We can’t seem to go a month without hearing about a studio closure or massive layoffs. The latest such story comes from Evolution Studios, makers of the PlayStation 4 exclusive racing game, DriveClub.
According to Eurogamer, two sources “familiar with the matter” have estimated that 55 jobs will soon be chopped from the Evolution Studios staff, the team responsible for the PlayStation 3 MotorStorm racing series and, more recently, the PlayStation 4 exclusive, DriveClub.
It’s been a bumpy road for Evolution, with DriveClub failing to make its launch date alongside the PS4 back in 2013. A year later, the game finally arrived but without the promised PlayStation Plus Edition. Now, nearly half a year later, there’s still no word on when that Plus version will come out.
According to the original story, that 55 staff members is about half of the Evolution staff, though some members may be kept on as contractors following the axe-fest. Sony responded to inquiries concerning the potential layoffs, saying that Evolution’s key role moving forward will be to “focus on DriveClub as a service,” meaning they’ll be focusing on providing additional DLC and, supposedly, finishing up that Plus edition.
You’ll have to pardon the doom and gloom, but that doesn’t sound too promising for the future of the studio in general. It has the makings of an eventual total shutdown, after DriveClub has run its course (About nine months, according to earlier estimates). Then again, maybe the team will be allowed to focus on a smaller project moving forward, or maybe DriveClub will even continue to see a mixture of big and small DLC releases (similar to what we’re seeing with Destiny).
It’s the kind of story that’s becoming all too common these days, especially for a smaller studio that rests under the umbrella of a bigger publisher. Recently, something similar happened with Maxis, the team responsible for Sims games. They had a couple of offerings that didn’t seem to wow fans or critics and, next thing you know, the studio is shuttered.
If nothing else, maybe this will help gamers understand why so many folks are trying to go indie these days. The financial backing of a big publisher is nice and all, but that also runs the risk that you can be cut loose at the drop of a hat. Making massive AAA games means there’s almost no room for just a “decent” performance.