PlayStation’s oldest first-party development group, Japan Studio, is reportedly being shut down by Sony.
The news comes in from VideoGamesChronicle, reporting that Sony is winding down the original game development of the studio behind Ape Escape, Gravity Rush, and Knack.
The studio’s annual contracts weren’t renewed ahead of the company’s new business year, which is set to kick off on April 1. According to the report, ASOBI Team, the group responsible for The Playroom, Astro Bot Rescue, and Astro’s Playroom will continue as a standalone studio within Sony Japan.
VGC: Sony is winding down original game development at Japan Studio (Ape Escape, Gravity Rush & more)— Nibel (@Nibellion) February 25, 2021
According to VGC sources this is because Japan Studio hasn't been profitable enough in recent years https://t.co/vQrtaioThj pic.twitter.com/Swz6KTuBBY
The writing appears to have been on the wall for some time now, with the director of Silent Hill and Gravity Rush announcing his own departure from the studio at the end of 2020, even announcing his own game studio called Bokeh Game Studio to create a new horror action-adventure game set for a 2023 release.
VGC’s sources cite low profits as a reason for the studio’s closure, as well as former president Allan Becker’s replacement by Astro Bot: Rescue Mission director Nicolas Doucet. These are, of course, just a few of the shakeups that have happened, with even more kicking off just yesterday as Bloodborne producer Masaaki Yamagiwa and video manage Ryo Sogabe announced their departures from the studio at the end of February.
2月末でSIE JAPAN Studioを離れることになりました。これまでありがとうございました。次の場所でもゲーム制作を頑張ります。— 山際眞晃 Masaaki Yamagiwa (@giwamasa) February 25, 2021
I’m leaving Sony Interactive Entertainment at the end of this month. I’m going to continue working hard on creating games. Many thanks to everyone! pic.twitter.com/WPpiLpCtoY
At the moment, it’s unclear if this is truly the end of Japan Studio as we know it. We’ll continue to keep an eye on the news as it develops. With so many key figures leaving the studio, it seems very likely that we could be witnessing the closure of one of the most iconic studios that Sony has ever had under its umbrella.
While Japan Studio might not have had very many hits over the past years, that doesn’t change that titles like Ape Escape, Gravity Rush, and of course, all of the studio’s work to help bring titles like Bloodborne and even the recently remade Demon’s Souls to PS consoles have all been a large part of the PlayStation gaming community over the years.
Josh Hawkins posted a new article, Gravity Rush developer Japan Studio reportedly being shut down by Sony