Sony Interactive Entertainment is winding down one of its oldest and most popular first-party development studios, Japan Studio. The news was confirmed by the video game giant in a statement sent to IGN, which noted that Japan Studio would be “re-organized” into a new organization on April 1. That organization would be Team ASOBI, the division behind the critically acclaimed PlayStation 5 3D platformer Astro’s Playroom.
“In an effort to further strengthen business operations, SIE can confirm PlayStation Studios Japan Studio will be re-organized into a new organization on April 1,” Sony wrote in its statement to IGN. “JAPAN Studio will be re-centered to Team ASOBI, the creative team behind Astro’s PLAYROOM, allowing the team to focus on a single vision and build on the popularity of Astro’s PLAYROOM.”
“In addition, the roles of external production, software localization, and IP management of JAPAN Studio titles will be concentrated within the global functions of PlayStation Studios.”
It isn’t clear how many of JAPAN Studio’s original staff members remain, but VGC has confirmed that a good chunk of the team has already been laid off. Others have reportedly bailed and joined Silent Hill and Gravity Rush director Keiichiro Toyama’s new studio, Bokeh, which is working on some sort of new horror game.
Formed in 1993, Japan Studio has been involved with countless iconic PlayStation franchises such as Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Ape Escape, Jumping Flash!, PaRappa the Rapper, and Bloodborne. One of its most recent projects was the Demon’s Souls remake for PS5, which was developed in collaboration with Bluepoint Games.