Japan Studio, a branch of PlayStation’s development efforts once responsible for everything from Shadow of the Colossus to Gravity Rush to Ape Escape, has been downsized to oblivion by Sony, with only the team responsible for Astro’s Playroom remaining, alongside a few other staff.
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.
This basically means “Japan Studio” is no more, and only Team Asobi will remain developing games under their own brand.
The move has been coming, with several key staff having left the studio over the past couple of years, but still, this sucks. Especially since the statement pays such little heed to the report that the studio being “re-centered” meant in actual terms, “The vast majority of its development staff [were] let go after their annual contracts were not renewed ahead of the company’s next business year, which begins April 1.”
Other beloved games once coming out of Japan Studio (or its subsidiaries) include Locoroco, Patapon, Ico, the Siren series and Knack.