[Update 5:05 PM PT]: IGN has confirmed with Sony that the Japan Studio is being restructured around Team Asobi. Coupled with the departures, this seems to confirm VGC’s reporting.
According to a new report from VGC, PlayStation Worldwide Studios is letting go of most of the developers from their venerated Japan Studio. Founded in 1993, the studio has provided PlayStation consoles with a lot of what is considered its stranger flavor, like Jumping Flash, Parappa the Rapper, Wild Arms, Loco Roco, and more recently, games like Gravity Rush and co-development of Bloodborne.
Reportedly, the base of power for PlayStation has moved to the west, leaving Japan Studio and its games ill-suited for the current market and Sony’s vision for it. VGC’s sources indicate that the studio’s lack of hits in a library that produces mega-sellers like The Last of Us and God of War sealed Japan Studio’s fate. Over the last year, numerous high-profile departures were announced by Japan Studio veterans, including some this week.
The developers of Astro’s Playroom, Team Asobi, seemingly do not have anything to fear, however. Asobi is being spun off out of Japan Studio and some of the latter’s remaining developers will join them later in the year. Many of the rest are leaving entirely or joining Team Bokeh, a new studio founded by Silent Hill and Gravity Rush director Keiichi Toyama. Considering the recent announcement of the PlayStation VR 2, it seems likely that Team Asobi will once again be called on to provide software for the new hardware.