It's going from bad to worse for the UK video game development industry. After Microsoft closed down Fable maker Lionhead, Sony has now closed down Driveclub developer Evolution.
In a statement Sony said it would try to move some staff onto other projects, but redundancies are expected.
Evolution, based in Runcorn, suffered a round of layoffs in 2015 as Sony shifted focus to updating Driveclub as a service. Now, Sony has taken the next step and shuttered the studio.
Here's the statement in full:
- Regular reviews take place throughout SCE Worldwide Studios, ensuring that the resources that we have in such a competitive landscape can create and produce high quality, innovative and commercially viable projects.
- As part of this process we have reviewed and assessed all current projects and plans for the short and medium term and have decided to make some changes to the European studios structure.
- As a result, it has been decided that Evolution Studio will close.
- It is regrettable that this decision will lead to compulsory redundancies. We accept that this decision will mean that we risk losing high calibre staff but by focusing on other Studios that already have exciting new projects in development we believe we will be in a stronger position going forward and able to offer the best possible content of the highest quality for our consumers.
- Where possible we will try to reallocate people onto other projects. If appropriate opportunities are not possible within the company, we will assist staff in any way we can, including speaking with local employers and with other development companies.
- Evolution has been an important part of SCE Worldwide Studios for over 10 years - working on ground-breaking racing titles like WRC, Motorstorm and DRIVECLUB.
- This decision should not take anything away from the great work that Evolution has produced.
Driveclub was announced as a PS4 launch title, but was delayed to 2014. It suffered a disastrous launch that meant it was unplayable for many. The PS Plus Edition was pushed back as Evolution and Sony fought to improve matters.
But since then Evolution has done a good job of updating the PlayStation 4 racer - to the point where it's now considered one of the best racing games available.
The closure also comes as something of a surprise given Evolution was working on a PlayStation VR version of Driveclub that was only recently demoed to press. It seems likely this has now been canned. We've asked Sony for more.
Following the announcement, Driveclub game director Paul Rustchynsky took to Twitter to issue a short statement, below.
And here's Evolution community manager Jamie Brayshaw with a farewell message: