Evolution Studios, known for World Rally Championship, MotorStorm, and most recently Driveclub, has been shut down by Sony according to a statement provided to gamesindustry.biz. The closure is said to be a part of a restructuring of Sony's European studios.
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.
Sony has said that positions on other projects will be found for some staff affected by this closure, but for some, unfortunately "this decision will lead to compulsory redundancies."
Paul Rustchynsky, the director on Driveclub, took to Twitter to address the closing.
Before I sign off to take a break and spend some time with my family I just wanted to say a few words. Firstly, a big, big thank you to all the fans that have supported us throughout Evo's storied history; we couldn't have achieved what we did without you.
Thank you to Sony who helped Evo rise to the top tier of racing game teams in the world, working as a first party team has been a fantastic experience.
Last but certainly not least: A massive thank you to the whole team at Evo, it truly has been an honour to work with such a talented, passionate and determined group of people. I hope you will all join me in celebrating Evolution by picking up a pad, throwing on your favourite Evo game, and giving us a victory lap.
Jamie Brayshaw, senior community manager at Evolution Studios, had the following to say on Twitter.
Community has always been at the heart of everything we've worked hard for at Evo. Your endless enthusiasm, support, honesty and energy was always our biggest motivator. You all helped Evo to become one of the greatest racing game studios in the world, and we can't thank you enough for that. You will continue to inspire us while we all take a little break and work out what we're going to do next.
This news comes at an odd time. Despite the troubled online launch in October 2014 and multiple delays of the promised PlayStation Plus edition, Driveclub saw numerous patches and content updates that improved the game greatly over time, ultimately leading to the title selling over 2 million copies. Just last week Evolution Studios was showing off the VR version of Driveclub at GDC. Whether or not Sony intends to continue to support Driveclub, or if the VR version will see the light of day, remains to be seen.
It's always a shame to see a studio get shut down like this. Driveclub may have had a rough launch, but Evolution continued to improve the game post launch and ultimately made it something well worth digging into. Here's hoping that everyone affected by this closure manages to land on their feet and quickly find new work.
What are your thoughts on the closure of Evolution Studios? Did you enjoy Driveclub? What do you think this means for the supposed PlayStation VR version? Share your thoughts in the comments below!