The video game industry can be as harsh as any other business, despite the fact that many of those working within it are the kinds of purveyors of dreams and oddities that fantasy novels have taught us to treasure. Many popular development studios have closed simply because their games, despite being well-loved by a select group of fans, didn’t make enough money to be able to continue production of further titles. Just a few months ago, the developer behind cult-classic Sleeping Dogs announced their doors would be closing even though many fans have been eagerly awaiting the possibility of a sequel – the bottom line in any business doesn’t always care about talent, but it does care about profit.
Now, just weeks into 2017, fans will have to brace themselves for another studio shutting down, although this time it isn’t the developer’s choice. Sony-owned Guerrilla Games‘ Cambridge branch will be getting shut down later this year, and Sony has confirmed that all employees will be getting laid-off, although some may get “reallocate[d]” to other projects. Sony explained the decision in a quote to GamesIndustry.biz:
“In order to deliver on our strategic objectives, it is necessary to make some changes to the European studios structure.”
Those changes, Sony noted, will not affect Guerrilla Games Amsterdam, the studio that is currently developing Horizon: Zero Dawn and is responsible for the bulk of the Killzone series.
The decision to reshuffle European priorities was a “regrettable” one according to Sony, who also confirmed that no other studios have been affected. The team at Guerrilla Games Cambridge was known in the industry as one of the best creatively and also worked closely with local universities to provide students with the opportunity to showcase new talent in the industry. Developers like Ninja Theory and Frontier are also based in Cambridge, which has become one of the key cities in UK-based games development.
Guerrila Games Cambridge was perhaps best known for the MediEvil franchise, a series of action-adventure games that began in 1998 and spanned nearly a decade. The Cambridge development team also produced Killzone: Mercenary, a game that received mixed reviews but met with a lot of praise from die-hard FPS players as a title with a deep and incredibly well-made shooting system. Sony released a small statement about the contributions of Guerrilla Games Cambridge:
“The decision [to close] should not take anything away from the incredible games and services that Guerrilla Cambridge has delivered.”
Unfortunately, it’s still the end of an era for Guerrilla Games Cambridge, a studio that has been in the business for almost 20 years. Game Rant extends our best wishes to those affected by the change, and we hope the employees who were laid off are able to continue their important – and valued – work in the industry elsewhere very soon.