The closure of London Studio makes PlayStation less interesting

In May 2024, Sony London Studio officially closed. We already know about the closure in a few weeks, of course, but now the developer has made its final statement, marking the end of an era. It also means that the PlayStation brand as a whole will be less interesting with London Studio gone.

London Studio isn’t exactly the first studio people think of when mentioning PlayStation. They are not as big as Naughty Dog, Guerrilla or Santa Monica Studio. But their impact on Sony’s gaming identity should not be underestimated. Their history is full of projects that were ahead of their time and made PlayStation an exciting place to be.

Let’s start with Resting place. While not technically developed by London Studio, its developers Team Soho were its predecessors, and it’s been showing signs of what we’ve come to expect from the team over the years. Resting place ambitious. The team tried to create an interactive gangster movie for PS2 with maximum immersion in mind. This means finding creative ways to remove HUD elements and communicate information to the player through the world itself. Mission markers have been replaced by flashing lights on your car. Damage will show on the main character through wounds and damage to clothing. While Dead space continues to be praised for its efforts to integrate the user interface into its universe, Resting place tried to do the same thing six years ago.

This isn’t the only time London Studio has beaten the rest of the industry. They were the main developers tasked with creating games using Sony’s EyeToy peripherals. This camera predated not only the Kinect but also the Wii, bringing conventional motion control to the masses. Games like EyeToy: Play Although rudimentary and simple, they demonstrate Sony’s desire to experiment with technology to create new experiences.

Image via Sony

That’s what London Studio would continue to do until their last days. They have worked extensively on PlayStation homepage service for PS3, creating a virtual space for players to participate in. With the PS4, their work shifted to VR, where they demonstrated the capabilities of the PS VR headset with PlayStation VR world. Critical acclaim for the London Heist arc led to the entire game Blood & Truthcombining their technological experimentation with gangster movie inspirations Resting placeled to critical and commercial success.

London Studio’s greatest achievement must be SingStar. Once again before the rhythm game boom that dominated the second half of the 2000s, SingStar turned the PS2 into a karaoke machine with games. It was a huge success, with many titles produced for the PS3 and continuing to exist long into the PS3’s lifespan. Personally, I have fond memories of playing this game with friends, where most of the group felt embarrassed by someone who had previously taken singing lessons. That’s definitely not me.

Image via Sony

These are all major contributions to PlayStation history. London Studio has done strange, interesting things that make the platform much more interesting and creative. It’s similar to Sony closing down Japan Studio. Not a studio that produces blockbuster movies but they are out there making games like Monkey escapes, Patapon And Gravity race. Quirky, unusual projects that did something unique and interesting were all thrown into disarray. The loss of Japan Studio makes PlayStation less interesting and reduces interest among Japanese audiences. The loss of the London Studio may be felt in a similar way.

The closure is also sad as it further reduces PlayStation’s presence in the UK. While I admit I’m a bit biased due to being British myself, UK studios played a significant role in Sony’s first-party output in the early days. The clear all series from Studio Liverpool and MediEvil from Cambridge Studio were all beloved PS1 games and helped shape the PlayStation as a platform. Both of those studios have long since ceased to exist, and with London Studio now closed, this leaves a barren landscape for Sony’s presence in the UK. All we have left are the studios that support Horizon and Media Molecule. Even that studio fell into a precarious situation later the closure of Dreamand if it is closed, I will mourn for at least a month.

Image via Sony

The closure of London Studio represents a further decline in what PlayStation is and the type of games Sony is willing to put out into the world. There is less and less willingness to invest in smaller, less visible games. There’s something unique and different about this type of game. Games are just fun for the sake of it. The only place Sony seems willing to launch a project of this nature is Astro’s playroom. An encapsulation header. From four years ago.

Instead of these types of games, there are similar types of cinematic games and countless live services. Certainly, investing in direct services may make sense later Hell diver 2 has proved very successful, but at the same time, that success is an organic success that comes from investing in smaller projects. After all, Hell diver 2 does not exist without the first hell diver, a low-budget top-down shooter quietly launched directly on PSN. If the focus had always been on big budgets in 2014, Sony simply wouldn’t have achieved the breakout success it has now.

As much as I love a lot of Sony’s current games, I have to admit that they’re starting to blend together. During the PS2 era, Santa Monica Studio was putting out a series of brawlers, Naughty Dog was making vehicular open-world platformers, Guerilla was trying to build the so-called “Halo Killer” and Sucker Punch are adding stealth to their animated 3D platformers. These days, all four studios are making realistic, cinematic action adventures. The playfulness that London Studio expressed is gone, replaced by meticulous drawings of facial hair and Neil Druckmann wants to replace creative input with AI.

London Studio represents a part of Sony and PlayStation’s identity that is now lost. The company may have saved some money after the shutdown, but overall, I feel the PlayStation brand has become poorer.

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