It is a sad day for the industry after the closure of the UK’s longest running games developer Sony Studio Liverpool, former execs at the company have told Develop.
Former Studio Liverpool development director Clemens Wangerin and studio manager David Rose expressed their sadness at the closure, and called it a huge loss to the games industry.
Wangerin said that the studio had a huge amount of talent and skill that had done phenomenally well during its long history, of which he played a vital role in sustaining having joined the company in 1995.
“I’m obviously very sad to see what went wrong with them. It must be one of the longest running UK studios,” said Wangerin.
“It’s not been on the same site, but I know for a fact there are still people there who were employees five and six at Psygnosis that started drawing graphics on graph paper. So it’s a huge loss generally for the industry. It’s clearly a studio with a huge amount of talent and skill.”
Wangerin described the loss of the studio as a harsh reality of the industry today, where almost any developer could be shut down given the harsh economic climate and the pace of changes in the game sector.
He also said that whilst Studio Liverpool had done a great job with developing the critically acclaimed Wipeout 2048, it was unfortunately not a million selling franchise, leaving Sony with a tough decision when it came to making cutbacks across the company.
“I think the harsh reality of the industry that we’re in today is that it can happen to almost anyone,” he explained.
“We saw not so long ago locally with Bizarre Creations closing down that even a studio that had a similar standing in the industry wasn’t spared when it came down to having to make hard nosed business decisions.
“Let’s not kid ourselves, ultimately it comes down to having to make savings in some way shape or form, and Sony as a corporation clearly has been posting losses not just this year but for the last few years. It’s just very sad that it manifests itself in, or the reaction to that, manifests itself into the closure of Studio Liverpool.”
We R Interactive CEO David Rose, who worked as studio manager at Psygnosis’ London studio, said the closure had been received with "tremendous sadness across the UK industry".
"In 1993 I joined a number of fresh-faced developers proud to be working for a company that was synonymous with quality and innovation in the 16 bit era,” said Rose.
“Fuelled with an equal mix of passion and naivety we knew that the forthcoming hardware was impressive, little did we know that little grey box would be badged PlayStation and take gaming from the niche to mass market becoming a verb in the process.
"For the employees past and present the memories of that period will be cherished and will live on in the history of the industry globally.”
For a brief history of the studio and a full softography of the 168 games it developed and published, take a look at our profile on 28 years of Studio Liverpool/Psygnosis.