For almost an entire decade, developer Evolution Studios has been making games as one of Sony‘s Worldwide Studios. Their arcade racing franchise MotorStorm was a huge system seller on PS3 and PS Vita and Evolution had hoped to replicate their success with team racer, Driveclub.
The game was originally planned to release alongside the PS4’s launch in November 2013 but several delays saw its release date pushed back until October 2014. Unfortunately, Driveclub‘s eventual launch wasn’t very smooth either.
Massive server issues prevented players from accessing Driveclub‘s multiplayer for several weeks after launch and Evolution Studios offered free DLC to affected players. The sever troubles also meant that the PlayStation Plus edition of Driveclub (which gave PS+ subscribers a smaller version of the game for free) had to be delayed indefinitely.
But despite Driveclub‘s initial hiccups, Eurogamer reports that the game sold well, and work on Driveclub now seems to be going to plan. Just one week ago the developer revealed Driveclub‘s Lamborghini DLC and Sony reassured fans that the PS+ version is still on the way. It’s for that reason that we are surprised to hear of layoffs at Evolution Studios.
In a statement, Sony explained:
“Evolution Studios will now focus on DriveClub as a service going forward, in particular, the important launch of the PS Plus Edition. We will be restructuring Evolution Studios to ensure that SCE WWS and in particular, Evolution Studios are in the best position to achieve these goals. Our first party development studios are key to our creative strategy and we are very excited about the future projects being worked on and the role Evolution Studios will play. We will be looking to relocate team members throughout the studios, but unfortunately some redundancies will be necessary and in those cases we will assist staff in any way we can.”
Sony hasn’t provided a specific reason for the layoffs but it may be a normal part of development. Many teams suffer layoffs post-launch because the bulk of the development work is complete. This is especially the case with Evolution Studios as the developer is only working on more Driveclub DLC for the game. Not to mention, the PS Plus edition doesn’t require any extra content and therefore doesn’t need any extra manpower.
Do you think these layoffs are a bad sign for Driveclub? Or are they just part of the process for game development?