Driveclub Developer Evolution Studios Has Been Closed by Sony

evolution_studios_logo

Completely unexpected and from out of nowhere, Sony has announced the closure of Evolution Studios – the first-party development studio behind the WRC, Motorstorm and Driveclub series of racing games that was acquired by Sony Europe in 2008.

In a statement released today to gameindustry.bz, Sony insists that there would be attempts at reallocating some of the talent from Evolution to other studios, while also aware of the possibility that competent talent may ultimately be lost as a result of the culling, despite concerted efforts.

“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.”

This news comes nearly a year after the studio suffered unfortunate layoffs affecting more than 50 employees, resulting in the studio being restructured and focusing on the game as a service. The racing title was originally intended as a launch title but was delayed to 2014, it suffered a disastrous launch resulting in many being unable to access the game’s online features, among other things.

Since that time Evolution has done a 180-degree turnaround with the numerous updates and new content available for the game, and has become one of the most acclaimed racers for the platform that’s currently on shelves.

Jaguar XJ220
Jaguar’s XJ220 featured in the rather prophetic ‘Finish Line’ DLC. March 22nd, 2016, courtesy of torque99.

Even more shocking is Evolution was working on a PlayStation VR version of the game, something that, at least at the time, was going to be revealed in full at this year’s E3. Whether or not this remains the case has yet to be confirmed. It was a prominent showcase item for the company’s VR peripheral, dating back to last year.

Game Director Paul Rustchnysky issued a statement on Twitter following the announcement.

Rushy

Evolution’s community manager, Jamie Brayshaw, also took to Twitter with his own farewell statement, confirming that the future of Driveclub rests with another team at PlayStation.

PhenomEvolution

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Comments (68)

  1. torque99

    ^^Thank you Brend for using my Pic of the Jag ;) …Very sad news and wish all the best to the Evolution team and their future projects. Driveclub to me was one of the most enjoyable arcade games and as said the feedback and communication from the team was exemplary..take note PD/GT :)

  2. photonrider

    Gad.

    Seems like March is the News Month of the Year already.

    Shame. Hope there will be some sort of comeback for the staff involved.

  3. wastedtime

    Sony shut down the wrong racing game developer. I’m not saying this to troll. I really feel that the GT franchise needs new blood at the helm. They should have gave GT to Evo.
    A new GT should have been launched with the PS4.

  4. andrew84555

    That sucks, evolution is one of the great racing game developers. Hope the staff land on their feet.

  5. sebmugi

    With such decision Sony is losing its number of fan ..
    I hope evo studio continura to exist otherwise that are sponsored by assholes :(

    long live evo’

  6. JaySamurai

    One of my main reasons for buying a ps4 was Motorstorm. I still have dreams of having a Motorstorm game like what was seen at the E3 trailer when Motorstorm was first revealed. I enjoy playing DC, but the game I was really waiting for was Motorstorm.

    Is it likely that a Motorstorm game could still be made seeing as Sony owned the license?

  7. BrunetPaquet

    Even I didn’t like #DriveClub that much but now I feel bad for what happened. I’m gonna play it and give it some time I should’ve gave it long ago.

    Like Johnnypenso said, there’s gotta be something we don’t know yet as to why Evolution Studios gut shut down…

    1. Tenacious D

      I hate to say that I dislike DC with news like this (and the terrorist attacks in Europe, great war on terror there, western leader(s)), but I never could get along with it. Just not a fan of PGR style supercar moshfests. MotorStorm, now you’re talking, but that’s not on anyone’s radar as of yet so that might be gone forever too.

      But, I wish the survivors well, and hope they get to bring a more proper racing title along. If they end up helping to get GT Sport/7 on the shelves, I welcome their contributions to the only PlayStation series I give a toot for. In fact, the only racing game I like anymore besides RaceRoom.

  8. TomBrady

    Sony really is completely clueless when it comes to racing games. If GT hadn’t been such a massive success, I bet PD would’ve been closed by now.

    Both Liverpool and Evo are incredibly talented racing studios and I’m disgusted with Sony for closing them. Driveclub could’ve been Sony’s answer to Forza Horizon but instead they get closed down.

    I don’t get it. Who cares about the launch, Driveclub sold over 2 million at retail alone (and surely sold tons digitally), and has got nothing but praise from the fans. It’s turned into a huge hit on PS4. Has Sony not payed attention to any of that? If you’re gonna invest money into making a game, I’d think you should at least see what gamers REALLY think about it rather than only pay attention to stupid reviews and opinions that came out at launch

    1. ZEROTHEKNIGHT

      I’m one of those who’ve sold the game very early after purchasing it – expecting it to be a huge success as one of the very first PS4 racing titles.
      I’ve expected to be realistic then to be shocked that you’re able to break from high speed to lower speed before the corner in SLS like you’re riding an F1 rather than a logical brakes for a street super car.
      Another crazy thing is the unreal cornering speed using a certain different cars as i remember before selling the game.
      I’ve discovered later that it is an arcade racing game rather than simulation.
      With a poor enviroment graphics at it’s early days after release when i bought it.
      Plus a limited cars selection to about … how many ? , something like 5 manufactures ?
      After i’ve sold it – on the moving of time – the game devolopers have started to add DLC & updates with the game which has ticked me off or made me frustrated that it was late for them to do so ( well at least for me )
      What made it selling those 2 million copies ( i’m counted as one of the early buyers ) was because of the trailers & the presentation of the game, and people had high hopes for it since it was known for it to be a PS4 title – which gave the people ( like me ) a blind hope for it to be a success.
      One of my friends had told me before buying it – that the game is boring & i think that he adviced me on not to buy – i’ve ignored his advice then i’ve noticed later that i’ve shot myself on the foot.
      I was shocked on how the game turned out on the day i’ve tried it when i’ve noticed the disappointment.
      What matters more to the game devolepers is on how to convince the majority of the customers – not how much they’ll gain as the main priority – because if the majority were not convinced – the game devolpers will lose a future customers quickly.
      I was at first thought it was bad dicision from sony to close Evo Studio – until i took my time to read the article & the comments below.
      I’ve had high hopes for Driveclub – but i was disappointed.

    2. MeanElf

      You were disappointed due to your own expectations being for something that the game was never going to be – had never claimed it would be. You learned after the fact that it wasn’t a sim – you should also have learned before buying it, that the game’s design was to evolve with new content; in part determined by the players. That information was known before the game launched.

      So, in fairness it is not the game’s fault that you or others bought it expecting another GT with better graphics.

    3. TS040

      DC was never marketed as a sim. That’s your own fault for not doing any research.

      And anyway, DC is a completely different game compared to what is was back at release.

  9. submaniac93

    WRC 2005 on PS2… my only Evo Studios game, but so good. Too bad they don’t make WRC (games or real) as good anymore…

  10. GBalao888

    Driveclub seemed to remind us of one game series a few years back, the game it was based on: Project Gotham Racing. Both games had unique super and sports cars and featured wild environments and are arcade racers.

  11. ss3

    Motorstorm ;(
    Super sad now, well I wasn’t really expecting a new one but still I was just playing before looking on here

    1. BMfan

      It depends on who you ask.
      I haven’t played in over 6 months now and I have no interest in starting it up again,even though it has the xj220 I like.
      I have had a lot more fun playing Pears.

      So my answer is No.
      Why not try the Ps+ version,if it’s still in the store.

    2. JacoJa

      I found it’s very frustrating with a game pad…. I tried to like it, but though the game was rubbish due to the vague steering. Since I started using a wheel however, it feels like a completely different game… Honestly. I enjoy driving in this game so much now, that my only real complaint are the short races.

    3. SZRT Ice

      DriveClub works great from cockpit view w/ a game pad.

      The issue with the handling, is that unlike most traditional arcade racers, DriveClub has “gradual steering” instead of instant steer.

      Fully pressing the analog stick left or right will not give you full steering in the desired direction until your in-car avatar gets the steering wheel to that point. Which results in what feels like a delayed response system from follow cam/chase cam/3rd person point of view.

      If you are a gradual steering driver, it may require some practice. But flick steering drivers may actually do better here.

      It would help if the game had steering sensitivity settings. But the gradual steering, levels the playing field, and keeps things a bit more realistic (opposed to instant full steer-instant dead straight-instant full steer steering).

      My suggestion, try a different camera view than what you’re accustomed to if you’re having trouble with the handling characteristics.

    4. JacoJa

      Thanks for the comment, SZRT Ice! I wasn’t aware that it used that kind of gradual steering system. Explains why I crashed so much with the controller.

    5. JohnScoonsBeard

      It is better Spooky. The more advanced handling with a wheel is a step up but it’s not worth bothering with if you’re used to something as realistic as Project Cars which I know you are ;)

  12. Nato_777

    Must feel like a kick in the teeth for the Evo team!
    A big thank you to Rushy and all the team from me – despite DC’s poor start this game has been the best and most engaging experience I’ve ever had with a game and it’s developers. Having community images in the game menus for instance has been a real blast.

  13. Andyc709292

    A sad day I think.
    WRC 1/2/3 were most excellent on the PS2 – it was the start of race nights as I would have some mates round and we’d attempt time attack on stages. We always knew when we were doing a top time as everyone else would stop talking to watch the action. Happy memories.

    And reading up on Driveclub I was convincing myself that it was a reason to get a PS4, though I’m sure I still will of course. It’ll be interesting to see if the Sony launch title gets as much attention as it has been.

    I wonder if the plethora of updates and changes were contractual obligation, making it costly for Evolution as payment already received essentially.

  14. Imari

    Hehe, I just noticed:

    Since that time Evolution has done a 360-degree turnaround…

    You mean 180° Brendan? 360° would be back where they started. :P

  15. Johnnypenso

    With 2 million units sold as of 8 months ago it’s hard to believe the reasons for this were financial in nature. I have a feeling there’s more to the story than that and it will leak out in the coming weeks and months.

    1. TeamCZRRacing

      If you recall, the game was delayed for a year. I have a hunch that the circumstances surrounding its delay are at least linked to those surrounding Evo’s closure.

  16. Radracing

    Yes, Sony buying up the competition to help preserve the GT series game. Hopefully they will keep the sound guys and move them to PD to help fix the GT sounds effects. ;-)

    1. Johnnypenso

      DriveClub got some or maybe all of it’s cars from Glass Egg, a 3D modelling studio. Not sure if they have in house modellers or not. It would be a giant leap for PD to use outsourced models in one of their games. Incorporating the environments as part of a GT arcade style of game is always possible but I think it would leave a bad taste in consumer’s mouths to see all the DC tracks show up in another game that they have to pay full price for.

    2. Rubencho

      @TeamCZRRacing I want GT to be great again, but not at the cost of closing other projects like this :S; I had Horizon 1 on XB360 and found it very entertaining, I was hoping that DriveClub might fill that void in the PS

  17. dualshock

    I can’t believe they are closing down one of the BEST game makers! I have all their PS2 WRC games (even the PS1 Arcade one) which were all AAA and arguably even better than their Codemasters rivals (I shan’t even mention Milestone!) who could not be AMAZED with the madness of the Motorstorms (especially in 3D!) or Drive Clubs looks.
    I hope they all don’t get absorbed into games already in existence and get the chance to create their own special quality games again.

    1. dualshock

      After getting the latest 3 PS4 rally games, I decided to check out my old PS3 Milestone WRC games (as I’d hardly played them) and have a marathon, so I’m just going through the 1, 2, 3, and 4 in sequence at the moment, doing all stages in each rally and then watching the replay, and they’re not half as bad as I thought…. I’m quite enjoying them actually so perhaps I was abit unfair on Milestone.

  18. MrWaflz55

    I wasn’t expecting that after all of the Driveclub VR stuff they recently announced. Oh well, at least the game is still being supported somewhat. Maybe one day they’ll come back as an indie developer and wow us with a new project.

  19. nick98

    As if this day wasn’t bad enough due to the Brussels terrorist attacks. It’s the Studio Liverpool fiasco all over again. At this point, I feel like I may as well permanently switch sides to Xbox. Rest in peace, Evo, your fans will make sure to keep your legacy alive.

    #UniteInSpeed
    #DriveclubIsTimeless

  20. Johnnypenso

    It’s hard to tell what’s behind this without the relevant financial information. I’d really like to be a fly on the wall and find out what the Evo’s budget or annual expenditures were vs. their revenue. Hard to believe they didn’t make enough money on DC to at least pay the bills. Either way it’s sad news for DC and sim/arcade racing fans alike. After stumbling out of the blocks they’ve made an Olympic level turnaround with the game and it’s PR to go from a hated to cherished like few have before. Sad not to see that kind of effort and success rewarded with longevity.

    1. Imari

      Even if they weren’t actually making money, Sony needed Driveclub as Playstation’s only real answer to Forza. Other than DC, Sony doesn’t have any first party car porn.

    2. Johnnypenso

      I have a feeling there’s something else in play here. If I had to guess I’d say it might be paving the way for a Forza Horizon style GT game at some point. Just a guess though.

    3. Nato_777

      My initial thought was maybe DC was clashing with GT somehow, but Sony seems to be saying that DC will continue just with a different team at the helm. Will be interesting to see what underlying factors are behind this.

  21. Sparkz_360

    Can’t believe this has happened. Thank you Evo for all your hard work, best of luck to everyone future wise. So what’s going to happen to DriveClub?

  22. doblocruiser

    Bought it for PS4 during sale and simply amazing value for money. Played all rally games of this study and I am gutted to see them being closed down :(

  23. Scuderia Paul

    Wow, this is unexpected. I thought Evo was now stable and had a safe future. This is a huge pity and quite hard to take.

    Best of luck to all their wonderful guys n’ girls in their future endeavours.

  24. AudiMan2011

    Sony seems to be doing everything possible to drive customers away from PS4 with all the boneheaded decisions they’ve been making, but this could be the straw that breaks the back for many.

    They don’t seem to be “4ThePlayers” anymore and more like “4TheBeanCounters”

    R.I.P Evo for making such a great game. Thank you for everything.

    1. GBalao888

      This, Motorstorm and WipEout were good racing games besides Gran Turismo, now it’s only Gran Turismo that can fill Playstation’s racing game gap.

    2. SZRT Ice

      “PlayStation’s racing game gap”. Those listed by you are multiplatform. Judging by GBalao888’s list, he was talking about PlayStation exclusive’s. As MotorStorm & DriveClub were Evolution Studios (now, no more) & WipEOut was Studio Liverpool (also disbanded by Sony in 2012). Gran Turismo is Sony’s only exclusive racing series left.

    3. Johnnypenso

      He didn’t say PS exclusive, just Playstation. The games I listed are or will be available on the platform. Broaden your gaming horizons = more choice = more happiness.

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