PlayStation cancels several unannounced projects amid heavy layoffs and a studio closure: "Sometimes, great ideas don't become great games"

PlayStation London PS5 game
(Image credit: PlayStation London)

Update: Reports from Bloomberg's Jason Schreier indicate that a live service Twisted Metal game previously in development at developer Firesprite was also canceled as part of this layoff wave. The reboot was first reported in 2022.

Original story:

As it lays off around 900 people across Sony's stable of studios, including cuts at Naughty Dog, Insomniac, and the entirety of now-defunct PlayStation London, PlayStation Studios is also canning multiple unannounced projects. 

PlayStation discussed the layoffs in two separate blog posts, with one sharing a company-wide email sent by outgoing CEO Jim Ryan this morning, and another from PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst outlining more of the reasoning behind the layoffs as well as the resulting effects. In the latter, Hulst says "we looked at our studios and our portfolio, evaluating projects in various stages of development, and have decided that some of those projects will not move forward.

"I want to be clear that the decision to stop work on these projects is not a reflection on the talent or passion of team members," he continues. "Our philosophy has always been to allow creative experimentation. Sometimes, great ideas don’t become great games. Sometimes, a project is started with the best intentions before shifts within the market or industry result in a change of plan." 

With PlayStation London hit hardest and totally shuttered, we can safely cross off at least one of these unannounced projects: the live service "online co-op combat game" announced for PS5 in 2022 (concept art pictured above). This mystery online game was described as an uncharacteristically normal project for a studio known for off-beat creations like EyeToy and Wonderbook. 

This cancellation marks another blow against PlayStation's once much-vaunted ambitions to release at least 10 PS5 multiplayer games in the coming years. That being said, it's unclear whether these canceled projects were targeting PS4, PS5, PSVR, or even PC and mobile as Sony pursues an "aggressive" multiplatform plan

It's not uncommon for companies, especially large publishers, to cancel unannounced projects due to budget constraints or creative concerns. In the last year alone, we've seen Blizzard can a survival game reportedly in the works for 6 years, Embracer Group desperately sweep 29 games under the rug as it lays off thousands of workers, and Ubisoft cancel at least seven projects even as it talks up its release lineup. With the industry as a whole still hunkering down amidst widespread layoffs, countless other projects have likely been, or likely will be, canceled as well, many for the worst possible reason: there's nobody left to work on them. 

Just last month, Phil Spencer announced Microsoft is laying off nearly 2,000 people from its gaming division

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.