Another report of a first-party developer closing down. This time it’s one of Sony’s to take the hit. According to the report by Gameindustry.biz, Evolution Studios, the team behind Driveclub and the Motorstorm series has shut down. Sony decided to make the hard decision of letting go the talented people, and hopefully reallocating some of them to other studios among Sony’s list of first-party developers. This is also another UK-based studio to suffer such events, with Lionhead Studios had a similar fate earlier this month.
Evolution Studios has a long history of making off-road racing games, with the Motorstorm series of last generation being the main highlight. Seeing them making a launch title for the PS4 Driveclub, a street-based racer with online capabilities saying that it’s the studio’s earliest idea finally being made to production, was an interesting moment. However, Driveclub suffered from development issues, a delay that made the game missed the PS4’s launch window, and the online servers barely working once the game shipped. It took another long year of constant updates until the game is finally playable, and a PS Plus edition of the game available for subscribers of PS Plus was finally ready.
What makes it even more unfortunate is that Evolution was on a role lately, pumping out more updates for Driveclub, both free and as DLC, including adding bikes, a new hardcore handling, and new tracks. They were also planning to make Driveclub playable with PS VR. Those updates given in goodwill isn’t enough to convince Sony to keep supporting the team unfortunately, and it probably wasn’t really selling well. In fact, if you visit the PS Store this month, Driveclub is nowhere to be purchased digitally. In Asia, at least. But still, Driveclub is pretty great for what it is, a worthy successor to Project Gotham Racing. It was the biggest racing franchise made by Bizzare Creations, another UK-based studio with racing pedigree that has now closed down.
We wish the best of luck to all that are affected with the studio’s closure.
— Jamie Brayshaw (@PhenomEvolution) March 22, 2016