Sony announces closure of Cheshire-based Evolution Studios

Sony announced that it will shut down the Cheshire-based ‘Evolution Studios’ which developed the racing series World Rally Championship, Motorstorm and DriveClub.

The decision to close Evolution Studios, founded in 1999 by Martin Kenwright and Psygnosis veteran Ian Hetherington, was made following one of Sony’s “regular reviews” of its satellite businesses.

The announcement comes shortly after Microsoft announced plans to close Lionhead Studios – another British video game developer known for its ‘Fable’ series.

Evolution Studios history banner
Evolution Studios created five World Rally Championship games on the PS2 and Motorstorm for the PS3 before being acquired by Sony.

Sony said in a statement:

“We accept that this decision will mean that we risk losing high calibre staff, but by focusing on other studios that already have exciting new projects in development we believe we will be in a stronger position going forward and able to offer the best possible content of the highest quality for our consumers,” it said in a statement.

“Where possible we will try to reallocate people onto other projects. If appropriate opportunities are not possible within the company, we will assist staff in any way we can, including speaking with local employers and with other development companies.”

Evolution Studio became well known after launching the World Rally Championship series on the PlayStation 2. In 2006 the company launched Motorstorm for the PlayStation 3 before being acquired by Sony in 2007.

The studio’s most recent title, DriveClub, an online racer for PlayStation 4, experienced a somewhat difficult launch but still managed to sell more than 2 million copies. Shortly after Sony made the announcement, DriveClub director Paul Rustchynsky thanked fans via Twitter for their support.