Though it happened in February, DriveClub hits another roadblock as director Col Rodgers has taken the exit ramp from Evolution Studios. The departure is yet another bump in the road for a game that has had a rough development.
DriveClub director Col Rodgers was confirmed to have left Evolution Studios as the game director in February according to Videogamer. The reason cited is for personal reasons and his relationship with Sony is still in a good way. Rodgers has taken the initiative to form his own indie studio called Big Red Switch Games. DriveClub will continue development without him, but it is unclear at this time who is stepping behind the driver’s wheel.
The departure of Rodgers is not the first road hazard the game has had to overcome. DriveClub was originally slated to launch along side the PlayStation 4 in November 2013. As October rolled around, rumors started to swirl that the game might be pushed back to 2014. This was later confirmed by Shuhei Yoshida, President of SCE Worldwide Studios on the PlayStation Blog. The game was intended to be a free launch title for PlayStation Plus members and while it will still be part of the Instant Game Collection, it won’t be there until it launches.
The next obstacle in the road came about when IGN interviewed Scott Rhode, who oversees the first party studios owned by Sony. In the interview he stated that Sony and Evolution Studios did not want to release a game before it is ready and that the delay was something that Sony was willing to, “eat that [cost], and go back to the drawing board and make sure the game is great before we ship it.” When pressed for a release window of 2014 Rhode was mum on any information.
The revelation of DriveClub’s director Col Rodgers departure comes on the heels of layoffs at three of Sony’s UK studios: Evolution, Guerrilla Cambridge (Killzone: Mercenary) and SCE London (The Playroom, Singstar & Wonderbook) as part of an “internal review of all current projects.” according to USGamer. No information was given on which projects were to be affected by the staff changes so speculation has run the gambit of canceling the projects we do know about such as DriveClub to the loss of projects that never made it to the light of day which is a common occurrence in the industry. These layoffs follow another string of departing talent from US based Sony studios as we reported on previously.
Col Rodgers, in speaking to Videogamer, stated that the layoffs were unrelated to this departure from Evolution Studios in February.
Even with the layoffs and the departure of director Rodgers from the DriveClub team, Sony is adamant that the game’s development will remain unaffected. In a statement by Sony to Eurogamer, a spokesperson stated:
“We would like to make it very clear that the development of Driveclub on PS4 is going from strength to strength. The announced studio changes across WWS yesterday have not affected the development of Driveclub or the Driveclub team, which has always had great direction and continues to do so. We have full confidence that the game will deliver on its PS4 promise to be the first truly socially connected racing title and we are very pleased and excited by the calibre of work from Evolution Studios.
“The progress being made on the game is spectacular, so we’re looking forward to sharing an update on development, release date and videos of the game in action in the weeks to come. We thank you for your patience and assure you, it will be worth the wait.”