Old news, I am a huge Colony Wars and Psygnosis fanboy. It was the Brog's best kept secret that I was hoping to get an interview with one of the designers of the old Colony Wars/Wipeout series. Thanks to a little help from Tim Wright [DJ ColdStorage and legendary composer for the aforementioned game franchises] I was able to track down some key individuals from the now fragmented Psygnosis team. It is incredibly unfortunate timing that as of this week, most of them have recently lost their jobs. Those who still remain at Studio Liverpool have lost a team that has had one of the longest running racing franchises in gaming.
Gamesindustry.biz reported that Sony Computer Entertainment was 'restructuring' [an industry term for 'firing'] the Studio Liverpool employees. Not in whole, but in part. The comments below reveal users possibly in the industry giving more detail as to how many would be getting let go. A user by the name Paul Ripley, Senior Programmer at SCEE, said "I would estimate about at least 50% of Studio Liverpool has jus been culled (myself included). Hard to work out exact numbers at the moment"
Personally, I had been trying to contact [via e-mail and pathetic facebook invites] the Psygnosis team on an individual basis prior to the news. It was just really unfortunate timing on my part. However, I noticed a user by the name of Nick Burcombe [Lead Designer at SCEE]. He commented on the life and [possible] death of the Wipeout franchise.
All the best for the future guys.... I'm guessing that's the end of Wipeout as a franchise...15 years - not many survive that long. At least we made a splash and to be honest F1CE is still a top notch product despite reviews not getting it. User reviews FTW.
For those who didn't know [including myself] F1CE was the Formula One Champion Edition franchise I clearly forgot was yet another quality title under this team's belt. Psygnosis always had a style about their products that you could clearly notice once a keen eye was pointed to the art. When Tim Wright pointed me in the direction of Evolution Studios and Bigbig Studios it was pretty evident that this was the same team [even if it may have been bits and pieces] that had worked on Demolition Derby, G-Police and of course Colony Wars.
When I asked Burcombe if there were any interest in making another Colony Wars game he responded with, "True - Wipeout could continue - but I doubt it would come from that studio. Colony Wars is something that really needs a 1080p/60hz relaunch. That would be truly spectaular on the PS3. Nice big co-op scifi shoot 'em up....."
I asked if this were a viable possibility and Burcombe states, "Again - probably not from that Studio."
My question to anyone involved in this matter would be, what happens next? What happens to Evolution and Bigbig Studios? I'm assuming the Motorstorm franchise will soldier on seeing as there seems to be quite the base for the series in the PSP and on the PSP. When I heard this news I was punched in the gut, because of the little interview I wanted to do with these creative people. I wanted to know the ins-and-outs of what it took to make a game like Wipeout and more specifically Colony Wars. And how were they able to execute such well developed games on 'the little console that could' in the PS One.
I still have so many questions, but with this news I think I'll keep them in my little notebook. I can only wish for the best for those layed off, as well as those who remain at Studio Liverpool. Any studio would be a lucky to have such a talented bunch.