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Wipeout

Wipeout successor photo
Wipeout successor

Indie developer is aiming to create a successor to Wipeout


Formula Fusion is the prototype
Sep 25
// Chris Carter
As some of you may know, the Wipeout franchise didn't really fare well over at Sony in recent years. But that's ok with developer R8Games, which is comprised of former Wipeout developers -- they want to bring the series...
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Ex-Sony Liverpool devs form new studio


Sawfly Studios formed by ex-Psygnosis devs
Jan 24
// Alasdair Duncan
It was a sad day for many when Sony closed its Sony Liverpool studio in 2012; more than 100 jobs went at one of the UK's oldest developers, chiefly known as the studio behind the Wipeout franchise. Thankfully, some of the for...

Remembering studios that closed in 2012

Dec 22 // Sterling Aiayla Lyons
Hudson Soft Founded on May 18, 1973, Hudson Soft has been a force in this industry for so long that it seemed as if it would always be around. By 2003, the company had over 500 employees, with studios in both Tokyo and California. Throughout its history, Hudson designed a vast amount games and characters, including the iconic Bomberman, as well as less-iconic-but-still-identifiable Bonk. This story was one that was drawn out, as last year saw the closure of the offices in California. The final nail would come this year, when even the Tokyo offices would also be shut down. It’s something that is definitely heartbreaking for many a fan of the company's works, as well as people who loved the classic bee logo -- doubly for people in both categories like me. With the closure came the announcement that Konami would be absorbing what was left of Hudson, and retiring the name. So while the cute bee might be put out on the rocker on the front porch, hopefully the properties that bee ran won’t be neglected in the future. THQ & THQ San Diego Yesterday we reported that THQ had filed for bankruptcy. The company may not intend to reduce its workforce size during this period, but it's not a very optimistic situation. In March, the company reported a net loss of $239.9 million for the end of the fiscal year, which was over $100 million greater than the previous year's loss. Shortly after, THQ publicly made a deal with Electronic Arts to sell off its license to the UFC franchise. This directly lead to the closure of the THQ studio located in San Diego, the team behind the UFC games. This is one of those times that just goes to show you how fragile some things are in the industry. One deal sealed the fate of a whole studio, and all the workers there. While this might not be the end for THQ yet, the company's long-term survival is by no means guaranteed. I don't usually root for a publisher, but my heart is out for this one, if only for Saints Row 4. Black Hole Entertainment Black Hole Entertainment might be known for a few different games. It developed a couple of Warhammer games: Mark of Chaos and Black March. The company's most notable recent achievement would be Heroes of Might and Magic 6, which can be claimed as the reason for its downfall. Shortly after filing for bankruptcy, an insider from the company came out with claims that Ubisoft, the publisher they worked with, was at fault. The claims laid down include a lack of accountability from Ubisoft for missed deadlines, consistently sudden changes and feature removal demands by Ubisoft, and Ubisoft restructuring the key development team numerous times. Supposedly, the penalties from the missed deadlines, as well as the losses from money spent on features taken out of the game after completed made it so that an unreasonable 200 million copies needed to be sold before Black Hole would see any profit. Whether these claims are true is unknown, but the fact that the company went bankrupt still remains. Radical Entertainment Radical Entertainment is mainly known for the recent series Prototype, but it has been around since 1991, getting passed between multiple publishing companies through its history. There were layoffs, and many claimed that these layoffs lead to the crash of the Vancouver game design market. It was the oldest studio located in Vancouver, after all. This story happens to have a silver lining, as it appears that the company is still partially intact, functioning as a support studio for Activision Blizzard. Rockstar Vancouver/Barking Dog Rockstar's Vancouver studio is known for Bully and the recently released Max Payne 3. Shortly after the release of Max Payne 3, it was announced that Rockstar would be dissolving the studio to refocus its efforts in Canada on its Toronto-based studio. This story does not bring the saddest news of closure though, unless you're someone complaining about the decline of the Vancouver market. All 35 of the Vancouver employees were offered positions within the Toronto studio. With the additional claim of more positions being created afterwards, hopefully this leads to big new projects coming from those folks. Sony Liverpool/Psygnosis Sony Liverpool, perhaps better known as Psygnosis, is the studio behind the WipEout series. At the start of the year, Sony Worldwide Studios came out with an announcement that they would be restructuring the Liverpool studio. Many of the projects they were working on were halted as a result. It wouldn't be until August when the announcement finally came about the studio's closing. The studio employed roughly 100 people across two development teams. The studio was reportedly working on two projects at the time, each for the next-generation Sony console. While the facility at Liverpool remains functional, it is only to house other Sony Computer Entertainment Europe departments. The status of the two projects, one being a new WipEout, is unknown. BigBig Studios BigBig Studios, I feel, is mainly known for Pursuit Force, one of the better launch games for the PlayStation Portable. The studio was formed from a core team of four former Codemasters employees. Sony acquired the studio in 2007, and assigned them to work exclusively on games for the portable system. That might have been the major component in the downfall of the studio, due to the generally dismal life of the portable device itself. The last game they made would be the recent Vita game, Little Deviants which released to less-than-stellar reviews. The studio would be shut down at the beginning of the year as part of restructuring of Sony's European studios. Zipper Interactive Zipper interactive started out making computer games before it became tied to the franchise that would rule the company for the most of its life span, SOCOM. In 2006, the studio was acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment and would go on to make games exclusively for the PlayStation brand.  Not to let SCE Europe have all the fun restructuring studios, SCE Worldwide Studios announced in March that Zipper Interactive would be shut down. The reason given was that it was part of a normal cycle of resource re-alignment within Sony. The studio had roughly 80 employees at the time of closure. Its recent games, SOCOM 4, MAG, and Unit 13 are still going to be supported, according to Sony. Paragon Studios NCSoft is one of the few companies that almost exclusively deals in MMOs. Of course, most of that is acquiring studios that make those kind of games and just putting the monetary system on top of that. There are two things that usually happen. Either the game becomes too bloated to sustain from a financial standpoint, or the people calling the shots shift their focus to something "new." Such is the case with City of Heroes, which was finally shut down this year, much to the outrage and disappointment of its players. The really sad part comes with the liquidation of Paragon Studios, the developers behind the game. As of now, I don’t exactly know what happened to the folks who worked there, whether they were reassigned, or just let go entirely. At the very least, I hope that they are all still out there making games. 38 Studios and Big Huge Games 38 Studios started in 2006, originally named "Green Monster Games." Founded by Baseball star Curt Schilling with a dream to make his own MMO, he seemed to start out the right way, hiring talent that had great experience in the game world. In addition to writer R.A. Salvatore and artist Todd McFarlane, former general manager of games at Comcast Jennifer Maclean, former lead engineer at EA Jon Laff, and a former lead designer of EverQuest Travis McGeathy were in the employ of the studio. To further bolster the prestigious talent base of the company, 38 games acquired studio Big Huge Games, of Rise of Nations fame. The single-player RPG that BHG was working on at the time would be turned into a tie-in to Schilling's MMO. It all looked like it was going the right way, and in 2010, the studio received a $75 million dollar guaranteed loan from the state of Rhode Island to relocate their business to the state, in the hopes of creating new jobs. In February of this year, that RPG would see release in the form of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which received favorable reviews. A missed loan payment just a few months later, and very shortly after, the entire 379 person workforce was laid off, with 38 Studios entering bankruptcy. Schilling and his studio has come under investigation since then for criminal charges, though at the time of writing, no federal charges have been filed against him. A state-level investigation is still underway. As for the folks under Big Huge Games, they're still happily together as Epic Baltimore.
Studio Closures in 2012 photo
Taking a sec to pay respects
This year was great in general for videogames. Beyond the predictable success of games like Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, there were a ton of hits that came out of nowhere, including not just big publisher titles, bu...

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Online play will continue as fate of WipEout is decided


Sep 18
// Chris Carter
You've probably heard by now that Studio Liverpool, the lovely developers of the WipEout series, closed up shop last month. Liverpool calls it the "end of an era," and millions of fans across the globe are inclined to agree -...
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WipEout developer SCE Studio Liverpool closed


Aug 22
// Jordan Devore
In a statement released today by Sony, it was announced that SCE Studio Liverpool has been shut down. Founded as Psygnosis, the developer was best known for its work on the WipEout series. "It has been decided that Liverpool ...
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Sony sweetens the PS Vita cross-play deal with new promo


Feb 17
// Jim Sterling
[Update: I originally wrote this all wrong and suggested games like UMvC3 would be free because I have shit for brains. I've fixed it all up now. Sorry about the original post being basically totally wrong and stupid. At...

Review: Wipeout 2048

Feb 13 // Dale North
Wipeout 2048 (PlayStation Vita)Developer: SCEE Studio LiverpoolPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentReleased: February 15, 2012MSRP: $39.99 Studio Liverpool brings its super-fast hovercraft racer to the PlayStation Vita, and they didn't leave out a bit of speed in the move from console to portable. This game is as fast and flashy as its predecessors, and it really impresses on the Vita's high-res screen. The shiny crafts and the futuristic backdrops seem to pop right off the screen, and outside the occasional dip in frame rate from heavy action, it moves so smoothly that you'll wonder how the Vita isn't overheating. For emphasis: Wipeout 2048 is a beautiful game. Also to be emphasized: Wipeout 2048 is a bitch. The game is set in a time slightly before the other series installments in a sort of prequel, so you'd notice some not-so-futuristic backdrop set pieces if you weren't smashing into walls or other racers at a bazillion miles an hour. This is a brutal and unforgiving racer, even with all the optional assists switched on. You'll have to get used to wall collisions early, as they are the norm for this game -- easily the floatiest one yet. Just like in the other Wipeout titles, you'll pilot an anti-gravity craft through some of the most bendy, twisty courses ever devised. While the Vita's tiny buttons and analog stick hold up well, you'll still be hard-pressed to stay on the track and keep up the speed needed to properly finish the race in a ranking position. When you do pull off a win, it feels amazing, and somehow also almost like a fluke.  The problem with 2048's racing formula is that it feels like you got lucky when you finally do win. Sure, skill is needed to master the careful braking and cornering needed on these crazy tracks, but the standard battles -- which require both racing and combat -- feel like a free-for-all. In the Wipeout games, victory can only be captured by those that are able to pass over each track's boost points without running into walls or other players. This is already difficult in time attack races, but it becomes maddening when other racers are ramming into you, pushing you away from the boost points. Adding to the sense that luck is needed are the weapon pick-up points, seemingly loaded with power-ups at random. While the best items won't guarantee a victory, matches feel impossible to win when dud pick-ups come up in the random mix. That all said, the racing action is exciting enough that you probably won't get too hung up on these faults. There's always the possibility of earning more experience points to gain better craft, and you'll earn that through standard play. The game's main mode is a campaign that takes you through multiple seasons of varied race challenges where you're free to pick from branching paths where even losses will net you some experience points. Get through enough of these races and you'll nab a newer vehicle; many of these seem like the key to a barrier, finally pushing you through a race you couldn't master before. There's also an online option for this campaign mode, bringing leaderboards and additional race objectives into the mix.  Multiplayer matches can also take place through this game's Crossplay feature, which allows up to eight players to race via an Ad Hoc connection simultaneously alongside PS3 players on Wipeout HD.  The new control types that use the Vita's touch and tilt inputs are forgettable. You can switch on a tilt-to-steer control scheme, but it feels so off and floaty that it's barely worth trying. In this mode, you'll use the rear pad to boost, and the front panel to take in items, but it's so much easier to use the standard button control that this input scheme feels like a pointless addition.  Load times in Wipeout 2048 are inexplicably bad. They're not to the point of being full-on painful, but definitely rank firmly at annoying, with half-minute waits coming up between every race. Even race restarts come in at a mind-boggling 15-20 seconds. These are load times that feel like they're just under that of a PSP title streaming off a UMD, and feel unnecessary coming off cartridge-based media. There's plenty of thrilling racing action to be had in Wipeout 2048, with all the flashy looks and blinding speed you'd expect from a console title. Series fans will find a lot to love here, with plenty of new challenges, though those new to the series may find themselves frustrated with touchy controls and unforgiving levels. If you really need to go super-fast at Vita's launch, this one could fit the bill.  Otherwise, there are more accessible launch racers out there. 
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The Wipeout games have always served as a solid system showcase with their flashy graphics and impressive sense of speed, so Studio Liverpool's latest, Wipeout 2048, makes for a nice launch title for the PlayStation Vita...

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CES: Cross-platform Vita to PS3 Wipeout action tested


Jan 12
// Dale North
The Wipeout franchise will bring about the first cross-platform functionality between Vita and PS3. Sony tells us that many more titles are in the works, but for now it all kicks off in Vita's launch window with Wipeout 2048....
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(Probably fake) miniature Wipeout track is too cool


Jan 03
// Jordan Devore
The first time you see quantum levitation, it's hard not to be blown away. As Arthur C. Clarke said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." The Internet, as it turns out, is quick to remind u...

Preview: Wipeout 2048

Oct 22 // Abel Girmay
Wipeout 2048 (PlayStation Vita)Developer: SCE Studio LiverpoolPublisher: SCEERelease: February 22, 2012 As the name suggests, this Wipeout takes place in the year 2048, the near-future compared to the super futuristic star-dates of most Wipeout games. As far as the series timeline goes, this game takes place at the dawn of anti-gravity racing, before the first Wipeout on the original PlayStation. This change in setting affects the games look and feel quite a bit. Aesthetically, 2048 retains a good amount of the series' hyper-futuristic look, but incorporates more city streets, parks, and other contemporary scenes. During gameplay, the new (or is it old?) setting allows for some crazy track scenarios, such as the driving up a skyscraper, then back down on the track Empire Climb. Track design in general has been altered for this release. Being the hardcore racer that it is, Wipeout has always pitted players against the track almost as much as other players. In an effort to make 2048 more accessible, the team at Liverpool has made tracks wider, a subtle but noticeable change as you will spend less time fighting to stay on course. Fans need not worry though, as a relative noob to the series, you should happy to hear that I still fell of the track plenty of times. Just not as much as in, say, Wipeout HD. Another change to track design are the multiple track paths. Not to be confused with shortcuts, 2048 features branching tracks that incorporate a risk/reward system. So while taking one route may be the the shortest distance to the finish line, it will have more sharp turns and a greater chance for error. Or on a different track, you may run with a route that has more speed boosts while the other route offers more weapon pickups.  When actually racing on these tracks, Wipeout 2048 makes use of the PS Vita gyroscope with tilt and touch controls. Of course, there is still the classic thumbstick and face button controls, but Wipeout aims to make use of Vita's motion capabilities, in order to ease in more casual gamers accustomed to playing their iPod or iPhone. The controls break down like this: You hold one finger on the back touch pad to accelerate while steering your vehicle by shifting the Vita left and right. Weapons are managed by taping the right half of the screen for offensive weapons (plasma, missiles, cannons, etc.) and tapping the left half to manage your shields. You use the L an R buttons to control your left and right airbrakes respectively. So while 2048 does use touch, the face buttons are active as well. While great for a game like Modnation, the motion controls in 2048 didn't work all that well in this demo. For a game that requires so much precision, using motion to steer your craft is far too unruly. Overshooting a turn is common and even simple maneuvers, like hitting a speed pad on a straight path, are made harder to pull off. In its current shape, I can't see motion being the favored control option. Managing weapons with the touch screen worked very well though, and when used with the analog controls, felt like the most natural way to play. The final feature shown off for the game was the online play. The first thing you'll notice with the online play is that you are prompted to take a picture with the Vita camera at the start of each race. Whoever places first at the end of the race gets to have their mug plastered on the screen of every other user. It will be interesting it see how "creative" people get with their pics. Online for 2048 will feature eight player races on any of the games ten tracks. Online play will also feature an online campaign mode, essentially a system of secondary objectives, outside of simply winning, to reward both seasoned high level players and newcomers. For a higher ranked racer these objectives include wrecking a certain number of racers and finishing in first place, whereas lower ranked competitors need only avoid getting wrecked and finish in the top five. The online modes of Wipeout 2048 are rounded out with cross platform play between this game and Wipeout HD Fury on PS3. Basically, 2048 users will be able to compete against Fury users online using tracks and vehicles from Wipeout HD Fury. If you have played Wipeout before, you know what to expect here. The racing is tight, fast, and punishing to players not up to the challenge. As it is, it looks to be another solid entry into the series, but as a Vita title, it doesn't do anything mind blowing with the new hardware.
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Oh happy days! The PlayStation Vita has an official launch date, and with that, a release date for its lineup of launch titles. We recently had the chance to play around with some of these including Wipeout 2048, the latest i...







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