Deviation Games Closes Doors Before Releasing PlayStation Title

Deviation Games

Deviation Games Shutters Studio Before Releasing First Game

Lack of Funding Forces Early Closure

Deviation Games, an independent game studio, has closed its doors after failing to secure additional funding to continue operations. The studio was founded in 2021 to develop an unannounced PlayStation exclusive title, but ran into financial difficulties during production. Despite support from Sony Interactive Entertainment, Deviation was unable to raise sufficient capital from outside investors to complete the ambitious project.

Employees Caught Off Guard

The sudden shutdown came as a surprise to Deviation's employees. Staff were notified of the closure only hours before the studio officially ceased operations. Multiple former employees report that work was progressing steadily on the unannounced game until the day of closure. The studio's demise highlights the financial pressures and instability faced by independent developers, even those with the support of major publishers.

Uncertain Fate of First Title

With Deviation Games now defunct, the future of its in-development PlayStation title is unknown. The intellectual property rights and work completed so far on the unannounced game remain with Sony. However, without the original development team, the possibility of the game being completed and released in its envisioned form seems unlikely. The studio's premature end serves as a sobering reminder of the risks inherent in game development and the precariousness of success in the competitive industry. Overall, Deviation Games' brief existence points to the need for better support systems to help independent studios overcome the many challenges of launching a new intellectual property.

What Went Wrong? Examining Deviation's Short History and Closure

Partnership Issues With PlayStation

Deviation Games formed a partnership with PlayStation in 2021 to develop an unannounced PlayStation exclusive title. However, according to Jason Schreier's reporting for Bloomberg, there were creative differences between Deviation and PlayStation that ultimately led to the cancellation of the project. While the exact reasons remain unclear, it appears Deviation wanted more creative freedom and control over their intellectual property than PlayStation was willing to provide for an exclusive title. PlayStation likely wanted a game tailored to their brand and platform, whereas Deviation sought more independence as an independent studio. These conflicting goals seem to have caused irreparable strain on the partnership.

Lack of Funding and Investment

As an independent studio, Deviation was responsible for securing its own funding and investment to develop its games. However, the studio had difficulties raising enough capital and was unable to find additional investors. The costs of developing a AAA quality exclusive title for next-generation PlayStation platforms were likely substantial, and without the financial backing of a publisher like PlayStation, Deviation could not generate or raise enough money on its own to properly fund full development and production. The economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic and volatility in the gaming industry during this time probably also contributed to the difficulties in finding investment.

Inexperienced Leadership

While Deviation Games had over 70 developers, including veteran designers from major franchises, the studio was helmed by two relatively inexperienced founders. The company’s directors, Dave Anthony and Jason Graves, had never led an independent studio before. Managing a start-up requires a diverse set of leadership and business skills that can take time to develop. Deviation’s premature closure may have been a result of the founders being unprepared to handle the pressures and responsibilities of establishing and managing an independent studio, especially one developing a major title for a platform holder like PlayStation. The difficulties they faced highlight how experience and proven leadership are vital for any new studio to achieve success.

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What This Means for PlayStation and the Future of Their Partnerships

The closure of Deviation Games is an unfortunate setback for PlayStation’s ambitions to expand their roster of first-party developers. As a newly established studio formed through a partnership between PlayStation and veteran developers, Deviation Games represented an opportunity for PlayStation to bring fresh creative talent into their fold.

The studio’s inability to ship a game demonstrates the risks inherent in partnerships with independent developers. While such deals can yield innovative new intellectual property, they are also prone to the organizational and financial difficulties that frequently impact startups. PlayStation is likely to proceed more cautiously with future collaborations to ensure prospective partners have a viable path to releasing a title.

At the same time, the PS5 console is still in its infancy, and PlayStation maintains strong relationships with stalwart first-party studios like Naughty Dog, Insomniac, and Guerrilla Games. Though the loss of Deviation Games is disappointing, PlayStation’s lineup remains robust, with planned sequels to established franchises and original games from longtime partners on the horizon.

While the closure of Deviation Games may introduce temporary uncertainty, PlayStation is well-positioned to continue releasing high-quality first-party games for the PS5. Their key internal studios have track records of developing system-selling titles, suggesting further partnerships are not essential to the platform’s success in the immediate future. PlayStation can afford to be selective with future collaborations to minimize risks, even as they work to expand their network of creative partners over the long term.

The failed partnership with Deviation Games serves as a reminder of the difficulties inherent in managing relationships with independent developers. However, with a roster of proven studios and time to cultivate new partnerships carefully, PlayStation remains poised to deliver compelling exclusive games for the

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