Sony is shutting down its Manchester VR Studio before it even released any products. Manchester Studio was originally established in 2015 under the name North West Studio before being renamed Sony Manchester. The goal was to make AAA VR games for PlayStation VR. At the time of its creation, the studio was employing former staff members from Evolution Studio, which was going through a rough patch of its own. There’s no word on what game Sony Manchester was working on before they shut down, though rumors placed it as a AAA game that was being developed on the Unreal Engine 4, featuring a “Ghibli-like art style.” Rumors also said that Sony Manchester helped with the development of London Studio’s Blood & Truth, but Manchester will never get to release its own game. Sony said that it closed the studio as “part of our efforts to improve efficiency and operational effectiveness.”
This isn’t the first UK-based studio that Sony has shut down in recent years. We lost Motorstorm and DriveClub developer Evolution Studio back in 2016, based in Liverpool. The following year Killzone: Mercenary and RIGS: Mechanized Combat League developer Guerrilla Cambridge was shut down as well. In that case, Sony relocated several staff members to other studios they owned so they wouldn’t be out of a job.
Sony does still has a couple of studios left in the UK. Both Media Molecule, who is about to release Dreams, and VR developer Sony London, who put out Blood & Truth last year, are still active in that region. There’s no word on if any of the team from Sony Manchester are being relocated to other studios or if any other developers have picked them up. However, when game studios shut down, other members of the industry tend to get together and help them find work. Hopefully, anyone let go during this closure will land on their feet.
[Source: Games Industry]