Over the past few months it has become increasingly obvious that something was going on overseas at Sony’s longest running internal development studio, Japan Studio.
Many longtime Creators begun to leave the studio. None of the new upcoming PlayStation Studio exclusives have anything to do with Japan Studio (though they did assist with the Demon’s Souls remake).
So when a report from Videogameschronicle hit this morning that Japan Studio was winding down, it felt more like a mild shock and a hard truth, rather than an earth-shattering revelation.
Now Sony Interactive Entertainment has confirmed to IGN that Japan Studio is being ‘re-organized’ to center around Team ASOBI, the tour de force behind the Astro Bot series.
In an effort to further strengthen business operations, SIE can confirm PlayStation Studios JAPAN Studio will be re-organized into a new organization on April 1. JAPAN Studio will be re-centered to Team ASOBI, the creative team behind Astro’s PLAYROOM, allowing the team to focus on a single vision and build on the popularity of Astro’s PLAYROOM.
In addition, the roles of external production, software localization, and IP management of JAPAN Studio titles will be concentrated within the global functions of PlayStation Studios.
A part of my gaming soul is hurt. Japan Studio and Sony’s appreciation for Japanese gaming is what attracted me to the console. Ape Escape, The Legend of Dragoon, Jumping Flash, The Puppeteer, Wild Arms, Intelligent Cube, Hot Shots Golf, Legend of Legia, ICO, Shadow of the Colossus. I can go on and on with games from the past 27 years. They’ve had a hand in helping create a plethora of unique and stylistic games that spoke to me as a Gamer. I feel like Sony is casting aside part of their identity for the sake of profits.
Then it hits me. Profitability. As much as these Publishers want to give an avenue for Creators to bring their dreams to life, the almighty dollar wins in the end. Sony higher-ups don’t care how much fun I’ve had with Everybody’s Golf while the series as whole has declined tremendously in sales. They don’t care how much we would love another Ape Escape game when the past few entries have been poorly received.
When games like God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man sell 15 to 20 million copies, they begin to look at things differently. Why pump money into a game that won’t even reach a million in sales when you can make another Spider-Man game and move millions without even trying? Because when it all comes down to it, gaming is entertainment and what’s the main point of entertainment? To make that almighty dollar.
I hate it and while I feel like Sony is making the wrong decision, I am excited about the future of the Astro character and his universe of fun. Astro Bot: Rescue Mission and the PS5 pack-in, Astro’s Playroom are two of the most enjoyable and charming games I’ve played from Sony over the years. If Sony is going to give them the resources to make proper Astro games going forward, I won’t complain about that.
What do YOU think about this drastic change for Sony moving forward? We would love to hear how you feel about this decision!