In an official statement provided to IGN, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) has confirmed that the JAPAN studio will be restructured into a new organization starting this April.
Sony’s Tokyo-based first-party game studio that has been around since the dawn of the original PlayStation and has brought countless original, experimental and memorable games to the world over 26 years and over five generations of hardware. from PlayStation, it will soon cease to exist in the way Sony gamers have come to it, according to the study:
In an effort to further strengthen business operations, SIE can confirm that PlayStation Studios JAPAN Studio will reorganize into a new organization on April 1. JAPAN Studio will refocus on the ASOBI team, the creative team behind Astro’s PLAYROOM, allowing the team to focus on a single vision and capitalize on the popularity of Astro’s PLAYROOM.
In addition, JAPAN Studio’s title intellectual property management, software localization, and external production functions will focus on the global functions of PlayStation Studios.
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The announcement of the restructuring coincides with several recent departures from JAPAN Studio staff, most notably that of game designer and director Keiichiro Toyama, former Silent Hill co-creator and leader of the Project Siren / Team Gravity division of JAPAN Studio, who was the team behind the Siren and Gravity Rush franchises. In late 2020, Toyama, along with designers Kazunobu Sato and Junya Okura, left JAPAN Studio to form Bokeh Game Studio.
Before official recognition came to light at the end of last week, the Video Games Chronicle website claimed that they had been informed by multiple sources that the vast majority of JAPAN Studio staff had been laid off after their not renewed. annual contracts for the next fiscal year, which begins April 1. However, the ASOBI team was unaffected, lending credence to rumors that SIE deemed the rest of JAPAN Studio unprofitable and no longer fit into Sony’s increasingly Western-centric business model. .
While Japan Studios’ statement explains JAPAN Studio’s consolidation into Team ASOBI as Astro’s title developer, it is important to note that the studio’s many original IPs will continue to fall under the umbrella of Sony’s PlayStation Studios, and if the PLAYROOM Astro’s is an indication, Sony is a company that continues to be very aware of the importance of its IP and its catalog. In other words, despite the dissolution of JAPAN Studio, it is very possible that we will continue to see many of the most popular original IPs from the studio, such as Ape Escape, LocoRoco, Legend of Dragoon, Puppeteer and Knack, among others.
Additionally, JAPAN Studio collaborated with other studios even more prolifically than producing their own original games, partnering with other developers such as Clap Hanz (Minna no Golf / Hot Shots Golf / Everybody’s Golf), Exact (JumpingFlash!), NanaOn -Sha (Parappa the Rapper, Um Jammer Lammy), Level 5 (Dark Cloud), Pyramid (Patapon), From Software (Demon’s Souls, Bloodborne), Bluepoint Games (Shadow of the Colossus Remastered, Demon’s Souls Remastered) and many , many more. With such a treasure trove of IPs related to JAPAN Studio in SIE’s pocket, it’s impossible to imagine a future where we won’t see these iconic franchises again.
It is a pity that many of the people behind all these magical experiences at Sony have received their roles and will no longer be part of them in the future.