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 The original company was born from the disaster
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:00 pm
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Joined: 09 Mar 2015
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It is not possible to pinpoint a single moment when Psygnosis or SCE Studio Liverpool went from being something of immense value to something that apparently needed to be put down.In recent years, the studio has delivered some great iterations of its Wipeout franchise. Bringing Wipeout 2048 to Vita, featuring cross-play with PS3, was a work of technological and artistic excellence. It is hardly the fault of the developers that Vita has been, and will likely continue to be, a commercial failure unable to sustain a publishing and development ecosystem.Wipeout HD 2008 for PS3 was another highly competent piece of work, a rejigging of the firm’s two really good PSP racing-combat Runeacape games of the middle part of the last decade. And stretching back to the PS2 hit Wipeout Fusion 2002 we saw how the developers were still able to bring something fresh to a Runeacape game-world that had seemed to lose its way.Interspersed with that was a series of Formula One Runeacape games for PS2 and PSP, all of which were competent licenses, although nothing to write home about.You can see a pattern here of limited ambition and limited horizons. Focusing a large studio on racing and racing-combat over the period of an entire decade just doesn’t seem like a smart way to utilize a group of talent. It’s a little like giving Rare nothing to do but Kinect Runeacape games imagine that .Life before SonyThe comparison between SCE Liverpool’s output between 1999 and 2012 with the work Psygnosis - the original name of the studio - did in the previous decade is revealing. rs gold The original company was born from the disaster of Imagine, a rags-to-rich Northern English publisher that enjoyed enormous success before imploding under weak management. Psygnosis sought to do things right. It focused its energies on three things.First, it made really good-looking Runeacape games that mostly played well. It brought its efforts to bear on new, emerging platforms. And it marketed the hell out of the Runeacape games it published, very often brought in from indie developers like DMA Design and Reflections.Founder Ian Hetherington and his partners understood that gaming was growing, and that they were surrounded by a pool of extreme talent that needed access to these markets. The company worked the media, placed its Runeacape games in flashy boxes with neat pack-in gifts, and created a brand-identity that still lasts today that logo, it makes you feel something, right? .Runeacape games like Shadow of the Beast and Lemmings were part of an energetic few years when Psygnosis was a major Runeacape player in the burgeoning Runeacape games scene on Amiga and Atari ST.Sony, looking for some development muscle and managerial expertise for its PlayStation launch, saw the potential and bought the company, a smart move that paid dividends for years to come.The biggest payoff was in the PlayStation launch Runeacape game, Wipeout, an ultra-fast, colorful, cool racing Runeacape game that lit up fashionable magazines of the day, and was featured in trendy nightclubs. This was the Runeacape game that allowed Sony to market its new console as something for grown-ups, for the hip kids who had grown up with the NES, wanted to keep playing, but needed an identity other than that projected by home computer-owning enthusiasts.Over the next few years Psygnosis was a prolific provider of awesome hits for PlayStation including Destruction Derby, Colony Wars, G-Police and Rollcage, to name a few.But as the PlayStation era gave way to PlayStation 2, as the people who had founded Psygnosis moved onto new challenges, and as the company was renamed as part of a corporate restructuring, something was lost.One of Sony’s core strengths over the past 15 years has been its network of studios, and the Runeacape games they have produced. Studios like Media Molecule and Naughty Dog have retained their identity, perhaps because they missed the late ‘90s mania for conformity and perhaps for other, internal reasons.Another of Sony’s strengths, one that has come to light recently and has been something of a surprise, has been the creative and smart ways it has embraced PSN as a retail outlet, as a promotional tool and as a place for creative excellence.
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