In 2002, Team Soho (The Getaway developers) merged with the London-based Psygnosis, formerly part of Team Liverpool. Together, the teams made PlayStation’s London Studio. As this new development hub in the capital, London Studio has made or contributed to over 60 games.
With early efforts in the This is Football series from 2002 to 2005 across three entries and smaller games like Hardware: Online Arena, the first big hitter was 2003's EyeToy Play. The game was a pack-in with the PS2 peripheral — a camera with gesture recognition and a mic — and was received really quite well. The EyeToy series spawned eight sequels developed by London Studio from 2004 to 2006 across various themes, from sports to spying.
This would later launch a spiritual successor EyePet
on PS3 and PSP that used the PS3 camera and Move controllers. The 2011 sequel — EyePet & Friends
— highlighted the success of the first game, but its relative lack of success also motioned towards the modern audience's lack of patience for sequels to children's 'experience' games.
More impressively, the team made SingStar
in 2004. The series was a huge hit, allowing you to sing into a microphone plugged into your PS2 and play a gamified version of karaoke. This was another sequel spinner, with 25 games now a part of the series that is still ongoing. Indeed, there were even two DanceStar
spin-offs in 2001 and 2012, though it seems that they couldn't quite reach the same success. The Everybody Dance
series found a little more success from 2011 to 2013.
The wonderful PlayStation Home
was released well ahead of the curve with digital social spaces. It never quite nailed an aesthetic or identity of its own, but it was fun and a great way to play demos of upcoming games in a social setting. Big events were held there too, making us long for a modern update!
A wild mix of other games regularly came out of London Studio. The Getaway had a PS2 sequel called Black Monday in 2004 which was received very poorly. In 2006 came Gangs of London and World Tour Soccer 2 on PSP. Rhythm-action game Beats also hit PSP in 2007, along with aquarium screensaver test-game Aqua Vita on PS3.
Wonderbook was released in 2012 for PS3 with full Move functionality, complete with its own book peripheral. The augmented reality product showed plenty of potential: all the things popping out of the book on the TV screen was rife for storytelling. This was released jointly with Book of Spells
and later Book of Potions
, the perfect Harry Potter tie-ins. With only four games ever released for the device, it was clear that despite the strong potential, great price point, and perfect accompanying games, something hadn't quite clicked with audiences, making Wonderbook one of the most underrated PlayStation peripherals to exist.
VR development became the life of London Studio from 2014 onwards. PlayStation VR Worlds
in 2016 was a game packed with VR experience to help audiences bed themselves into a new way of playing games. Blood & Truth
was, without a doubt, London Studio at its finest: pushing boundaries with a solid, entry-level game. What a fantastical vibe this studio has, with an identity strung out across such a broad spread of games and series!