Update: SIE has confirmed to IGN that PlayStation’s Japan Studio has been re-organized and moved into Team ASOBI.
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.
VGC is reporting that PlayStation’s Sony Japan studio is closing down with the majority of the staff let go. ASOBI Team, which is the development team responsible for Astro Bot will remain in place.
Sony Japan was one of Sony’s founding studios. They were responsible for games such as PaRappa The Rapper, Everybody’s Golf, Ape Escape, Gravity Rush, Knack, and Puppeteer. They had also assisted in the development of a number of games, with Demon’s Souls (Remake) being the last.
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Some of the staff at Sony Japan will join the ASOBI team with others following prominent member Keiichiro Toyama to his new studio, Bokeh.
The ramping down of development at this studio has been happening for some time with prominent developers leaving the studio in recent months.
VGC goes on to report that sources told them that Sony Japan wasn’t profitable in recent years. It’s a massive shame given that the studio was responsible for many diverse games that bolstered PlayStation’s first-party lineup with games outside of the norm.
It’s obviously unclear what this means for franchises such as Gravity Rush and Ape Escape, but if the core studio is gone, it’s hard to see quirky games like this making a return.