Sony decided to close Wipeout developer Studio Liverpool last summer, and four members of the team have now formed an independent studio of their own called Sawfly Studios, they announced today.
Sawfly consists of Studio Liverpool principal designers Mike Humphrey and Karl Jones, lead programmer Andrew Jones and artist Jon Eggelton. The Studio Liverpool veterans have more than 50 years of game industry experience between them from companies such as Sony, Bizarre Creations, Warner Bros. and Evolution Studios.
According to Humphrey, who serves as Sawfly's managing director, the four developers were offered new jobs at major developers upon Studio Liverpool's closure. But they realized they "had something more to contribute to the games industry," and decided to start their own studio. "At Sawfly we want to create amazing and memorable gameplay experiences under our own terms, so that's exactly what we're doing," said Humphrey in a press release announcing the company's formation.
At the outset, that consists of doing contract work for "a couple of different companies" while pitching their own original intellectual property to publishers. "Pitching your own ideas is great and extremely satisfying, but we were keen to hit the ground running," said design director Karl Jones in the press release.
Sawfly's first game, which the company called "really cheeky, irreverent and a hell of a lot of fun," is in development for Ripstone, a publisher of digital titles such as the side-scrolling PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita shooter Big Sky Infinity and the 8-bit first-person shooter Gun Commando on PlayStation Mobile. It will be released on "smart phones, tablets and even the odd handheld console or two," Humphrey told GamesIndustry International.
As for Sawfly's original IP, Humphrey said that the game is "something that the team had a lot of experience with while working internally for Sony." Sawfly's team has experience making racing games of all stripes, including the Wipeout, Motorstorm and Formula 1 franchises.
Check out the Sawfly logo below.