Sony’s Illustrious Japan Studio Is Basically Done For

Sony’s Illustrious Japan Studio Is Basically Done For
Image: Sony

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.

Responding to an initial report by VGC, a statement issued by Sony to IGN reads:

In an effort to further strengthen business operations, SIE can confirm PlayStation Studios JAPAN Studio will be re-organised into a new organisation 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 localisation, 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.


  • So MS is building studios and Sony is effectively reducing their output?

    I can see a scenario in 3-4 years where MS has 2x more exclusives than Sony does each year. Of course Sony fanboys will say MS exclusives suck, etc, but many of their studios actually have decent pedigrees.

    • I don’t think that’d be correct. Just last year, Sony announced Playstation Studio’s that was specifically for alligning and publishing exclusives under the one banner. When I look at what Japan Studio has launched, their IP doesn’t really compare to the IP’s launched by other Playstation Studio developers. Shadow of the Collosus, the last guardian are PS2 games relaunched on PS4, 2 Gravity Rush Games that only really had a big following in Japan compared to the rest of the world, and the Knack games which mainly had an appeal to children compared to the larger demographic of gamers older than 15.

  • I think Sony’s gaming department probably is taking a hit with all the scalpers around. If they’re making a loss selling consoles, but no one has consoles to buy the games with at the moment due to the scalpers hoarding, that has to be hurting them somewhere in the production line. Shame that this studio’s taken a blow for probably this and many other reasons like COVID.

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