Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio will reportedly let go of the majority of its staff in a new effort to restructure the studio. The majority of the current contracts at SIE Japan Studio have not been renewed for the next financial year, a specific reason for this has not been confirmed.
ASOBI Team, the studio behind the Astro Bot series, and the External Development Department, producers of the Demon’s Souls remake, will remain intact. Several employees from SIE Japan Studio will be shifted to both studios as part of the restructure. The External Development Department was formed in April 2020, details and upcoming projects for this team has not been confirmed.
The main reasons behind this move are due to SIE Japan Studio not being profitable enough and not being able to develop games along the lines of the global hits from other PlayStation Studios teams. Other reports claim that SIE Japan Studio’s fate was sealed the moment Sony shifted PlayStation headquarters to California. Sony has yet to comment on these claims.
UPDATE: Sony Interactive Entertainment has confirmed that SIE Japan Studio will be restructured on the 1st of April 2021.
Here’s the official statement from Sony Interactive Entertainment:
In an effort to further strengthen business operations, Sony Interactive Entertainment can confirm PlayStation Studios JAPAN Studio will be reorganized into a new organization on April 1. JAPAN Studio will be re-centered to Team ASOBI, the creative team behind Astro’s Playroom, allowing the team to focus on a single vision and build on the popularity of Astro’s Playroom.
In addition, the roles of external production, software localization, and IP management of JAPAN Studio titles will be concentrated within the global functions of PlayStation Studios.