Total Crash: Sony Closes Wipeout Creators Studio Liverpool

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screen shot form wipeout HD

It is a sad day for games, indeed. Sony has closed Studio Liverpool, developers of the futuristic racing series Wipeout, after purchasing them 19 years ago (via gamesindustry.biz). The studio, originally named Psygnosis, has been around for almost 30 years.

If you’re not familiar with the Wipeout series it’s very similar is style and feel to F-Zero, hover cars racing around futuristic cities and tracks, and it always has an incredible soundtrack. Wipeout XL is heralded as one of the best titles for the original PSX and the company has been steadily putting out new titles over the years. The studio may, in recent years, be best known for Wipeout but they have a long list of incredible games including Lemmings and Destruction Derby.

From a Sony issues statment:

…it was felt that by focusing our investment plans on other Studios that are currently working on exciting new projects, we would be in a stronger position to offer the best possible content for our consumers. Our Liverpool Facility will continue to operate, housing a number of other vital WWS!E and SCEE Departments.

This closing has also brought news that the studio was working on a new Wipeout title that would have been released on the next-gen Sony console and the future of the game is currently unknown. It was said to be very far along in development which begs to ask why would you shut down this studio now, Sony? Did you not learn enough from your Vita launch that you need to have an abundance of games to choose from at start of a consoles lifespan or risk it being passed over. The promise of a new console just isn’t enough anymore to keep people coming back, and just because it’s a new Sony console doesn’t mean people are going to rush out to buy it without content. Wipeout has long been one of the staples of Sony console hardware, so I have to believe that they will release the game but why close to studio at a point when the game is as far along as Wipeout is reported to be? Why take the original developers who have probably been working on this title for over a year and bring in someone else? Truthfully Wipeout 2048, the most recent release by the Studio Liverpool and a launch title for the Vita, hasn’t been doing gangbusters as far as sales go having sold just over .16 million copies (according to http://www.vgchartz.com/).

Maybe Sony doesn’t think that the futuristic racing genre is viable anymore, but whatever the reason I’m heartbroken. I own a copy of every Wipeout game released to date and always anxiously awaited a new one. Not any more I suppose. So while I cry myself to sleep another night, I’ll keep my Vita close by my side to race through a number of pristine futuristic cities at break neck speeds just to remember the good old days.

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