Multi-million projects at larger studios like Naughty Dog, SIE Santa Monica, and Guerrilla Games seem to the priority at PlayStation.
Sony has seen massive success in the industry over the last decade with its first party output. The likes of The Last of Us, Uncharted, God of War, and Horizon Zero Dawn in particular have enjoyed widespread critical and commercial success, and it’s become abundantly clear that Sony’s first party developers now have a template that they follow for their releases. In a new report by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, more light has been shed on that, and apparently, it’s a lot more than just a template- it seems to be a focused drive coming from the higher ups at PlayStation.
According to Schreier’s report, Sony has shifted its development focus to prioritize blockbuster AAA releases from studios such as Guerrilla Games, Naughty Dog, and SIE Santa Monica Studio. Those games can cost tens of millions of dollars, but their success proves to be well worth the investment. That, however, has come at a cost, with the report explaining that Sony is no longer greenlighting smaller, more experimental projects at all, with their full focus being on the more large-scale blockbuster releases.
Sure enough, the recent closure of SIE Japan Studio is an example of that. Last year’s Dreams, Schreier points out, was a game with immense potential (as its widespread positive reception would tell you as well), but fell by the wayside thanks to a clear lack of marketing and focus by Sony (though it’s worth mentioning that Sony does seem to be investing more heavily in Media Molecule right now). What’s more, it seems even a Days Gone sequel was cancelled as a result of Sony wanting to focus on the sureshot successes.
Sony’s “fixation” on AAA projects has allegedly also caused unrest at many first party studios, including at SIE Bend Studio, who were initially assigned to work on a new Uncharted project under Naughty Dog’s supervision. Many at the studio who were unhappy with the arrangement ended up leaving, and the studio was eventually taken off the project, and now seems to be working on a new game.
In the same report, Schreier also talked about a remake of The Last of Us, which is in development at Naughty Dog, with Sony’s Visual Arts Service Group (VASG) in San Diego having started out as lead developers before being relegated to a support studio. Read more on that through here.