• Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Sony Reportedly Cancels Twisted Metal Live-Service Game as Part of Mass Layoffs

Sony has reportedly canceled an unannounced Twisted Metal live-service game as part of today’s mass layoffs.

Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier said the game was in early development at UK studio Firesprite, which Sony had earlier confirmed is affected by the job cuts. According to Schreier, the Twisted Metal game “wasn’t yet greenlit”.

Twisted Metal is vehicle combat video game franchise that began life on the PSone but hasn’t seen a new entry since the PlayStation 3 generation. In 2023, a well-received Twisted Metal TV show starring Anthony Mackie released on Peacock.

Today, Sony announced a significant round of layoffs affecting around 900 staff, or about 8% of its global PlayStation workforce. The layoffs affect a number of PlayStation studios, including Insomniac, Naughty Dog, Guerrilla, Firesprite, and, most significantly, PlayStation’s London studio. Alongside the layoffs, a number of in-development games were canceled, Sony said.

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.

Hermen Hulst, Head of PlayStation Studios, confirmed some games had been canceled as part of a “re-evaluation of how we operate”, but failed to name them. “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,” Hulst said.

“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. 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’s London studio set to shut down, it seems likely its co-op PlayStation 5 game set in a modern fantasy London is also canceled. Last year, Sony cancelled a Last of Us multiplayer live-service game, with developer Naughty Dog set to focus on single-player games.

The Sony cuts come during one of the most difficult periods the game industry has ever faced, with mass layoffs throughout 2023 and continuing into 2024. Last month, Microsoft axed an eye-watering 1,900 staff from its video game workforce following the $69 billion acquisition of Call of Duty owner Activision Blizzard. IGN recently spoke to developers about these layoffs to try to explain what was causing them.

Earlier this month, Sony admitted sales of the PS5 during the crucial holiday quarter had failed to meet expectations. Sony had set an ambitious target of 25 million PS5s sold during the current financial year ending March 31, 2024, but revised its forecast down to 21 million after sales came in lower than expected despite aggressive promotions. Sony sold 8.2 million PS5s during the third quarter ending December 31, 2023, up from 7.1 million sold during the same quarter the previous year, but that was not enough to hit Sony’s lofty target.

Elsewhere, Sony has said it will not release any major existing PlayStation franchise games before April 2025, ruling out big sequels in the God of War and Spider-Man franchises any time soon.