In what may be the surprise WTF moment of the year, Sony have closed down WipEout developer Studio Liverpool, apparently in an effort to shift focus and resource to other studios.

A press release, reproduced below, was issued confirming the closure.

“As part of SCE Worldwide Studios, we do regular reviews to ensure that the resources we have can create and produce high quality, innovative and commercially viable projects in an increasingly competitive market place. As part of this process, we have reviewed and assessed all current and planned projects for the short and medium term and have decided to make some changes to our European Studios.

“It has been decided that Liverpool Studio should be closed. Liverpool Studio has been an important part of SCE Worldwide Studios since the outset of PlayStation, and have contributed greatly to PlayStation over the years. Everyone connected with Liverpool Studio, past and present, can be very proud of their achievements.

“However, it was felt that by focusing our investment plans on other Studios that are currently working on exciting new projects, we would be in a stronger position to offer the best possible content for our consumers.

“Our Liverpool Facility will continue to operate, housing a number of other vital WWS and SCEE Departments.

This should not take anything away from the great work WWS are doing and the incredible games and services that we have made, and continue to make, both for this coming year and further in the future.”

I can’t imagine anyone saw this coming. This gen, we’ve had the critically acclaimed WipEout HD and its Fury add-on pack, and the well-received Vita launch title WipEout 2048, which also received the HD and Fury tracks recently. Granted, they’ve worked on nothing but WipEout for the past four years, but Sony owns the studio; if they wanted the team to create something new, it was surely in their power to make that happen.

Instead, we’ve now lost yet another long-running British development house – one with 28 years of history behind it, beginning as Psygnosis in 1984, before being acquired by Sony in 1993.

It has not been made clear whether the staff will be absorbed into other SCE studios.

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