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Sony Closes WipEout Developer Studio Liverpool 102

RogueyWon writes "Eurogamer is reporting that Sony has closed its subsidiary developer Studio Liverpool. Beginning its life in 1984 under the name Psygnosis, the development house has played an important role in the history of computer and video gaming, publishing classics such as the Lemmings series. Since its acquisition by Sony in 1993, the studio has been best known for its work on the WipEout franchise, which helped to establish the PlayStation console as a successful brand. Sony's statements indicate that it will seek to find positions for staff in its other development houses, but that some redundancies will be necessary." Eurogamer posted an update, indicating that the studio was working on WipEout for the PS4.
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Sony Closes WipEout Developer Studio Liverpool

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's Psygnosis.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      It was, but it's not anymore.

      How much of the original Psygnosis was left anyway? I know they were awesome in the 80s and later in the PSX days. But I wasn't aware of them doing anything in the past decade. Were any of the original people still around?

      I guess this kind of puts a damper on any hopes for another Colony Wars. Damn.

      • That's because you don't own any Sony consoles, since Sony bought them everything they'd made was Playstation exclusive. But there are emulators for that ;-)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @12:14PM (#41082297)
      Oh no! *BOOM*
  • Sony and Lemmings (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @12:06PM (#41082203) Homepage Journal

    "Lemmings" seems appropriate when you think about Sony executives.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Lemons" would be more appropriate RE Sony execs.
    • "Lemmings" seems appropriate when you think about Sony executives.

      Ironically, Lemmings wasn't developed by Psygnosis themselves (they just published it). It was actually written by DMA Design, who later wrote the Grand Theft Auto series then became Rockstar North.

      Still, it's worth remembering Psygnosis, who came to prominence in the early 16-bit era due to the high presentational standards of their games and went on to develop the Wipeout series before losing their name and (inevitably) some of their identity.

      • Some other good Psygnosis games you might not have heard of: G-Police and Shipwreckers.

        Unfortunately they loved to put some clock-cycle-dependent code in their games making all of them a PITA to run on newer computers.

  • by sqldr ( 838964 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @12:08PM (#41082223)

    Since its acquisition by Sony

    Well that's where they went wrong. Whenever these things happen, developers leave in droves anyway and start new development houses, until they're bought again. Most game developers have some sort of idea for a game, and this is usually how it happens.

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      Except developers didn't leave in droves when it was acquired nearly 20 years ago.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        20 years ago getting bought up did not mean you would be doing sequels until they shut you down.

        • by Hatta ( 162192 )

          I would *love* to see more sequels of more Psygnosis stuff.

          Why no 3d rendered Lemmings? It was the best selling video game ever at the time, let's revisit it. It will work great on tablets too!

          Why not another Colony Wars? 3 of them on the PSX and then nothing.

          Why not another cinematic adventure along the lines of Shadow of the Beast? Why let Quantic Dream and Team ICO have all the fun?

          Why not another Destruction Derby game? Wouldn't that be great on the PS3?

          There's a ton of old Psygnosis stuff that cou

          • It turns out that Lemmings wasn't a hardy enough platform for a root kit to be inserted. No big whup.

          • Why no 3d rendered Lemmings? It was the best selling video game ever at the time, let's revisit it.

            Been there, done that in 1995: []

          • by stor ( 146442 )

            Or a version of Obliterator that runs at a playable frame rate! :)

            I have extremely fond memories of 1980s Psygnosis. "Shadow of the Beast" was my first introduction to "parallax scrolling", which seemed to become a mandatory feature of all side-scrollers from that point on.

            Absolutely *loved* their logo too.

            • Absolutely *loved* their logo too.

              I still have a couple of small, original, 19" x 27" Psygnosis posters snagged from them at the end of an Amiga show. And yes the logo is excellent.

  • RIP Psygnosis (Score:5, Informative)

    by logicassasin ( 318009 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @12:10PM (#41082247)

    Shadow of the Beast, The Killing Game Show, and Awesome were my favorite Atari ST and Amiga games ever. Stunning graphics (for the time), unparallelled music, great game play out of their games. RIP to the greatest studio of my youth. ... BTW, has anyone ever completed Shadow of the Beast 2 WITHOUT using the "ten pints" cheat?

    • IIRC their first title was an absolute chunk of crap for the Amiga, called "Brataccas".
      even in 1986 i knew i deserved better.
      the cover art [] was pretty cool tho.

      they must have acquired some serious talent out of the demo scene to produce Shadow of the Beast and the others which followed on.

      • Ah, Psynosis box art. How did those guys ever hire Roger Dean? []

        I don't know how many Psygnosis titles I bought because the cover art reminded me of Yes [], Uriah Heep [], and Asia [] albums.

        Some real stinkos of games, but you could frame the box cover and hang it on the wall if you wanted to.

    • by crgrace ( 220738 )

      Wow I played those games so much on my Amiga.... except for Awesome, since it was not compatible with the 512kB memory upgrade for the A500. Grrr! I played Awesome at Winners Circle Systems in Berkeley, CA and bought it, but had to return it when it didn't work at home. This is the kind of thing that very much upsets a 15 year old boy haha.

      But, I probably spent more time playing the Killing Game Show than I want to admit.

      Remember how hard those games were? It really took commitment to make it far (espec

      • by stor ( 146442 )

        > Lastly, remember the awesome package art on those games? They used the same artist who did those iconic album covers for Yes.

        Indeed. The artist is Roger Dean. I love his work.

    • Rollcage [] was one of the best fast racing games I ever played.

    • by tedgyz ( 515156 )

      "Shadow of the Beast" has great game play? You're kidding, right? If great game play means ripping your hair out, wailing, and gnashing your teeth, then yes. It was indeed the coolest game of the time (I played on the Amiga 2000) with mutli-plane parallax scrolling and amazing music. The dark underbelly was the cruel restart from the beginning after dying. If a game transitions from fun to torture is it still a game? I still have emotional scars from that beast.

      • Hats off to Psygnosis for making such an impression on you and everyone else that played SOTB. Whether it infuriated you or simply challenged you like none other before it ('cause SOTB2 was infinitely harder), you still remember it well.

        • Everybody remembers the games that were made just to frustrate. This does not make them good games. If I sawed off your leg, slowly, over the course of hours, without anesthesia, you'd remember it as well, but this does NOT make it a good thing!

    • by Haoie ( 1277294 )

      Don't forget Colony Wars, and its 2 sequals!

  • How many of my game development heros must die before this acquisition madness is brought to an end?
  • Psygnosis. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Moskit ( 32486 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @12:15PM (#41082309)

    Not Psygonis or Psygnonis.

    Please shows some respect and check spelling of last names and company names at the very least. Basic Editor skillz, rigot?

    • Not Psygonis or Psygnonis.

      Please shows some respect and check spelling of last names and company names at the very least. Basic Editor skillz, rigot?

      I remember being disappointed when I realised they weren't called PSYCHOSIS Software. That's what it looked like on the Lemmings box art, anyway.

    • by gorzek ( 647352 )

      Is it true they get paid for this?

  • Ahhh, original Lemmings. Was proud I finished all 120 levels without looking up solutions.

    Actually, finished 121 levels if you count figuring out how to hack the binary startup file that limited demo startups to 10 starts. Made the "You impressed us by finishing all 120 levels!!" screen all the sweeter.

    Had I known they were from Liverpool, land with avowed, literal communists on the city council, I wouldn't have let the guilt rot my gut all these decades. QQ me.

  • by euxneks ( 516538 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @12:26PM (#41082453)
    Psygnosis deserves much more than this. Shadow of the Beast, WipEout, Lemmings. These are all iconic games which I remember VIVIDLY, much more than most other games. Sad day indeed. :'(
  • Wipeout 2048 is really the best game I have for it and the DLC was excellent as well, I just don't understand Sony first Zipper make Unit 13 which is still the vitas best shooter and they get canned, then they give resistance to Nihilistic of all companys who ruin it and then as a reward they also let them work on Vita COD which I predict will be basicly the same.

    Now they kill Studio Liverpool it's almost like the companys are being rewarded for bad games and punished for good ones.

  • We can't afford to give money to innovators to create new and exciting games which push the envelope. That money is already earmarked for the outrageous licensing fees for the constant iterations of the Madden franchise, et. al.
  • by crgrace ( 220738 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @12:44PM (#41082729)

    I have wonderful memories from high school of playing Shadow of the Beast for hours while listening to the Pet Shop Boys on autoreverse.... does that date me much?

    It was amazing that such a frustrating game could hold my attention for so long, but it did. I highly recommend trying it out in an emulator if you have a chance. It was so, so far ahead of its time.

  • "Some redundancies will be necessary"

    You mean, those redundancies will be deemed unnecessary, and therefore eliminated. Hate to be a wording nazi, but that's bad.

    • Yeah, I caught that too. They package it as if they'll just "live" with the redunduncies, but its clearly doublespeak for layoffs.
    • I think the word "redundancy" in this sense is used to mean "layoff." While not technically correct I believe it's a widely used term in the HR world.
      • by gorzek ( 647352 )

        It's an annoying euphemism, in any case.

        Someone who has never seen the term in that context would have no idea what "there will be some redundancies" is supposed to mean.

        Just come out and say "some people will lose their jobs" and be done with it.

        But no, we have to pretend we aren't doing anything unpleasant to anyone, so we have to dress it up in dry, clinical-sounding lingo so no one's emotions are stirred.

    • by jareth-0205 ( 525594 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:03PM (#41082979) Homepage

      "Some redundancies will be necessary"

      You mean, those redundancies will be deemed unnecessary, and therefore eliminated. Hate to be a wording nazi, but that's bad.

      This is a UK-ism... a 'redundancy' is a job that has been made redundant, and therefore terminated. It's a common phrase here.

      • "Some redundancies will be necessary"

        You mean, those redundancies will be deemed unnecessary, and therefore eliminated. Hate to be a wording nazi, but that's bad.

        This is a UK-ism... a 'redundancy' is a job that has been made redundant, and therefore terminated. It's a common phrase here.

        It is a common expression here, too (US). But the parent is grammatically correct; HR means what he is saying, but generally just call these doomed jobs "redundancies" because it is obvious to them that any redundant job will be eliminated - no need to say it outright.

      • Oh, I assumed that this was some sort of HR-ese, but that doesn't make it correct. I make an effort to call out every kind of terrible business-ese, everywhere I see it.

        How much more can businesses try to rework the phrase "fired them because we didn't want to pay them?" Maybe eventually we'll call them 'happies' because they have a good work record and they didn't stop working there because they were killed on the job.

        What business administrators say can be terribly confusing if you use the rather inconven

        • It's correct as a noun. Just because you haven't heard it before doesn't mean it is (a) new or (b) wrong.

          There are lots of examples of crappy business-speak to rail against, but this isn't one of them.

      • by timq ( 240600 )

        I guess most of us know what redundancy in this context is intended to convey, UK or not.

        It's still a nice example of saying the opposite of what you mean because the convolutions of politically correct newspeak went over your head.

        • It's still a nice example of saying the opposite of what you mean because the convolutions of politically correct newspeak went over your head.

          No, not really. It's 'redundancy' the noun as opposed to 'redundancy' the adjective. It's the English language adapting. This usage is hardly "new PR speak", it's been used for atleast the last 20 years.

  • by snap2grid ( 630315 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:30PM (#41083387) Homepage
    Which for my purposes was the early 90s. DMA Design (the developer of Lemmings, Hired Guns) had a not always amiable relationship with Psygnosis, who was our publisher at the start. I visited it only a couple of times, but it always felt like an important place, like going to visit the emperor. Best memories were of the largest, tastiest pizza I'd ever had and of being crammed into the back of Ian Hetherington's Porche as a bunch of us were taken out for a meal. So, sad day.
  • The Dean Brothers and Hipgnosis produced some of the most iconic album cover art of the late 60's and 70's. Roger Dean brought his trippy style to game covers like "Shadow of the Beast" and early Pygnosis titles.

    Great games complimented by great art design.

    I dug Wip3out too.

    Sorry to see the studio axed.

    • by evilned ( 146392 )

      They had a great eye for visuals all the way around. The Designers Repubic artwork really made those Wipeout games special (that and the amazing sound tracks). Hell, Wipeout Pure was the main reason I bought a PSP.

  • I put countless hours into Wipeout HD and Fury, not to mention many of the Psygnosis games long before that. Growing up, I was enthralled by their distinctive visual style. So this news comes as a massive disappointment.

    Unfortunately, I'm not terribly surprised. This was a long time coming; since Wipeout HD nothing has really come out of Studio Liverpool. It looks like their resources were diverted to projects at other divisions. So at the end of the day, what was the point of keeping them around? What was

  • by petsounds ( 593538 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:43PM (#41084531)

    RIP Psygnosis.

    Wipeout and Wipeout 2097/XL was a groundbreaking title on the first PlayStation. Its stunning graphics and stellar soundtrack were way beyond what others were doing at that time. And the gameplay was dialed-in perfection. None of the followup Wipeout games I've played really matched up to it.

    I worked with Sony back then, and I heard a lot of rumors through the grapevine about Psygnosis being arrogant and difficult to work with. This culminated in Sony completely swallowing them up so they could control the studio better. Well, many talented chaps left as they are wont to do, and it's been a slow-motion death for them ever since.

    • The gameplay was fantastic, I agree. But the soundtrack and look (Designer's Republic) were what made the game.

      • Agreed, Wipeout brought a certain sophisticated, adult sensibility to the visuals and sound that we hadn't seen much in games.

  • []

    I still terribly miss playing Drakan: Order Of The Flame. Was way ahead of its time.
  • Out of interest, does anyone know how many of the original Psygnosis staff worked at Studio Liverpool till the end?

    My gut feel is that all the people that really made it Psygnosis are probably long gone, which means the company (as we Amiga and Atari ST owners remember it) has actually been dead for a very long time.

  • One of the things I liked about the WipEout games for Playstation was that all the music was on the game disks. There was some good stuff, and I started listening to more music from some of the artists. I'm glad I've kept the games all this time. Think I know what I'll be listening to on the drive home from work today.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"