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VGC: Sony is winding down Japan Studio

Evangelion Unit-01

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It really stings for a lot of folks, but there wasn't much left to the studio and continuing to put money towards a struggling studio doesn't make much sense.
Moreover all of the talent behind Ape Escape, Gravity Rush, and Shadow of the Colossus moved on a long time ago. The decision makes a lot of financial sense and doesn't mean the brand is wholly done in Japan. We will continue to see them partner on games like Bloodborne and push for exclusivity on major titles like Final Fantasy and Persona. There are still a healthy number of Japanese studios targeting PS. Not ideal but not sure what else would make sense if I had to make the decision knowing I could drive more revenue by pushing that capital elsewhere.

Personally I'm just hoping that the deals they will push for in Japan now won't keep games like Persona and Final Fantasy off PC/Switch in perpetuity.
 
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EDMIX

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I'm not saying they won't make little games

also you...

stop kidding everybody that Sony is still committed to creative little gaming bonbons


I hope they do. But owning a whole studio that primarily is known for PSP games an

Thats nice, that has nothing to do with stuff like Unfinished Swan, Dreams, Sack Boy etc. Winding down that studio is irrelevant to the other smaller titles that clearly still get made by the company. They never exclusively only made those titles for Sony as clearly other teams did and still create those smaller titles for Sony as well.

Imagine saying this shit before the release of Ratchet and after the release of Destruction Allstars.
 

Kumomeme

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all the talent that being let go is kind of waste. hopefully these guys not scattered around aimlessly. they should atleast build new studio with these guy or put them somewhere else usefull.
 
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SaturnSaturn

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Imagine saying this shit before the release of Ratchet and after the release of Destruction Allstars.
lmao, imagine comparing japan studios output to some mediocre platformer game and a jamba juice rocketleauge clone that looks like shit
 
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longdi

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jimbo sony pretty much leaving their japanese audience behind, giving up japan to nintendo even from his double speak. would be interesting to see the sales charts this gen.

writing on the wall when ps events are held in the wee mornings of jpt.

i wonder if shu is feeling ashamed at not protecting his country man jobs. or kaz feeling the extra pressure of the sole funded SCEJ entity now.

this sends a strong signals to potential japanese developers who wants to create games for ps5, your games must appeal to western audience foremost. SCE seems to totally pivot to the west, could be the endgame for japanese game design for home consoles.

bloomberg leak was the final straw it seems
 
Oct 26, 2018
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jimbo sony pretty much leaving their japanese audience behind, giving up japan to nintendo even from his double speak. would be interesting to see the sales charts this gen.

writing on the wall when ps events are held in the wee mornings of jpt.

i wonder if shu is feeling ashamed at not protecting his country man jobs. or kaz feeling the extra pressure of the sole funded SCEJ entity now.

this sends a strong signals to potential japanese developers who wants to create games for ps5, your games must appeal to western audience foremost. SCE seems to totally pivot to the west, could be the endgame for japanese game design for home consoles.

bloomberg leak was the final straw it seems
Business is business. Follow the money. And console gaming in Japan has been dying for a while. Last time there was a big console push was the PS2 days.

Japanese gamers went full tilt mobile last 10 years. I don't think even PS3 did that great there.
 
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YukiOnna

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It really stings for a lot of folks, but there wasn't much left to the studio and continuing to put money towards a struggling studio doesn't make much sense.
Moreover all of the talent behind Ape Escape, Gravity Rush, and Shadow of the Colossus moved on a long time ago. The decision makes a lot of financial sense and doesn't mean the brand is wholly done in Japan. We will continue to see them partner on games like Bloodborne and push for exclusivity on major titles like Final Fantasy and Persona. There are still a healthy number of Japanese studios targeting PS.

Personally I'm just hoping that the deals they will push for in Japan now won't keep games like Persona and Final Fantasy off PC/Switch in perpetuity.
Oh it makes a lot of sense for them. Especially with them securing the 3rd parties as timed exclusives although the company is of course to blame for why they couldn't keep a hold compared to Nintendo, but it is what it is since that's business. Rather than console gaming dying, it's more Nintendo that took the correct approach with that demographic. I'm not sure if this means a Bloodborne level partnership will ever happen given the leads involved to make that happen, but I'd love to be proven wrong. It is sad stuff like Patapon, GR, etc is all but gone though and I personally wouldn't be happy with IP's being spread to be used by other WWS as nice as Demons Souls R was.

It is what it is. At least we have Square, Bamco, KT, etc.
 

CamHostage

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Thats nice, that has nothing to do with stuff like Unfinished Swan, Dreams, Sack Boy etc. Winding down that studio is irrelevant to the other smaller titles that clearly still get made by the company. They never exclusively only made those titles for Sony as clearly other teams did and still create those smaller titles for Sony as well.

Sorry, I'm confused what you're so angry at me about? All of Sony can still make mid-tier or smaller titles if they want. (Although really, you're putting something as massive as Dreams in that category?) However, having a legacy studio of salaried employees just to produce small titles is different than having boutique studios like PixelOpus or Media Molecule specifically established and contracted to operate under smaller operating costs and more clear authoritative direction to produce titles on that scale.

I'm not sure if this means a Bloodborne level partnership will ever happen given the leads involved to make that happen, but I'd love to be proven wrong. It is sad stuff like Patapon, GR, etc is all but gone though and I personally wouldn't be happy with IP's being spread to be used by other WWS as nice as Demons Souls R was.

The Bloodborne level partnerships are still there; some version of Sony Japan will still operate as a contract studio for external game developers to bring titles for Sony to publish.

And while the franchises are probably dead, the types of games like your Patapons and Gravity Rushes might not be gone either, they just won't be made internally by teams inside Sony Japan. All these outcast game developers starting up new studios, they are now in the Bloodborne boat of having to pitch Sony to pick up their game pitches. If their pitch is good and attractive for a specific market target (be it a big or small concept, depending on the budget and projected reach,) they may get Sony's money to go make it. Whether Sony will be in the market for something like a Patapon or a Gravity Rush, that's the question we're nervous to hear an answer to.

Sometimes, that actually works out for a studio, that a talent group (or portion of it) go indie and then come back to Papa as a third-party contract studio under their own power (ala Twisted Metal PS3/Head-On, Daxter/The Order 1886, sort of ala The Last Guardian, supposedly ala the rumor that Bokeh pitched their first project back at Sony.)

I'm probably being way too positive about the outcome of those emancipated studios (there's surely way, way more tragic stories than successful ones, and even in the win column cases, those team members were for sure white-knuckling it on their own until their projects got signed,) but it's a totally different story than a studio culture where a sequel to Knack got started before Sony greenlit it. For better or worse...
 
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EDMIX

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Sorry, I'm confused what you're so angry at me about?

Angry? Nothing is personal even remotely in that post.

you're putting something as massive as Dreams in that category?

Dreams isn't some "massive" AAA IP. Its one of their smaller titles that they made very much proving they didn't just only have 1 studio in Japan doing all those titles for them.

They have many teams that put out small titles like that. This doesn't even state it would be gone, it simply states "winding down" as those developers will likely go into other studios they have in the east.
 

longdi

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Business is business. Follow the money. And console gaming in Japan has been dying for a while. Last time there was a big console push was the PS2 days.

Japanese gamers went full tilt mobile last 10 years. I don't think even PS3 did that great there.

imo for tradition and diversity, sony should continue with SCEJ and not terminate them. you never know when the trend flips.

kinda short sighted for jimbo to double down on the IPs that made success for them last gen (funding for TV and movies!)

tbf the lack of sales of SCEJ games may also be down to fundings, according to the now verifiable bloomberg leak, japan studios were totally sidelined in the later ps4 years.

also in the leak, MS is wishing to come back in hard with japanese developers, hopefully the rumored kojipro tie up can be confirm soon.
 
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YeulEmeralda

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all the talent that being let go is kind of waste. hopefully these guys not scattered around aimlessly. they should atleast build new studio with these guy or put them somewhere else usefull.

Realistically they will be working on Android/iOS games in a few years.
 
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imo for tradition and diversity, sony should continue with SCEJ and not terminate them. you never know when the trend flips.

kinda short sighted for jimbo to double down on the IPs that made success for them last gen (funding for TV and movies!)

tbf the lack of sales of SCEJ games may also be down to fundings, according to the now verifiable bloomberg leak, japan studios were totally sidelined in the later ps4 years.

also in the leak, MS is wishing to come back in hard with japanese developers, hopefully the rumored kojipro tie up can be confirm soon.
It's all about money. And their PR from eras ago about tons of games is BS when I think all of their big first party games are skewed to SP narratives and Gran Turismo. That's it. Add in annual baseball game if you want.

Some reason all the other shit they tried the past few generations: shooters (many of them), all stars fighting game, tons of Evolution racers, some JRPG all failed.

Either the typical Sony gamer doesn't like those kinds of games and only gravitate to the most popular games in the genre like COD and Street Fighter, or Sony studios just make many meh games in various genres which the fanbase bailed from.
 
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BabyYoda

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What didn't you understand about Japan?

Just that as a country that has pioneered so much and been so dominant in consoles and their software for decades and still are, that they don't really like playing them anymore and now prefer to play mobile games of all things...I don't get them!
 
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Just that as a country that has pioneered so much and been so dominant in consoles and their software for decades and still are, that they don't really like playing them anymore and now prefer to play mobile games of all things...I don't get them!
Maybe that whole thing about Japanese people live in small homes and they don't want to clutter their living room with big piece of plastic is true after all.

But consoles dominated because the quality is so much better than a Gameboy or DS.

But with Switch and cellphones having games with "good enough quality", it got to a breaking point where Japanese gamers can live with mobile at the expense of higher quality console version??????
 

Animagic

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It’s over.

End of an era.

japan sauce GIF
 
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kyliethicc

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They didn't make 3rd person action games with "moral message" so it was expected.

they want their first party to basically just be ubisoft

Motherfucking Jim Ryan.

"The sources claimed that Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio simply has not been profitable enough in recent years. While it wanted to create games that appealed to the Japanese market first with hopes of global appeal, the larger organization wanted it to create the kind of global hits other PlayStation Studios produce.

Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan hinted at this strategy in an interview back in November 2019, stating, “The nature of AAA PlayStation 4 and certainly PlayStation 5 development… We’re obviously not going to have Worldwide Studios make a game for one specific European country. That might have been the case back in the PSP times with Invizimals [which was popular in Spain]. I think this will be where Shuhei Yoshida’s new task [of working with indies] will come in. If we are nimble, flexible, and global, we can work with smaller developers to allow those countries’ specific needs to be met.”

One source suggested Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio’s fate was sealed after Astro’s Playroom and Astro Bot Rescue Mission director Nicolas Doucet was promoted to studio director following the departure of long-time president Allan Becker.
Another said this was part of Sony Interactive Entertainment shifting its headquarters from Japan to the United States."



season 3 show GIF by Survivor’s Remorse
 

synce

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Sony's strategy: fuck Japan, but let's ONLY buy out Final Fantasy just to spite everyone who cares about those kinds of games.
 
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MagnesG

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Yeah, I get cancelled every few days whenever I complain about Sony.

You're right. All of those studios were a huge reason why I turned into a Sony fan. I mean i feel like everyone was a Sony fan in the PS2 days because everything was a PS exclusive. MGS, FF, GTA, DMC. You had to be. But they really got me in the ps3 era when they started investing in first party studios and as much as I liked KZ, Uncharted and Gow, it was MAG, Socom, Warhawk, SOTC, Ico and Motorstorm that really made me a fan.

I remember always arguing with people who called Sony a one note publisher with a focus on cinematic games because my experience with the ps3 was far more varied. Racing games, online shooters, shit like Flower and Journey, car combat games like Twisted Metal. Team Ico games that were unlike anything else out there that wouldnt fit into any genre.

I dont want to insult any Sony fans, but how many even remember Pursuit Force on the PSP. It was like a blast from the past. Somethign you would play in the arcades or on a sega system. Wipeout. Sony used to be so much more than they are now. And it's depressing.
You got 120 ~~ mil PS4 players mostly expecting only casual sports and AAA games these days for their $60, constant and rampant discounts for 3 months old and above games, no indies or AA games allowed whatsoever. The writing is on the wall since PS4 launch on how they nurtured the playerbase.
 
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billyxci

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If this means no chance of Bloodborne remaster or sequel then Sony are now dead to me.
 
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The danger with abandoning Japanese development isn't so much because of the Japanese market itself, it's because Japanese games have proven hit potential in the rest of the world and they help vary your lineup to appeal to a different set of audiences in the west. Sony already has the narrative third person genre locked down, additional games they release in that vein will have diminishing returns in terms of selling consoles. A JRPG that sells 4 million could be better for the ecosystem than another narrative third person game that sells 8 million, for example, even if it's not more directly profitable - it would keep JRPG fans from abandoning the PlayStation, whereas narrative third person fans are in no danger of doing that.
If this means no chance of Bloodborne remaster or sequel then Sony are now dead to me.
It's unclear what Japan Studio even did with Bloodborne, since it seems like a From game through and through. Maybe they designed the chalice dungeons? Either way, I doubt Bloodborne 2 or remaster is going to depend on Japan Studio - it'll be From in the first case and Bluepoint in the second.
 

YukiOnna

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It's unclear what Japan Studio even did with Bloodborne, since it seems like a From game through and through. Maybe they designed the chalice dungeons? Either way, I doubt Bloodborne 2 or remaster is going to depend on Japan Studio - it'll be From in the first case and Bluepoint in the second.
Sony would be the ones who approached Miyazaki to do Bloodborne in the first place. Proposing him to work on a new IP together exclusively for the PS4. Yamagiwa, who announced his departure from Japan Studio, had been directly involved with the IP from the management side. Creative was likely 100% FromSoftware's choice given Sony wanted just that, a Miyazaki game different from Souls.
 
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demigod

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Change was needed. I'm betting most of the people crying over about this news probably didn't buy a game from them outside of Bloodborne and Knack.
 
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Sony would be the ones who approached Miyazaki to do Bloodborne in the first place. Proposing him to work on a new IP together exclusively for the PS4. Yamagiwa, who announced his departure from Japan Studio, had been directly involved with the IP from the management side. Creative was likely 100% FromSoftware's choice given Sony wanted just that, a Miyazaki game different from Souls.
Yeah but Sony can still arrange exclusives without Japan Studio
 

theclaw135

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Will Sony learn from this and loosen the noose? They could try being more open to pitches from smaller studios for games like Ape Escape that don't warrant large budgets.
 
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Change was needed. I'm betting most of the people crying over about this news probably didn't buy a game from them outside of Bloodborne and Knack.
i actally buy Gravity rush (4 times), Gravity rush (3 times), Tokyo Jungle, Rain, SOTC, The last guardian, White Kinght Chronicles, Bloodborne.
 
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You got 120 ~~ mil PS4 players mostly expecting only casual sports and AAA games these days for their $60, constant and rampant discounts for 3 months old and above games, no indies or AA games allowed whatsoever. The writing is on the wall since PS4 launch on how they nurtured the playerbase.
PS4 won't reach PS2 levels of sales (PS2 sold 150 million), but PS4 will probably end up around 125-130 million by the time it's discontinued.

And that huge user base and tons of mtx, digital sales and profits goes to show the Sony fanbase is actually super casual and not as niche or hardcore as people think with tons of unique PS1, PS2 era games.

If you look at any top sellers list of games between Xbox and PS, MS will have some first party, Sony will have some first party, and then the rest of the big sellers are all basically the exact same games..... COD, EA Sports, GTA, probably some UBI games there, Minecraft, some Bethesda games, probably Diablo is up there etc...

You could already see Sony gun for that (which worked) by scooping up COD partnerships, focusing most internal efforts on big budget SP games, bailing ship on Vita right away (I think first party devs only made games in year one) and even their E3 shows changed from indie/big budget games (like the PS3 days) to maybe 2015(?) when it morphed into only big budget games. Then only first party games. The whole "montage" thing with indie and unique games died probably 5-6 years ago.
 
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Zok310

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JS have been eating up capital and got nothing to show for it. It sucks to see them shuttered but with my business cap on I can’t blame Sony.
Sony spent the 90-mid 2000s spending money on things that got them nowhere, seriously doubt they want to go back to those days.
It’s no secret with Sony, they won’t carry you if you not performing, they rather cut/shut down and move on.
 

Keihart

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It's all about money. And their PR from eras ago about tons of games is BS when I think all of their big first party games are skewed to SP narratives and Gran Turismo. That's it. Add in annual baseball game if you want.

Some reason all the other shit they tried the past few generations: shooters (many of them), all stars fighting game, tons of Evolution racers, some JRPG all failed.

Either the typical Sony gamer doesn't like those kinds of games and only gravitate to the most popular games in the genre like COD and Street Fighter, or Sony studios just make many meh games in various genres which the fanbase bailed from.
The thing is that under Shu management, the goal was not exactly to only foster blockbusters, most of the games had sales expectations and budget accordingly to moderate success, they were very much in a collective effort to build up on a brand of diversity of games so everybody could find their niche in PS, even if your niche had very little potential customers. End of PS4 and now, basically EU/California PS management seems to be chasing only the golden eggs now instead of doubling down on the variety approach that used to work for them...i guess they feel comfortable enough in their leader position, bunch of out touch boomers probably. At least Shuhei, as old as he is, he was always someone passionate about games, he plays lots of games and likes quirky stuff, this probably has some sway in how WWS is being managed now , i think.
I called this the moment it was announced that Shu was going to be only managing indie stuff and was taken off the public, when before, he was very much the face of WWS to people, as a remainder of Shu's management, Ghost was the last game he pushed on WWS, he was talking about that game since forever, even before it was announced, and was very exited about SP's work.
 

Men_in_Boxes

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Sony's loyalty to Japan over the last 10 years was a mistake. Should have been investing in western studios who understood the world market.

Jim Ryan and Herman Hulst were necessary.
 

longdi

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Sony's loyalty to Japan over the last 10 years was a mistake. Should have been investing in western studios who understood the world market.

Jim Ryan and Herman Hulst were necessary.

imo and some will say jim herman are making the mistake and sending the wrong signals
 

Paltheos

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Hm. I can say I personally won't miss much from them being gone. I kinda wonder what the ecosystem will be without them, but looking over their entire catalogue I can't say they've really produced homerun hits. I've played (only bolded titles I finished):

Wild Arms
Alundra
Legend of Legaia
Legend of Dragoon
Okage: Shadow King
Legaia 2: Duel Saga
Demon's Souls
Gravity Rush
Soul Sacrifice
Bloodborne


=/ I don't know how directly they were involved in allot of these titles except Gravity Rush, which was apparently developed entirely internally by a team which has now gayfully employed themselves elsewhere (so good for those guys). Bloodborne's the only game on this list I think is great. Allot of these range from mediocre to good.

Wrt to Gravity Rush in particular, I think it's good but held back by... camera issues, IIRC? in the later parts of the game and the experience wasn't balanced perfectly. Great concept though, and the world and Kat are quite pretty, but I never quite felt it realized its full potential. I remember booting it up for the first time and being impressed at how much of a portable experience it felt like (in a negative connotation, like it was inherently limited but was trying to act bigger than its britches, especially with that opening cutscene and the Vita features shoved into your face). It never really shattered that initial assessment, but I was impressed positively by how lively the whole game is. It never really achieved much, but it was so happy going about its business that I couldn't help but like it.
 

Handel

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JS have been eating up capital and got nothing to show for it. It sucks to see them shuttered but with my business cap on I can’t blame Sony.
Sony spent the 90-mid 2000s spending money on things that got them nowhere, seriously doubt they want to go back to those days.
It’s no secret with Sony, they won’t carry you if you not performing, they rather cut/shut down and move on.
Sony a lot of times in those days didn't give series a real chance, if the first game wasn't a blockbuster success they didn't give them a second chance despite the improvements a successor can make given experience gained and feedback over what can be done better.

Team Ico is an anomaly in all this, being allowed to exist as an art house dev. They must have had a guardian angel exec who understood the value of prestige titles. Current Sony under Jimbo would likely have canceled The Last Guardian and the world would be worse for it. A good first party lineup should have variety, and Sony is tossing that away in favor of money hatting third party timed exclusives.
 
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Kagey K

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It was obvious as soon as the console was shown it was too big for Japanese apartments.

This move is going to push them more to mobile and switch.

It’s going to be strange to see the “home“ console tank in JP.
 
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Shubh_C63

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Why are people interpreting it like Sony giving a middle finger to Japan audience ?

The studio is being winded down because their title didn't do well in Japan and involved opportunity cost with it.

Other Dev's under Sony has garnered a Rockstar of an image while JStudio is just there.
 

turtlepowa

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Sounds like they are hoping for a new Super Mario, but that's never gonna happen even though those Minion wannabe robots are really cute.