What Every First-Party PlayStation Studio Is Currently Working On (June 2021)
Sony's PlayStation Studios, formerly known as SIE Worldwide Studios, has become the crown jewel of the business this past generation. The PS4's success is largely down to excellent console exclusives developed by studios owned by Sony. Games like Gran Turismo, Uncharted, and God of War have been present since the early days of PlayStation, but its newcomers like Horizon Zero Dawn, Ghost of Tsushima, and Marvel's Spider-Man that have helped make the PS4 the second-highest selling home console of all time, only behind the PS2.
A stellar lineup of exclusive games is what defined the last generation for PlayStation, so now that the PS5 has been out for almost 6 months, its time to look at what each of Sony's team of 12 studios is currently working on and how they will likely take shape in the years ahead.
Do note that this list will be in alphabetical order and does not include Sony XDEV, a dedicated team that collaborates with external studios to create 2nd party exclusives for the PlayStation ecosystem such as Detroit: Become Human and Returnal. In the past, the studio has only worked with other European developers from its base in Liverpool, but as reported by PushSquare earlier this month, the operation seems to now be on a global scale, as seen from it being renamed from Sony XDEV Europe to simple Sony XDEV.
This comes after Sony announced the downsizing of its historic Japan Studio and stated that, "In addition, the roles of external production, software localization, and IP management of JAPAN Studio titles will be concentrated within the global functions of PlayStation Studios." This means it's likely that these functions were moved over to Sony XDEV, which would now operate globally.
1. Bend Studio
Bend Studio was founded in 1993 as 'Eidetic Studio' and is based in Oregon, at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Their first game was Bubsy 3D in 1996. They then went on to create the Syphon Filter franchise of stealth-action games, from the year 2000 all the way to 2007. After this, Bend Studio was mostly left to create games for portable PlayStation devices, such as Resistance: Retribution for the PSP in 2009, along with Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Uncharted: Fight for Fortune on the PlayStation Vita in 2011 and 2021 respectively.
The next game from Bend Studio wouldn't come until 2019, with the post-apocalyptic open-world biker adventure known as Days Gone. The game launched with a mostly negative critical reception but has gone on to garner love and praise from fans. Bend Studio and Days Gone recently came under the limelight after game journalist Jason Schreier's explosive Bloomberg report about Sony's obsession with blockbusters stated that Sony has shot down a proposal for a Days Gone sequel. A lot can be said about whether Days Gone deserved a sequel or not, but the fact of the matter is that a sequel for this game is not being made, at least not currently.
Bend Studio was reportedly then split into 2 teams: one being assigned to work with Naughty Dog on a multiplayer game, rumoured to be the Factions multiplayer for The Last of Us II, while another team were to develop a new Uncharted game under supervision from Naughty Dog. This made senior leadership at Bend fearful of the studio being absorbed into Naughty Dog which led to the team asking to be taken off the project.
Job listings from Sony Bend Studio suggest that they are currently at work at a new IP for PlayStation 5. Assuming the team at Bend Studio were removed from the Uncharted project sometime in 2020, that means that the new game has been in development for less than a year. This hints that the game is still some ways off, possibly targeting a 2024 or 2025 release at the latest, but that Bend Studio is back at work and making a game on their own terms.
2. Guerrilla Games
Well well well, if it ain't Sony's golden child. Naughty Dog was founded in 1984 and then acquired by Sony in 2001, and it is fair to say that they are one of if not the most critically appreciated and awarded studio in the history of videogames. Throughout their long and illustrious history, the studio has created Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, the Uncharted series, and The Last of Us along with its sequel.
Sony's Santa Monica Studio is primarily a God of War machine, the franchise which the studio created with 2005's God of War and spans across 5 titles. The studio was founded in 1999 and released their first game called Kinetica on the PS2 in 2001. Ever since then, the studio has only internally developed God of War games, while also heavily collaborating and helped external studios to create second and third party games for PlayStation. Some of these games include 2012's Journey and 2015's The Order: 1886.
Pixelopus is Sony's smallest and most interesting first-party studio. It was founded in 2014 and is based in the Sony Interactive Intertainment headquarters in Santa Mateo, California. Pixelopus isn't a traditional studio made up of hundreds of employees with experience in the industry.