Sony-backed Deviation Games has shut down

LA-based studio Deviation Games has closed down, the studios Human Resources and Operations Officer Kriste Stull has confirmed in a LinkedIn post. The studio had been working on a game in partnership with Sony.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of Deviation Games,” Stull writes. “I want to express my deepest gratitude to our entire team. Thank you for all your hard work, dedication, and contributions to Deviation; I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have worked with each and every one of you.”

The studio will be holding a networking event to try and help employees find new work, encouraging other companies and studios that are hiring to participate. it’s a difficult time out there right now, but we hope that as many of the team can find new work through this avenue.

Deviation Games was founded in 2020 by Call of Duty veterans Dave Anthony and Jason Blundell – best known for his longtime leadership of the Zombies game mode at Treyarch. In 2021 it then announced that it was developing a “groundbreaking AAA original IP” with Sony Interactive Entertainment. However, a year later Blundell had left the studio, and he shifted across to working within SIE, per a new hire at Sony late last year.

Deviation never revealed what game they were actually making. There was no name or codename announcement, and in the partnership blog post they strayed away from even confirming whether it was multiplayer, co-op, story-based or anything. However, it’s highly likely, given the timing, that this project was part of Sony’s push to develop a dozen live service titles.

With that partnership in mind, it certainly feels like Deviation’s closure is part of the fallout of Sony’s recent layoffs, with 900 jobs lost, studio closures, and project cancellations. Deviation won’t be included in those figures – in 2021 they had around 100 employees, but were expanding – but if Sony pulled the plug on their collaboration, the studio would have suddenly had no funding and closure would have been inevitable unless someone else swooped in to pick up the project, which isn’t likely right now.

It really is an awful time in the games industry right now…

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