Sony is shutting down development at Japan Studio, its longest-running first party developer, according to VGC.
VGC reports that the studio behind titles such as Ape Escape, Gravity Rush and Knack, has seen most of its development staff let go. However, Sony is keeping Japan Studios’ business and localisation staff. Additionally, Asobi Team, the team behind the Astro Bot series, will take on some of the Japan Studio developers and operate as a separate Sony-owned studio.
Following the report, Sony Interactive Entertainment released a statement regarding the changes.
“In an effort to further strengthen business operations, SIE can confirm PlayStation Studios Japan Studio will be re-organized into a new organization on April 1. Japan Studio will be re-centered to Team Asobi, the creative team behind Astro’s Playroom, allowing the team to focus on a single vision and build on the popularity of Astro’s Playroom.
“In addition, the roles of external production, software localization, and IP management of Japan Studio titles will be concentrated within the global functions of PlayStation Studios.”
Sources told VGC that the studio hadn’t been profitable enough in recent years, and noted that the developer wanted to make games that appealed to Japanese audiences first, while Sony wanted the same global hits its other first-party studios produce.
Another source claimed that this was part of Sony shifting more power from Japan to its US headquarters.
The studio was founded back in 1993, and is responsible for the likes of Ape Escape and our lord and saviour Knack. Additionally, the studio had assisted other studios in the development of other Playstation first party titles, such as The Last Guardian, Days Gone and the PS5 version of Demon’s Souls.