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The Death Of Studio Liverpool, Psygnosis And My Childhood

The Death Of Studio Liverpool, Psygnosis And My Childhood

The inside of my brain, yesterday.


SCE Studio Liverpool is dead. What was once Psygnosis is now nothing. And the more I think about it, the more I realise this is a sad time for myself and many gamers.

Never mind the who what where why how – Sony has shuttered Studio Liverpool: it’s over. I’m not about to debate the business decisions of something I don’t know anything about.

But I am about to point out the personal loss I feel from this, as strange as that may seem. Studio Liverpool – and, more importantly – Psygnosis was a studio that had a massive, massive impact on my gaming life.

The Studio Liverpool era was one of fewer releases, but one of Wipeout games of ever-increasing quality. Wipeout 2048 is, quite possibly, the greatest entry to the series – and will likely remain that way, what with the cookies crumbling as they have.

This was the era where the studio was producing quality, but not quality that sold by the bucketload. Nor quality that really kept me as enthralled as when I was younger.

I mourn the loss of Studio Liverpool, no doubt. But it’s the finality – the severing of ties altogether – with the closure meaning Psygnosis is actually, genuinely, totally dead that breaks my gaming heart.

That was a studio that had a massive hand in my formative years, on the Amiga through to the PlayStation. A cursory glance at the studio’s releases on Wikipedia reads like a who’s who of Games I Love And Always Will.

Destruction Derby 2 – while I loved the original – was the game that made PlayStation for me. It was the second track (I think), Chalk Canyon, the top of the hill, the small risen part of the road on the right hand side. You hit it at speed. You do a barrel roll. I had never seen this done so well in a driving game before. Games were like real life from that moment on, and it was thanks to a Psygnosis release.

I once wrote a story I based on Brian The Lion and gave it to my older brother to submit as his creative writing coursework for English Literature. It got an A. That’s the sort of link my life has with Psygnosis. A ridiculous one.

I genuinely, actually, really did mention Wiz ‘n’ Liz in Play magazine just the other month. These things stick with me and will do forever.

My secondary school exercise books were littered with drawings and scrawlings inspired by the worlds of G-Police and Colony Wars – science fiction dystopias that grabbed my youthful mind and wouldn’t let go, turning me into the gigantic nerd I am today.

Shadow Of The Beast 2 informed me that ‘ten pints’ was a lot to drink, when my six-year-old brain had never even considered drinking one pint of ‘mucky beer’.

Leander, Lifeforce Tenka, Krazy Ivan, Rollcage, Hired Guns, Lemmings, Blast Radius, Team Buddies, Spice World… no wait. Not that one. But so many games, so many names, so many experiences that still live with me to this day and all because of Psygnosis making them or publishing them.

By the hammer of Thor, I even liked Bill’s Tomato Game.

Psygnosis has been dead a long time, but a part of it lived on through Studio Liverpool. Now that’s gone – the final link has been cut – I am left with a profound sadness.

Tonight I play Destruction Derby 2 in tribute, pour out some of my forty (“glass of water”) for homies no longer with us and do many a barrel roll.

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  • dieseltulip

    I miss the old days when developers had really awesome logos. Psygnosis was one of them, Traveller’s Tales old one was another.

  • Joey

    So happy Destruction Derby 2 was the first video link. Everything about that game was brilliant, even losing. “OHOHO! Your radiator’s blown! You’ve wrecked your car! There’s flames all over!” Just so great. I completely agree Destruction Derby 2 made the Playstation for me even though I sucked at it as a kid. The kinda eery soundtrack still plays in my head when I think about it.