PlayStation recently made its third developer acquisition in less than three months, adding Firesprite Studios as its fourteenth first party studio. The team is known for the likes of The Persistance and The Playroom, and VR was a huge part of both those games. With Sony currently working on a next-gen PSVR headset, and leaks claiming that the company is going to prioritize AAA VR development going forward, is producing more VR games the primary purpose of acquiring Firesprite, especially with Sony saying that the developer’s games will be quite different from most other first party PlayStation games?
Not exactly, it would seem. Speaking to GamesIndustry, when asked about Firesprite’s experience with VR and whether that will see them prioritizing VR development, PlayStation Studios Hermen Hulst said that that won’t necessarily be the case.
“Not necessarily,” he said. “Clearly the expertise that Firesprite has gained on their work with The Persistence and The Playroom is something that they bring to the table. It’s too early to talk about what specific platforms or experiences that we’re going to collaborate on with Firesprite. But that experience is very valuable.”
Firesprite managing director Graeme Ankers added that the studio’s first priority will be to innovate regardless of what they’re developing, and that whether or not a game should be VR-compatible would be decided based on what’s right for the game.
“The philosophy that we have is to really innovate and create on any platform,” Ankers said. “Whether that’s VR or non-VR. VR is amazing. It really changes the paradigm of design and immerses you in those worlds. It doesn’t really matter for us what the hardware is, we’ll maximise and create and innovate for that particular hardware.
“We’ve got experience on a lot of VR projects and on a lot of non-VR projects throughout our history. It’s about being brave and creating those experiences that really showcase what any platform feature can deliver, and the best experience for the game, of course.”
Interestingly enough, leaks have claimed that a new WipEout game is in development for PS5 and will be fully playable with the next-gen PSVR headset. Firesprite is, of course, comprised of various WipEout creator Studio Liverpool developers and leads. Whether or not anything comes of that remains to be seen.