For all the myriad studio closures that have hit the video game industry over the past twelve months, there has been at least some good news. The dissolution of 38 Studios saw Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developer Big Huge Games without a home until Epic Games swung in, saved the staff, and formed Impossible Studios. On Tuesday, Crytek opened Crytek USA, a studio made up in part of staff from Vigil Games, the Darksiders studio that didn’t find a buyer during THQ’s bankruptcy proceedings. For Wipeout creator Sony Liverpool, which Sony shuttered in August, there has been no savior. There is, however, a new beginning of sorts for Sony Liverpool in the new studio Sawfly.
Sawfly is a for-hire study based in Liverpool, staffed by four key staffers from Sony Liverpool, including Wipeout Pulse designer Karl Jones, programmer Andrew Jones, and artist Jon Eggelton. The studio’s managing director is Mike Humphrey. Before Wipeout fans get their hopes up, they should know that Sawfly doesn’t plan to get into the racing game business any time soon.
“There are so many great racing franchises out there, but for one reason or another they just aren’t selling as well as they used to,” Humphrey told Gamasutra, “We still love racing games, but our focus is elsewhere right now.”
Sawfly’s focus is on a “cheeky, irreverent” game it’s building for publisher Ripstone ,which has put out some impressive PlayStation Network content for both PS3 and PS Vita, including Knytt Underground and Big Sky Infinity. It’s also working on an original title that it’s still trying to find a publisher for. “We have an idea of the kind of experiences we would like to make, and we thought the best way to make this a reality was to go it alone.”
Of the handheld Wipeout games, Pulse is arguably the best, and many of its best attributes were preserved in Wipeout HD and Wipeout 2048 on PS Vita.
When Sony Liverpool was closed, the studio was reportedly working on a new Wipeout for Sony’s next-gen console, the PlayStation 4 or Orbis as it’s sometimes called.