|SCE Studio Liverpool|
SCE Studio Liverpool is a video game development house head-quartered at Wavertree Technology Park in Liverpool, England. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment and currently employs roughly 100 individuals comprising two development teams. Mick Hocking currently oversees Studio Liverpool's operations as Group Studio Director, a position he also holds within two other SCE-owned developers, Evolution Studios and Bigbig Studios.
Studio Liverpool, which is the oldest and second largest development house within Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's stable of developers, is best known for the Wipeout series of futuristic racing games, with the first installment releasing on the original PlayStation back in 1995. The studio is also known for the Formula One series of licensed racing games, and their Colony Wars series released on the original PlayStation.
SCE Studio Liverpool was founded as Psygnosis in 1984, an independent developer and publisher of video games. Psygnosis was wholly acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment in 1993 in preparation for the 1994 release of the PlayStation, and the development house (that is now known as SCE Studio Liverpool) shifted exclusively towards creating software for the PlayStation. The publishing side of Psygnosis continued to operate normally however, publishing titles for both the PlayStation and competing consoles from Nintendo and Sega. Towards the later part of the 1990s, however, Psygnosis began to focus more exclusively on the PlayStation, and in 1999 the publishing branch of the company was merged into Sony Computer Entertainment Europe as a whole, and the Psygnosis brand was dropped in favor of SCE Studio Liverpool, which marked the full integration of the studio within Sony Computer Entertainment.
After extremely successful installments in the Wipeout and Colony Wars series' released for the PlayStation under the Psygnosis banner, the newly named SCE Studio Liverpool released their first title, Formula One 2001, in 2001. The game was also the studio's first release on the PlayStation 2, and their first entry in the Formula One series after taking over for developer Studio 33. From 2001 to 2007, Studio Liverpool has since released 8 installments in the series between the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3. However, Sony Computer Entertainment's exclusive license with the Formula One Group expired, without renewal, before the 2007 season, marking the end of any further Formula One series installments from the developer.
Studio Liverpool's larger and more prominent development team, responsible for the Wipeout series, was much less visible during the first years since the name change, contributing only two titles from 2001 to 2006. Wipeout Fusion, the first and only installment of the series on the PlayStation 2, released in 2002, and Wipeout Pure for the PlayStation Portable, launched alongside the handheld in 2005 to significant acclaim, with many media outlets heralding it as a return to glory for the series, which had seen only one other installment in the prior 7 years.
Currently, with a renewed focus due to the loss of the Formula One license, Studio Liverpool has three separate Wipeout installments in development. Wipeout Pulse, a sequel to Wipeout Pure for the PSP, which was released in December 2007. Wipeout HD, a downloadable title for the PlayStation 3's PlayStation Network service, consisting of various courses taken from both Wipeout Pure and Wipeout Pulse with completely redone visuals. And the as-of-yet untitled new Wipeout installment, also for the PlayStation 3, which marks the first completely new installment in the series in 6 years.