Sony‘s gaming division has announced that it is disbanding most of Japan Studio. The company did not disclose its motives, but the media claim that the whole point is that the studio has stopped making a lot of money and releasing world hits.
The fact that Sony is having problems with the oldest internal game development studio was reported yesterday by Video Games Chronicle. According to the portal, the “overwhelming number” of Japan Studio employees quit after their annual contracts were not extended. Among them was Masaaki Yamagiwa, the producer of Bloodborne.
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。
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
— 山際眞晃 Masaaki Yamagiwa (@giwamasa) February 25, 2021
As indicated by VGC sources, as a result, there was practically no one left in the studio. Unless the developers from the ASOBI Team division, known for the Astro‘s Playroom platformer, have not left. Also, some business management and localization specialists did not quit. The external development department, which participated in the creation of the remake of Demon’s Souls, continued to work.
It was assumed that now ASOBI Team will become a separate studio. But it was not completely clear what would happen to the rest of the workers.
Sony partially confirmed the rumors tonight. The company has indeed stated that starting from April 1, Japan Studio will be transformed into ASOBI Team and will support Astro’s Playroom. At the same time, localization, business management and external development departments will be connected to work with the global PlayStation Studios brand. Sony did not explain its decision.
Note that VGC has expressed three versions of the dissolution of the Japanese studio:
- In recent years, Japan Studio has not been profitable enough. The developers wanted to create games primarily for the Japanese market. That’s just Sony hoped to get global hits, like those made by its other studios;
- the fate of the developers was sealed a year ago. Then long—time president Allan Becker left the studio, and Nicholas Doucet, director of Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, took his place;
- Sony has been betting on the American market for a long time and was almost not interested in Japan. In 2016, the company even moved its headquarters to California. Nevertheless, the head of PlayStation Jim Ryan (Jim Ryan) has repeatedly denied this.
Japan Studio was founded in 1993. During this time, she developed games such as Knack, LocoRoco and Ape Escape. The studio also participated in the creation of The Last Guardian, Everybody’s Golf and Siren.