Over the past few months, rumors suggesting that PlayStation is downsizing Sony's JapanStudio have circulated. A report from Bloomberg back in November 2020 claimed that many employees of the studio received a notification that their rolling contracts had not been renewed. As for why: PlayStation's US office — the acting headquarters of the organization — didn't believe in Sony Japan's motto, which dictated the developer focus on making games for the Japanese market, and only hope for global-appeal.
PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan combated these rumors, claiming in an interview with Edge Magazine that Sony Japan was important to the company, just as much as any other studio. Ryan made this claim again in an interview only a few days ago, where when talking to Famitsu, he stated PlayStation would continue strengthening ties to Sony Japan. However, PlayStation's actions as a company seem to continually contradict what the PlayStation Boss is saying, hence the new rumors.
VGC reports that it has multiple sources telling it that PlayStation is downsizing JapanStudio. According to them, the ASOBI Team — the developers behind Astro's Bot — will continue as a standalone studio. Some of Sony Japan's residents will move to it, while others will leave to join Keiichiro Toyama's new studio, Bokeh. It's unclear what will happen to the External Development Department, which assisted in the 2020 Demon's Souls remake, but it'll likely be untouched.
Supporting these rumors are a lot of notable Sony Japan departures. Bloodborne producer Terujuki Toriyama left Sony Japan back in December, right after the mentioned Keiichiro Toyama, notable creator of Silent Hill, Siren, and Gravity Rush. In the present day, multiple JapanStudio developers have also announced their leave over social media, including Bloodborne Producer Masaaki Yamagiwa and Video Manager Ryo Sogabe. Executive Producer Masami Yamamoto also hinted at his departure.
According to the sources, the downsizing happened because of Sony Japan's mentioned motto. In the end, the developer didn't generate enough of a profit to compete with other first-party developers, who did focus on global appeal. Ironically, Jim Ryan hinted at the downsizing back in 2019 during an interview with GamesIndustry, where the PlayStation Boss said that indie developers would handle region-specific titles. Overall, considering Sony Japan is the first-ever PlayStation Studio, it's unfortunate it's found itself in this situation. If it is happening, hopefully, PlayStation will be honest about it soon, instead of making players wait around to hear more indirectly.
The PlayStation Store's Big in Japan Sale is back, offering plenty of discounts on some of the best anime games, JRPGs, and more. Luckily for players on the PS4, the Big in Japan Sale offers discounts of up to 75% off and will be available until February 24, 2021, giving players plenty of time to select a deal or two.
Headlining the PlayStation Store's Big in Japan Sale is Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, which is available now for $23.99 or 60% off its original price of $59.99. Additionally, the game's Ultimate Edition is also available for 50% off or $47.49 from $94.99. To the uninitiated, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot's Ultimate Edition includes the base game, access to the Season Pass, a music compilation pack, and the Tao Pai Pai Pillar.
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