Studio Liverpool (1984-2012) – A Eulogy
Sad news, as another pillar of British games development disappears…
It seems to be a depressing inevitability these days, of another developer shutting up shop, but the latest studio to be axed is one of outstanding pedigree. This morning, it has been reported that Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s Michael Denny visited Studio Liverpool to bring the sad news that the veteran studio would be closing.
Originally formed as Psygnosis in 1984, they were a publisher and developer that had such an impressive array of releases throughout the 8, 16 and 32-bit era. They were synonymous with games like Lemmings, Discworld and Barbarian. But it was their acquisition by Sony Electronic Publishing in 1993 that would become a defining period in gaming history.
They were put to work on Sony’s upcoming PlayStation console, and the fruit of their labour was the industry defining Wipeout. This futuristic racer would be a poster-child for Sony’s efforts to bring gaming to an older demographic – Its highly stylised visuals and hip electronic soundtrack would serve as a catalyst for the PlayStation brand becoming the biggest name in games, surpassing other industry veterans such as Nintendo, Atari and SEGA.
Psygnosis would merge into Sony Computer Entertainment Europe in 1999, and would drop the famous “owl” branding, renaming themselves Studio Liverpool. For the next decade they would be famous for their annual Formula 1 licensed racing games, but it would be Wipeout that would be their biggest IP, as each new instalment would prove as excellent launch titles for each of Sony’s new hardware products, acting as highlight polished and playable technical demonstrations. Their most recent title, Wipeout 2048 is one of the PlayStation Vita’s best titles, and a worthy end to 28 years of business. Eurogamer report that the studio were working on two PlayStation 4 launch titles, including a new Wipeout instalment.
According to reports, Sony are looking to relocate Studio Liverpool staff to other parts of the business. Last year, Studio Liverpool had already been trimmed as part of a company-wide reorganisation. No other British studios are reported to be under threat.
We at GodisaGeek wish all the best to all former Studio Liverpool staff, and hope their talent continues to be a part of the industry.
Are their any Psygnosis/Studio Liverpool titles that you are particular fond of? Sound off in the comments below.