PlayStation 5 game Demon’s Souls has been running since 1993. In the 27 years of the studio’s history they have developed a huge array of games across all PlayStation console generations.
The news comes from VGC as the vast majority of the staff have been let go due to the annual contracts not being renewed past April 1st 2021. The reshuffle will keep the business staff in place and take ASOBI Team as a separate and standalone studio. Sony Japan will use this to focus on the team that developed Astro’s Playroom.
Astro’s Playroom has become a well-received title that was packaged along with the PlayStation 5 consoles at launch in 2020. Developed by ASOBI Team it has made fantastic use of the new haptic feedback on the DualSense controller. ASOBI Team are the same developers that created Astro Bot: Rescue Mission for the PlayStation 4, which put to use the PlayStation VR headset.
The news comes after a report in 2020 claiming that Sony Japan was having to make cuts to their development resources. The cuts came after the planned relocation of the Sony headquarters from Japan to the US. The cuts have also meant that Teruyuki Toriyama, producer on Bloodborne and Demons Souls as well as Keiichiro Toyama, creator of Silent Hill and Gravity Rush have officially left the company.
The move comes as a somewhat strange move considering the current climate. Microsoft and Electronic Arts have recently made bold purchases. With Microsoft buying Bethesda in 2020 and of course the recent acquisition of Codemasters into EA. Studio’s are being bought by larger corporations to bulk out digital media and platforms such as Game Pass, yet Sony have cut back on a mammoth operation of 27 years to focus on a fledgling studio with one franchise to their name. Go figure.