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Sony closing BigBig Studios, restructuring Cambridge

Tue 10 Jan 2012 4:41pm GMT / 11:41am EST / 8:41am PST
BusinessDevelopment

Little Deviants studio shuttered as Cambridge takes on Killzone Vita focus

Bigbig Studios

Bigbig Studios Limited is a video game development company based in the UK. Bigbig is the developer of...

bigbigstudios.com

Sony has confirmed that it is closing Leamington Spa studio BigBig, closely following its completion of Vita launch title Little Deviants.

As part of the same review process, Sony's Cambridge studio will be restructured and will be working closely with Amsterdam studio Guerilla to bring the Killzone franchise to Vita.

Sony has confirmed the closure to GamesIndustry.biz in a statement. It is not known how many staff will be affected by the closure.

"Regular reviews take place throughout SCE Worldwide Studios, ensuring that the resources that we have in such a competitive business can create and produce high quality, innovative and commercially viable projects," read the announcement.

"As part of this process, we have reviewed and assessed all current projects and plans for the short and medium term and have decided to make some changes to European Studios. It has been decided that Cambridge Studios will become closely linked with Guerilla Studios and as such will focus on bringing the Killzone franchise to PlayStation Vita.

"As a result of this, there will be a realignment of resource within the studio to ensure that the studio is in the best position to achieve this. It has also been proposed that BigBig Studio should be closed. BigBig have been an important part of SCE Worldwide Studios since joining in 2007. However, it was felt that by focusing on other Studios that are currently working on exciting new projects, we would be in a stronger position to offer the best possible content for our consumers."

It is not known if the Cambridge restructure will involve the loss of any employees.

18 Comments

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
Not a good day for the industry here.

Good luck to those affected.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Clemens Wangerin Co-Founder & Managing Director, Setgo Limited

8 0 0.0
Hopefully some of those affected will band together and start up something new between them. That's what's happened in Liverpool over the last couple of years and although it can be a struggle, plenty of start ups are doing well and gaining momentum.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Peter Lovell Head of Talent Acquisition, Jagex Games Studio

19 9 0.5
Sad news indeed. Am happy to talk to any affected staffers about careers at Jagex here in Cambridge to see if we can help. Please feel free to contact me via my GI.biz or LinkedIN profile.

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Alex Wright-Manning Talent Officer, Playground Games

172 2 0.0
The UK is looking less and less attractive a proposition in terms of creating AAA product, and don't the big guys show it. It's ruthless out there these days. You have to ask the question yet again, would similar incentives as offered in Canada have stopped this and other studios closing in the last few years? I know what my answer would be.

Fortunately Leamington Spa is still very bouyant in terms of studios hiring. As much as it's a shame to see it go, I don't think there'll be too much in the way of upheaval for affected staff. Good luck guys there's plenty out there for you!

Posted:2 years ago

#4
The talent is available in UK, the size of the studios is another issue.

Perhaps middle and micro sized studios might be the way forward in UK, with a decentralised workforce structure

Posted:2 years ago

#5

robert troughton UK General Manager, Epic Games

222 96 0.4
Urgh, more bad news for the industry...

The games industry reminds me of Jack Bauer (24)... every year you think "shit, it can't get any worse for that guy"... then the next year, it does.

Good luck to everyone involved in these redundancies... feel free to send your CV through to us if you're stuck - though I suspect we're too far North for most (Pitbull is in Sunderland, close to Newcastle/Gateshead)...

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
So goodbye Real Time Worlds, Bizarre Creations, Black Rock, Codemasters Guildford, Bigbig, Bright Light and Monumental Games. Yet the industry is booming! There are still 13 developers in Leamington town centre.

This is tied in to what is happening at Game and HMV. The business is changing fast. From big teams making boxed AAA retail products to small teams working in the online and mobile space.

Since the original 8 bit home computer games there has never been a better time to set up a new game development company. Even if it is just one person working out of their kitchen.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Looks like some of the Bigbig guys have already set up a new studio. It's called Midoki.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Oops, forgot to say we are still recruiting.
And we are just round the corner in Leamington.
Ring us on 01926 886 506 and drop round for a chat!

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

956 184 0.2
Oh man bad news: reloaded. : (

Good luck to all you guys affected.

Posted:2 years ago

#10
The plus side is one will find many familiar faces in the many established and new startup studios.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
Ugh, and I suppose giving Little Deviants a chance to launch in 2/3 of the global market is asking too much?! It doesn't seem that Sony have much faith in the product if this is the case. Best of luck to those affected by this.

And, for a studio as creative as Sony Cambridge, it's a shame they're being permanently remoulded to work exclusively on Killzone. I'm sure the brand is important to Sony, but I would much rather see creative and characterful adventure games like Medievil and Primal than yet more Killzone. Ditto Guerrilla Games; they said a while ago that their next game post-KZ3 would be a new IP, but it's looking like that's been shelved as they're gearing up for KZ4 instead.

PS - while we're at it, I would have loved Pursuit Force a chance to come to PSV as well.

PPS - the edit function still isn't working; I had to delete & re-post.

Posted:2 years ago

#12
Am curious, but what work does Sony Liverpool do? or is it all clandestine/general IPs?

Posted:2 years ago

#13

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

956 184 0.2
Development, Wipeout and F1 games.

Posted:2 years ago

#14
Wipeout - agreed
F1 (isnt that codies?)
Development - yeah, they have a rich rich history, from Psygnosis days. Could be cool to revive one of these old IPs

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
Chee - "yeah, they have a rich rich history, from Psygnosis days. Could be cool to revive one of these old IPs"

I would bloody love the likes of Shadow of the Beast, Barbarian, Colony Wars, G-Police, Rollcage, etc to come to PSN; many of them could still be great with HD upgrades. Psygnosis was probably my favourite developer/publisher in the Atari ST/Amiga 500 days, and I'm a bit of a fanboy of their work. Heck, I even think Kingsley's Adventure was a great little game that would provide a nice framework for a downloadable revival - sort of like half way between Ratchet and Starfox Adventures. And although it's not really a Psygnosis game (they merely published it in Europe), I'm still waiting for Alundra to come to EU PSN - another series which IMO would be perfect for a downloadable revival. Primal's another which I'd love to see on PSN, with a HD lick of paint and trophies.

Sorry, went on a bit of a geek tangent there. I guess my point is that Sony has so many excellent IPs under its umbrella that too many of them go to waste and aren't given the chance to fulfil their potential.

Posted:2 years ago

#16

Matthew Hill Head of Recruitment, Specialmove

75 26 0.3
@Chee - Just to clarify Sony also have External Development in Liverpool who work with 3rd party developers on titles published by SCEE. Confusingly (but positively) this includes Media Molecule who were independent until SCEE acquired them. They didn't want the acquisition to change what is clearly a succesful relationship

Posted:2 years ago

#17

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
Ugh. And I wanted a new Pursuit Force game for the PS3 and Vita. Sad to hear BigBig is gone.

@Terence - Kingsley! Man, I remember that one. I still have my copy of the PS1 game. It was pretty cool (clunky camera in some areas aside). Also, yup, Primal was SO underrated/under appreciated that it deserves a second look for the innovative elements in terms of the gameplay and visuals that made it one of the more unique game experiences on the PS2. Hmmm. I still have that here as well. Maybe I'll go replay a bit this weekend...

As for those old Psygnosis games, I'm STILL amazed no one has revived Colony Wars or Rollcage yet, even as (ugh) PSN-only titles. I'd prefer full on retail projects with the ability to create new tracks and vehicles in Rollcage and lots of bonus mission content for Colony Wars, but I guess those revivals won't happen in this AAA sequel-crazy market we're in...

Posted:2 years ago

#18

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