Sony has acquired MotorStorm developer Evolution Studios along with Pursuit Force subsidiary Bigbig Studios.
And GamesIndustry.biz can reveal that co-founders of Evolution Studios, Martin Kenwright and Ian Hetherington are to leave the company, with managing director Mick Hocking taking on the role of group studio director responsible for Evolution Studios, Bigbig Studio and Sony's Liverpool Studio.
"Our strategy with our studios is to create the best games by working with the best talent," said Michael Denny, vice president of SCE Worldwide Studios, speaking exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz.
"We've enjoyed a highly productive and commercially successful relationship with Evolution and Bigbig and now there's a great opportunity in bringing them into part of the family to share further in terms of technology, production methodology and creative goals to make the experiences that these teams are creating even better."
Denny said that both development studios would be free to manage their day-to-day output, and there were no intentions to make changes to the current workforce.
"Worldwide Studio Europe management will be involved in the strategic planning and financial management of the studio but day-to-day operations will continue largely unchanged.
"We want to protect and enhance our investment in Evolution Studios and Bigbig, and have no plans to reduce the overall number of staff in either studio," he said.
Evolution was established in 1999 and has worked on five versions of World Rally Championship for Sony's PlayStation 2. It's most recent title, MotorStorm, has been one of the biggest-selling games for the PlayStation 3.
As well as content expansions for the off-road racer, Evolution is also working on the next instalment of MotorStorm for release on Blu-ray disc in 2008.
Bigbig Studios, based in Leamington Spa, was founded in 2001, and developed the 800,000-selling Pursuit Force for the PSP. It is also working on a sequel, Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice, due for release this year on PSP and on PS2 in early 2008.
The acquisitions bring the total number of development studios in the SCE Worldwide Studios group to 15, with over 2,500 employees.
The full interview with Michael Denny, where he discusses future plans for Evolution Studios, can be read here.