View Full Version : The History of Psygnosis - Questions asked and answered.

3rd August 2007, 06:34 PM
We're often asked questions about the Psygnosis game development and publishing company, the original publisher of Wipeout, and what happened to it. This thread is here for you to ask those questions and have them answered.

There used to be a good history of Psygnosis online; if it's still there, I'll post a link to it in this post when I find it.

In the meantime, here is a link to a list of all Psygnosis' games:

And of course this is the homepage of that site:

I can tell you this from my remembrance of the old history site: Sony bought a large but still incomplete portion of the outstanding stock in Psygnosis in 1993, before WipEout ever appeared. In 1998, Sony acquired the rest of the stock so that they owned Psygnosis completely. All rights owned by Psygnosis were then owned by Sony.

Here's a link to another history from one person's point of view:

swift killer
6th August 2007, 07:45 AM
could just wikipedia it

6th August 2007, 03:31 PM
One could, but when I see such things as this in the Wiki article: ''The company worked closely with Sony, producing many of its games on their console, the PlayStation..'', one has to wonder about the quality of the article. About two years before the Playstation was available for purchase, Sony owned controlling interest in Psygnosis. Psygnosis didn't ''work closely'' with Sony, they were part of the Sony empire and did Sony's bidding. In a sense, they already wEre Sony, and Sony bought them precisely to ensure that there would be good games for the launch of the console.

The wiki is pretty decent overall, but as you'd expect, the material seems to have all been drawn from more original and more deeply informed sources which I already read before I even saw the wiki. I'd rather see material closer to the original than what I see in wikis, though wikis are often a valuable resource and I love 'em and use 'em a lot. I like multiple sources, not just a summation found in one spot. The sites I linked to contain material written by people who worked for Psygnosis. I'd like to find more of those. At their best wikis are a good starting point and a place to find links to more detail.

[For those of you who are new here, we are lucky enough to have the guys who created Wipeout [and developed the first two versions] as members of the WipeoutZone, so we've gotten the story of the game's beginnings as directly as you can get it.]

Dogg Thang
8th August 2007, 10:53 AM
So, given that Sony had a controlling interest, just what is the history of WO64? I was in Psygnosis just after its release (well before W3O) and nobody seemed to want to talk about WO64, like it was some dirty secret.

8th August 2007, 02:36 PM
I saw a mention once that it was not Psyggy that did the port, but another company. I can't vouch for the accuracy of that info.

8th August 2007, 02:40 PM
I remember reading Midway on the start-up screen. Or was that just the publisher?

8th August 2007, 02:46 PM
It was supposedly them that did the port, IIRC.
Unfortunately, I've also seen a claim that Psygnosis definitely did it themselves, which is why I ain't vouchin' fer nuthin' about it. :D

Maybe it was just that they were being quiet about it because Nintendo didn't want anyone to know yet.

Dogg Thang
8th August 2007, 03:09 PM
Well I had no contact ever with any of the Wipeout teams and was in for something totally unrelated and I brought it up after getting to have a go on the 2097 arcade game they had sitting out in a corridor at the time. The impression I got was that WO64 was made on the premises but, like I say, I could get very little out of anyone.

That was exactly around the time that one of the main guys was leaving (was it Hethrington or something? I'm terrible with names) and there was an air of paranoia and rumour among the people I spoke to, unsure of just what was going on in general. I can't imagine WO64 was directly related to any of that but it's one of the reasons people were sketchy about everything at the time.

8th August 2007, 03:17 PM
The German wiki entry on WipEout mentions Studio Liverpool as developer of WO64 and Midway who owns the publishing rights for USA and Europe (it's Konami in Japan I think).

IGN wrote this "some" years ago: Midway Snatches Wipeout 64 (http://ign64.ign.com/articles/064/064684p1.html) Still: As it stands it was Psygnosis who developed it. On another German game site (planet-nintendo.de) I read that it wasn't a mere port, but a completely new game.

8th August 2007, 04:10 PM
Hardly completely new, but there would have had to be a big rewrite of the program code.

RJ O'Connell
9th August 2007, 12:09 AM
Is SL still based in the old Wavertree Technology Park, or wherever they were back in 1995 when the first WO was released?

21st September 2007, 09:52 PM
Psygnosis is pronounced "sig-no-sis" ...Correct? :blarg I just thought maybe some people might call it

^^(i=eye) :D

22nd September 2007, 05:36 AM
Nick Burcombe, co-creator of the original Wipeout, has used the nickname 'psyggy' for it, so I'm thinking that sig no sis is the way it was done, even though the proper way would probably be sy no sis.

22nd September 2007, 08:25 AM
mhmm... Interesting indeed. :nod

6th April 2008, 08:38 AM
Colony Wars was fantastic.

7th April 2008, 12:48 AM
I believe that Rollcage 2 was also published in the by Midway... at least in the US.

10th April 2008, 04:35 AM
Correct. I have the RCII CD right next to me and Midway is on the label.

Interesting story the one of Psygnosis.
SL brought back WipEout with PurE after Psygnosis was terminated, I'm just hoping they bring back RC as well. How awesome would that be with W'O" HD's game engine!? :dizzy
That's probably too much to ask if it's a small studio though.

Rapier Racer
10th April 2008, 10:16 AM
SL is Psygnosis I believe it wasn't 'terminated' as such.

10th April 2008, 06:27 PM
Psygnosis basically ceased to exist when Sony acquired the last of its stock in 1998. Psygnosis was an organisation of administrative personnel who controlled more than one studio; once Sony owned them entirely and made all the decisions, Sony was the organisation. No more Psyggy. Studio Liverpool was one of the studios Psygnosis controlled, it was not Psygnosis itself.

Anyway, that's the way I parse the logic. :D

10th April 2008, 11:59 PM
Yeah that's the way I'm thinking too. Obviously a bit of Psygnosis is still alive in Liverpool, or we wouldn't be talking about WipEout here. :) But the name Psygnosis does not exist anymore.

20th April 2008, 09:12 PM
rollcage -the only good opponent for wipeout- was also made by psygnosys! i would like to see a third game from that series, maybe on psp..
but also one of the worst game ever, "attack of the saucerman", is by psygnosys.. Just good that it was "hidden in the closet"..:D

20th April 2008, 09:27 PM
Let's stay on topic, please; this thread is for questions about Psygnosis history as an organisation, not about the games they've made, nor as a discussion thread for those games. If you wish to discuss Rollcage, please find or start a thread for it in the ''Offtopic'' section of the forums.

20th April 2008, 09:41 PM
psygnosys-as-a-company- has it's story, and its story is made of game and releases: rollcage is one of them..
anyway, how many of the original psygnosys developers are still in SL?
Could be interesting to know if it would be possible to see sequels to historic series, but maybe all depends now on sony's market strategies..

20th April 2008, 09:55 PM
The history of Psygnosis is made of the people and when they did what they did, and what changes occurred to the organisation. Discussion of the merits of games and wishlists for what new game releases you would like to see belongs elsewhere.

Some of the members of the development teams are still there. Most are not.

Production of sequels to old Psygnosis series is a decision of Sony's SCEE administrative body and is not in the hands of the studios.

21st April 2008, 03:01 PM
ok, just sorry if I'd been arrogant..:o

22nd April 2008, 03:33 PM
hmm... sony says that psygnosis is actually SL here:
frow what I'm interpreting, it appears to be outdated and refuses to mention the existence of wipeout 3 and SE for some reason (http://www.development.scee.net/softography_liverpool.html), not very good for an official site

22nd April 2008, 09:03 PM
It is a bit odd that they would refuse to acknowledge that Psygnosis was not just one studio, but a larger organisation. Refusal [if that's what it is] to mention the games done by the Leeds studio is interesting matter for speculation if one is so inclined. Why ignore a studio that was clearly part of Psygnosis, especially when SCEE marketed those games and still uses intellectual property from them? Wait a bit.. Hm... or maybe Leeds was nOt part of Psyggy when Psyggy was independent of Sony. Ah, well, I really don't care; it's just my detective instincts kicking in.

22nd April 2008, 09:11 PM
studio leeds is the team that made fusion?

22nd April 2008, 09:17 PM
Studio Leeds had already ceased to exist when Fusion was made, and the Psygnosis name had likewise ceased to be used by Sony.

22nd April 2008, 09:19 PM
Studio Leeds were responsible for Wipeout 3 and Wipeout 3SE, which turned out to be their final project. Fusion was the first game in the series done by Studio Liverpool once all had been acquired by Sony.

... aww bugger, too quick Lance :)

22nd April 2008, 10:17 PM
all right, everything clear now..:)
thanks, guys

3rd May 2008, 11:31 PM
I've read this thread and I thought I'd chip in... :O)

OK, if memory serves (and apologies if my brain is stewed!);

Wipeout 64 was coded up by Andrew (Andy) Yelland in house based on the existing codebase. He has since moved on and done many things, including help create MUSIC 2000 with me some years back. He was in the U.S. for a while but is back in the U.K. as far as I'm aware... still weaving his crazy coding magic!

Psygnosis is pronouced SIG-NO-SYS, also lovingly called Psyggie or Pigs Noses. ;OP

The company Psygnosis Limited is still running as far as I'm aware - you could check on http://www.companieshouse.org.uk/WebCHeck/fastrack/ and I'm fairly sure that most people who work at SCEE Wavetree still work for Psygnosis Ltd. and have a Psygnosis pension (as I do - even thought I left ages ago - these things follow you for life!).

I often wonder what happened to the OWL logo that used to be at the top of the building? Rumour is that it's still in the building in, stored in the rafters.

Psygnosis started in the docks in Liverpool, and got it's really big break when Sony invested HEAVILY in them... that's when I joined full time, but before that I'd done a few years as a freelance musician, from the time when there were about 12 employees.

There is SO much that could be said about those days between '89 and '94... maybe I'll write a book one day (but I'd have to go into hiding for fear of any fatwa!)

Hehehehe. ;OP


4th May 2008, 01:52 AM
I would love to see that book!

Thanks for the info, Tim. :)

Damn, access to companieshouse is closed, I got there too late. Have to wait till Monday. ThAt'll teach me to not fall asleep in the afternoon.

If Psyggie still exists in some form, I wonder what they do. Or if they're just a name that Sony owns but chooses not to use for branding. ?

9th September 2009, 11:05 AM
Greatest apologies if the question is mundane or unnecessary, but i wish to ask: How did you come up with owl as the company logo?

10th September 2009, 02:41 PM
I am also sorry about the thread revival, but yesterday I jumped in some Original wipEout and on the load screen, Namco was there. Is this the same Namco (Bandai)? Just curious and thanks.

10th September 2009, 02:51 PM
Yeah, they're there because of the famous neGcon controller compatibility with WipeOut. :)

Whizzer The Hawk
11th September 2009, 12:46 AM
I used to love this game years ago. Due to the fact that everything was destructable and you could go up walls and technically no total your car...thingy...Rollcage. :)

11th September 2009, 03:09 AM
Did you have a question about Psygnosis?

12th September 2009, 01:07 PM
I am also sorry about the thread revival, but yesterday I jumped in some Original wipEout and on the load screen, Namco was there. Is this the same Namco (Bandai)? Just curious and thanks.

thats right Abukii, the same Namco but different
Bandi bought Namco in 2005(still feels like yesterday)


12th September 2009, 03:45 PM
Thank you. It does make sense that they'd have their name on the menu because of the NeGcon.

Dan Locke
11th January 2010, 06:31 PM
Not really Wipeout-related, but I've been wondering this for a while:

Is it true that Brataccas began development as a Sinclair QL game?

11th January 2010, 06:45 PM
From Wikipedia:

"Bandersnatch was a home computer "mega-game" written by Imagine Software intended for release on the ZX Spectrum. The game was eagerly anticipated by teaser adverts placed in the computer press (see right) throughout 1984. The game would have set a new price point for computer games (30 vs. the standard rates of the time of between 5.95 and 11.95) and would have required a dongle, presumably to carry extra ROM for data.

Imagine Software went bust owing to financial mismanagement, the spectacular demise being shown in a BBC documentary named 'Commercial Breaks'. During the documentary it was revealed that the game Psyclapse was little more than a paper sketch, making it true vaporware.

A new company called Finchspeed was formed from the remnants of Imagine which sold the rights to the Bandersnatch game to Sinclair Research Ltd. Before Finchspeed folded, a complete, working version was developed for the Sinclair QL. The directors Dave Lawson and Ian Heatherington then formed Psygnosis and Bandersnatch was given a release on the Atari ST, Amiga and Macintosh, renamed as Brataccas."

11th December 2011, 05:19 PM
If only Rollcage went further than Rollcage: Stage II and Destruction Derby could use a refresh too.

28th August 2012, 10:20 AM
Sorry if im dumb but if Sony bought Psygnosis back in 1994, how come WO1 and WO2097 were released on Sega Saturn?

28th August 2012, 04:56 PM
Interview with Nick Burcombe in this month's Edge


28th August 2012, 06:56 PM
Nice interview, who knows this board game Jim Bowers had created ?

29th August 2012, 01:08 AM
Awesome interview. I don't know if I'm having a brain freeze or not but I think this is the very first time I've read that WipEout was inspired by Super Mario Kart. Thanks so much for posting.
I'd also like to know about this board game!

P.S. I don't know how I survived playing Wipeout without Age of Love in the background for so long, should be a mandatory add in, no? Best track of WipEout the Music, I think.

29th August 2012, 12:13 PM
New interview with Neil Thompson. Looks like they're doing a series of them this week in the wake of the studio's closure


Pico de Goroh
31st August 2012, 07:04 AM
Kudos to Edge for these articles. They have a lot of respect for the Psygnosis crew.

Reading all this stuff is making me feel like I've really missed out on some gaming history. The only non-wipeout game I've played is Colony Wars, and that was just a rental. Now I feel like I need to buy an Amiga and all sorts of stuff.

31st August 2012, 07:19 AM
Oops, missed yesterday's one! Interview with Tim Wright, AKA Cold Storage