Sony is winding down original game development at its oldest first-party developer, Japan Studio, game news outlet VGC reported, citing sources. From the report: The iconic developer behind Ape Escape, Gravity Rush and Knack has seen the vast majority of its development staff let go, the sources said, after their annual contracts were not renewed ahead of the company’s next business year, which begins April 1. Localisation and business staff will remain in place and ASOBI Team — the group responsible for the Astro Bot games — will continue as a standalone studio within Sony Japan, it’s claimed. Some Japan Studio staff will join ASOBI, we were told, while others have followed Silent Hill and Gravity Rush director Keiichiro Toyama — who left Japan Studio last year — to his new studio Bokeh. It’s not entirely clear if the restructure has affected the studio’s External Development Department, which collaborated on games such as last year’s Demon’s Souls, but one person VGC spoke to suggested it would continue.
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