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Sony closes & restructures two UK studios (BigBig shut down, Cambridge restructured)

DemonNite

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Apr 15, 2007
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Leamington Spa unit Bigbig to be axed, Cambridge outfit restructured
Sony is to make sweeping changes across two of its development sites in the UK, Develop understands.
The PlayStation firm has proposed the closure of Leamington Spa outfit Bigbig, which recently finished work on Little Deviants for Vita.
Meanwhile, Sony’s Cambridge division is to be restructured. The studio is to partner with Netherlands outfit Guerilla Games, likely in a downsized capacity, to build Killzone games for PlayStation Vita.
Sony has confirmed both actions to Develop. The extent of the job losses remains unclear, with finer details still to be ironed out.
It is believed the move will not affect other Sony UK studios such as Media Molecule, Evolution, Sony Liverpool and London.

Update: Sony has confirmed both actions to Develop. The extent of the job losses remains unclear, with finer details still to be ironed out.
It is believed the move will not affect other UK studios Media Molecule, Evolution, Sony Liverpool and London.
Sony said BigBig “has been an important part of SCE Worldwide Studios” since it joined the group in 2007.
“However, it was felt that by focusing 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,” the company told Develop.
“We have reviewed and assessed all current projects and plans for the short and medium term and have decided to make some changes to European studios. As a result of this, there will be a realignment of resource within the studio to ensure that the studio is in the best position to achieve this.”

The closure of BigBig leaves Sony with 15 first-party studios - still the largest group of development outfits in the games industry.

http://www.develop-online.net/news/39460/Sony-closes-and-restructures-UK-studios

Not a good day for UK studios. Good luck to everyone
 

jiggles

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Dec 5, 2008
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[Nintex];34158429 said:
Surprised about BigBig they bought it in 2007 along with Evolution.

Evolution are on pretty shaky ground themselves, though, aren't they?
 

Suzzopher

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Jul 23, 2009
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You can bet that a lot of engineers at Cambridge will be looking for a new job. No way will many want to stay as support to Guerilla.
 

bobbytkc

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Feb 28, 2007
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Long time coming for the Cambridge studio. Their output is little to speak of, and their ps2 games weren't that great either.
 

Spiegel

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Feb 20, 2007
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I'm surprised Sony is closing BigBig because they already downsized the studio pretty badly.
I hope they all move to the second, smaller Evolution Studio team (Motorstorm RC developers) and maybe that's the plan because that's essentially what BigBig was, a mini Evolution Studio.
 

Pie and Beans

Look for me on the local news, I'll be the guy arrested for trying to burn down a Nintendo exec's house.
Apr 23, 2010
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Cambridge has been a 'support' studio for quite a while on numerous big-name first-party titles whether their involvement has been publicised or not. I've always wondered if they were actually building anything of their own, and I guess Sony also felt this way.
 

SmokyDave

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Dec 8, 2008
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Ah, for fucks sake :(

Didn't BigBig do Motorstorm: AE? (also known as the second best portable racer of all time).

Gutted. This gen has totally destroyed us here in the UK.
 
Jul 15, 2004
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This generation has been most brutal to UK development :(

lots of Sony centric developers suffering casualties and tough competition from the likes of Canada etc, and a government and opposition both not willing to be seen giving breaks to videogames... we're still among the best I reckon, but it might take us years to recover.

I'm glad some studios were able to live on - ie FreeRadical > Crytek UK, and that there aren't more Factor 5s about.
 
Jul 15, 2004
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One of the first two Vita games Sony showed off to the world, and that's the fate of the developer? Sigh.

It does seem harsh... before its even been able to garner sales. It is definitely one of the more inventive showpieces for the platform... I'd much rather they canned the Killzone crap myself, personally.
 

StuBurns

Banned
Jan 9, 2008
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Sucks really hard, best to the guys and gals. I know there's at least one BigBiger on GAF, good luck.
 

test_account

XP-39C²
Mar 22, 2007
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Ah, for fucks sake :(

Didn't BigBig do Motorstorm: AE? (also known as the second best portable racer of all time).

Gutted. This gen has totally destroyed us here in the UK.
Yep. I actually bought that game a few days ago from the PS Store. Playing through it in these days, pretty cool game indeed.
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
Jun 8, 2004
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Real shame for BigBig :( Wonder if Sony's going to take to contracting out their scale of project.
 

get2sammyb

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Feb 9, 2009
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Pursuit Force was an absolute gem in my opinion. It needed balancing from a difficulty perspective, but the model was in place.

We'll never see another one now. :(
 

get2sammyb

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Feb 9, 2009
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Real shame for BigBig :( Wonder if Sony's going to take to contracting out their scale of project.

They kinda already have, right? Novarama and Double Eleven both signed exclusivity agreements. They're both developing similar scale games to BigBig. I reckon that's what probably killed the studio in the end.
 

V_Ben

Banned
May 8, 2009
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Watch as Sony acquires another studio but based in the States :(

I think you mean "opens a studio in Canada" :/

I get the feeling they're going to acquire TGC after their deal is up. Either that or they're just plain crazy.
 

rollingstart

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were the pursuit force games really unpopular? I thought both were pretty fun takes on Spyhunter. And then they were put on Motorstorm psp, which was great too, but I still wanted to see the pursuit force series continue.
 

Huff

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Nov 10, 2010
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I think you mean "opens a studio in Canada" :/

I get the feeling they're going to acquire TGC after their deal is up. Either that or they're just plain crazy.

Why haven't they done a canada move like every other big publisher?
 

get2sammyb

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were the pursuit force games really unpopular? I thought both were pretty fun takes on Spyhunter. And then they were put on Motorstorm psp, which was great too, but I still wanted to see the pursuit force series continue.

I always got the impression that the people who played them absolutely loved them -- but not many people played them. :\
 

TTP

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Sad news. I find it rather odd that they are closing/restructuring studios tho considering they have more platforms to support nowadays than they ever had (PS3, Vita, Move). If anything, they need more people?
 

get2sammyb

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Sad news. I find it rather odd that they are closing/restructuring studios tho considering they have more platforms to support nowadays than they ever had (PS3, Vita, Move). If anything, they need more people?

Agreed -- but like I said earlier in the thread, they signed those exclusivity contracts with Double Eleven and Novarama. I suspect those two studios will fill the role that BigBig Studios would have before -- i.e. PlayStation Vita content.

The Cambridge situation has always struck me as a weird one though.
 

V_Ben

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May 8, 2009
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Agreed -- but like I said earlier in the thread, they signed those exclusivity contracts with Double Eleven and Novarama. I suspect those two studios will fill the role that BigBig Studios would have before -- i.e. PlayStation Vita content.

The Cambridge situation has always struck me as a weird one though.

Cambridge have been eternally under appreciated. Great tech house, and they made some INCREDIBLE PS2 games. And yet their often rumored PS3 project is now likely dead, and they're working on another bloody handheld spin off. They can't catch a break.
 

Suzzopher

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Jul 23, 2009
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Agreed -- but like I said earlier in the thread, they signed those exclusivity contracts with Double Eleven and Novarama. I suspect those two studios will fill the role that BigBig Studios would have before -- i.e. PlayStation Vita content.

The Cambridge situation has always struck me as a weird one though.

A lot of R&D was done there. They were a very good technical team. Sadly they didn't work on many games over the last five years and as such designers and coders move on. I honestly can't see many wanting to hang on now.
 
Dec 15, 2008
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Damn, bummer for UK devs. l've never played BigBig's titles, even though I received Pursuit Force for free during last year's PSN debacle.

But Cambridge delivered two of my favorite PS2 exclusives; Primal & Ghost Hunter.
 
Mar 3, 2010
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Calling Takao!!!!!!!!!!!

Takao is going to be livid. Sony should make more portable studios not cutting the ones that they have.
 

jetjevons

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Jun 13, 2004
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Damn, bummer for UK devs. I lve never played BigBig's titles, even though I received Pursuit Force for free during last year's PSN debacle.

But Cambridge delivered two of my favorite PS2 exclusives; Primal & Ghost Hunter.

Weren't they responsible for the PSONE Medieval series too?

Took what I loved most about Ghosts'n'Goblins/Ghouls'n'Ghosts into 3D LONG before Maximo.

/Pours one out for whoever is let go.