Evolution Studios, the team behind some of PlayStation’s most memorable racers, is closing, Sony has confirmed.
This isn’t a huge surprise. Their latest title, Driveclub had been troubled since launch. It was heavily delayed, and its online services were unusable for weeks after it hit shelves. The free to play version took many months to release, and wasn’t available for very long.
Following the troubled launch, Evolution Studios spent months adding content to the game, including things like a detailed weather system, new graphical effects, new tracks, and new cars, all free to players in addition to more standard paid content. What started out as a disaster became one of the best looking, most interesting, and best supported games on the PlayStation 4.
The studio had lost 55 employees to layoffs in 2015, and they hadn’t announced anything new. The continued support seem to suggest that Sony was going to bank on building a series with the property, but that doesn’t look to be the case. Here’s Sony’s statement on the matter, addressing the hope of finding new places for the employees within Sony and the reality that that may not be possible across the board:
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.
It’s disappointing to see a studio that had been so good to its fans get the axe, and we hope the people who built Driveclub are able to find new positions soon.