FOUR top developers from Sony’s former Liverpool studio have set up their own studio after rejecting job offers from rivals.
Sony closed its Wavertree studio last year, raising fears that its talented developers would leave the region.
The Sony studio, which started life as Psygnosis, was one of the best-known in the UK video games world thanks to hit franchises such as Wipeout and Motorstorm.
Now former principal designers Mike Humphrey and Karl Jones have teamed up with lead programmer Andrew Jones, and veteran artist Jon Eggelton, to launch Sawfly Studios.
The company’s founders have 50 years of experience between them at companies including Bizarre Creations and Warner Brothers.
Mr Humphrey, now Sawfly’s managing director, said: “As soon as news went out about the studio closure we were all approached by large developers regarding new jobs.
“To be honest, our first instinct was to take positions with those relatively secure companies. However, the more we thought about it the more we realised that we had something more to contribute to the games industry.
“We knew that the only way to make our own games, exactly the way we wanted to make them, was to start our own studio.
“At Sawfly we want to create amazing and memorable gameplay experiences under our own terms, so that's exactly what we're doing.”
The Sawfly team is working on its first game for Liverpool indie publisher Ripstone. Mr Humphrey would not give any details, but said it would be “really cheeky, irreverent and a hell of a lot of fun”.
The studio is also taking on contracts for other companies. Karl Jones, Sawfly's design director, said: “Pitching your own ideas is great and extremely satisfying, but we were keen to hit the ground running.
“Early on we secured work by signing production deals with a couple of different companies, which we are extremely happy about.”
Sawfly is currently based in the Baltic Triangle office of video game production services company Catalyst.
Catalyst’s production director, Ivan Davies, said: “It's great to see such a well-rounded new team start up here in Liverpool.
“The guys are extremely driven, talented and passionate about games. We're proud to be able to give them space to get started.”