Sony-backed Deviation Games has shut down without releasing a game – WGB

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Founded in 2020, Deviation Games has officially closed its doors without ever releasing its debut game, which was supposed to be a brand new IP exclusive to PlayStation.

The studio was founded by Jason Blundell and Dave Anthony. Both men are industry veterans best known for working with his Treyarch on the Call of Duty: Black Ops series. By 2021, the studio has amassed 100 employees and announced a deal with PlayStation to create new original IP that will be exclusive to PlayStation.

Talk to GameIndustry.biz In June 2021, Deviation said its deal with Sony provides it with “complete financial security for many years to come.”

At the end of 2022, Jason Blundell announces departure from studio He helped me find it. Dave Anthony remained his CEO and also took on the role of game director. However, the studio also announced several more hires, including the hiring of Lewis Castle as senior vice president of development.

In May 2023, the bad news broke when Deviation announced the layoffs of approximately 90 of its 130 employees, indicating that Sony was no longer interested in supporting Deviation and was not walking out of the deal. A debate arose.

Just three months ago, Jason Blundell revealed that he had joined the PlayStation Studios team, but did not specify which team. Other former Deviation staff members have also been poached by PlayStation, so it’s possible that Jason is establishing a new studio within PlayStation. Confirming this is Jason’s own tweet announcing his joining PlayStation Studios, stating: “And I work for Jason Blundell.”

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Writing Deviation was extremely difficult. So today’s announcement to close the studio is sadly unsurprising.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the closure of Deviation Games,” Director of Operations Kriste Stull announced on LinkedIn. “I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the entire team. We appreciate your hard work, dedication, and contributions to Deviation. We truly appreciate the opportunity to work with each and every one of you. doing.

“We will be hosting a networking event for the video game industry as a whole, so we welcome all companies/studios that are hiring to join us. If you would like to participate, please contact me directly. Please contact me.

“Dear Deviators, we will always cherish the memories we made together. Thank you for joining us on our journey. Go get it!

Based on this timeline of events, I consider two potential explanations. The first is that Jason Blundell hinted at some kind of disagreement regarding the game Deviation was making. It’s strange that the founding members would choose to leave just two years after founding a new studio, and it seems like PlayStation didn’t really understand what they wanted either. Keep in mind, Sony recently announced its own layoffs due to shrinking profit margins, so if the deviation score doesn’t show as much progress as Sony expected in 2023. It is possible that Sony chose to exit early, resulting in layoffs.

The other theory, which is more grim, is that PlayStation pulled out of the deal while poaching a lot of talent. Given how many former Deviation employees have returned to PlayStation, along with Jason Blundell, it’s hard to believe that Sony could exit the business and hire a large number of Deviation staff in the aftermath. I don’t think it’s difficult to imagine.

A more charitable version: PlayStation executives may have wanted to support their staff as much as possible, even though they didn’t want to support the studio any more, and offered positions to as many people as possible. After all, Deviation was comprised of former Treyarch talent, a valuable asset to Sony and its studios.

Whatever happens, Deviation’s story is a sad one, and a reminder that starting a studio in today’s climate isn’t easy.We pray for the repose of the souls of those affected by the closure.

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