Playstations’ Manchester VR studio was formed in 2015 to work exclusively on VR games. Jobs were listed for a secret VR project called AAA, with discrete information. Unfortunately, fans may never get to play this game. The first-party studio is now being closed with zero game releases to its name. The company explains the reason behind the closure in a quote to GameIndustry.biz: “…as part of our efforts to improve efficiency and operational effectiveness.”
The studio was still working on the unannounced VR project at the time of closure, and former employees are now left looking for new employment. With the lack of output, it is understandable that the studio grew stagnant. Manchester VR joins the list of multiple UK studios axed by Playstation. Evolution, the studio responsible for Driveclub, closed its doors in 2016. Guerrilla Cambridge following suit the next year in 2017. Both studios worked on VR games before closing. Guerilla Cambridge, most notably, developed a VR game called RIGS: Mechanized Combat League.
This makes a total of 3 UK Playstation studios closed within the last decade. Two first-party studios remain in the UK. The first being Media Molecule, known for games like Dreams. The second being their London studio which developed Blood & Truth. Playstation remains committed to VR games as the Playstation VR will have backwards compatibility with new gen systems. The future of Manchester VR’s project is unclear, with no word on whether the game is scrapped, or passed on to a new studio.
How this will affect the output of Playstation VR games and content remains to be seen. Sony has most likely turned its attention towards the development and roll out of the Playstation 5. The Playstation VR seems to be less of a priority for Sony these days. Check back for more updates and news.