Farewell to Psygnosis – former employees share their memories

One of the longest running and most influential UK studios closed its doors last month after 28 years and 168 games. Former employees share their memories with MCV…

Steve Hood
Now: Creative Director, Codemasters
Then: Lead Designer (1997 – 2002)

It’s testament to Psygnosis’ strength that it managed to survive so long.It was a leader and a true force in the industry. I might be wearing rose-tinted specs but they were great times.Sony had bought it but Psygnosis stamped my employment contract and the giant owl still sat proudly on top of the building.You can’t expect to hold on to the same values if you change management and whilst it seemed to pick-up in the early PS2 era I feel it has been slowly fading.It’s a shame its time had come, not only for those affected but for those that had worked there and, like me, hoped to one day return.”

Clemens Wangerin
Now: MD, Setgo
Then: Product Development Manager (1995 – 1999)

It really stopped being a Psygnosis studio in 1999 when it was fully integrated into Sony. It certainly was not a decision Sony would have taken lightly. It’s a studio that has consistently produced for every PlayStation, and played a big part for the firm.

Glen O’Connell
Now: Entertainment and Sports Marketing Consultant
Then: Head of PR(1993 – 1999)

Prior to Sony’s acquisition, Psygnosis was already an industry-disruptive firm that had a rich history.Sony’s investment helped it expand its own output, as well as continue to provide a financial backbone for its offering to third party developers such as DMA, Bizarre and Traveller’s Tales, all of whom flourished as part of the Psygnosis family.WipEout proved to be a major tipping point which helped move gaming away from solely being in a child’s bedroom and into the living room. Anybody connected with the studio should be incredibly proud of the part they played in driving the whole industry forward.”

David Rose
Now: CEO, WeR Interactive
Then: Studio Manager,(1993 – 1999)

In 1993 I joined a number of fresh-faced developers proud to be working for a firm that was synonymous with quality.We knew that the forthcoming hardware was impressive, little did we know that it would be badged PlayStation and take gaming mass market. For the employees past and present the memories of will be cherished. We are now undergoing a similar revolution. The UK will play a major role in defining the future of gaming and staff from SCEE Liverpool will play a major part in this next revolution.”

Nick Garnell
Now: CEO, Affilyon
Then: MD, Sales and Marketing (1994 – 1997)

I remember sitting with the heads of all the European offices trying to decide how many discs of WipEout we should order for launch, and finishing on the precise figure of 58,000 – and then re-ordering over 300,000 more within a month.Unfortunately, Sony could never decide if Psygnosis should just deliver PlayStation titles, or be a full publishing house releasing titles on Nintendo, Sega, PC as well – this became a real conflict of identity as time went on.”

Gary Nichols
Now: MD, Atomicom
Then: PR Manager(1994 – 1999)

Psygnosis was like a family and everyone worked hard – weekends and late nights were the norm. We were all in it together and it still feels special to be part of the company’s early success. I do miss those times, especially the incredible parties thrown by the company that everyone looked forward to.I’m really feel sad for the last spark of Psygnosis now dying out. But today is a very exciting time to be making games. Maybe now the amazing talent can flourish with new start-ups and new IPs that go on to become worldwide hits.”

Mike Clarke
Now: CTO, Atomicom
Then: Sound Artist(1992 – 1999)

I hated and loved my time there. The company was fraught with periods of terrible mismanagement that caused many problems for most of my employment.An early example was when I had my personal music equipment stolen from the office. We’d been forced to bring in our own equipment to do our jobs because the firm wouldn’t buy us any. But the flipside was that I was writing music all day, every day, surrounded by some ridiculously talented people and working on multi-million selling games. There was a real sense of being part of a team, and not just the team of the game on which you were working, but the team that was Psygnosis.”

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