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Deviation & Hermen Hulst discuss PlayStation Studios partnership in new interview

Heisenberg007

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"PlayStation has a culture where it's fearless to create."

Some interesting quotes from the interview:

On Choosing a Partner
Anthony: "When Jason and I set out on this journey, there was only one thing we were thinking about, and it's quality. If we set up a studio with a fundamental, foundational principle that's all about quality, that changes who you look at for partners. You have to look for a partner with a track record that is absolutely undeniable in terms of a consistent string of quality hits. I don't have to tell you about Sony's track record. It's obvious. The number of awards they win. It's hit after hit after hit.

"The funny thing was, it was actually a pretty short list. And Sony made it easy for us."

On Working with Sony and PlayStation Studios
Anthony: "Now we're part of the process of working with them and we can see how they operate. What they do is promote a culture and an environment where it's fearless to create. And the way they do that is with mutual transparency with the teams."

"It's absolutely mind-blowing. For us, we have never been in a situation like this before, where we've got everything we could possibly ask for."

Deviation Head on Sony's Secret Sauce
Dave Anthony: "Sony's background, its facilities, the things that it opens up to us has been amazing. I don't want to give away the secret sauce, but Sony has the ability to speak to game developers in a way that we're used to talking. That's really where the magic happens. Not only do we have all these facilities, and this history of game development at Sony, but also they can speak in the way that we speak. And they know how to deal with imagination and how to embrace risk and how to manage it."
Hermen Hulst: "What I offer is all the central services that have facilitated our studios... Guerrilla Games, Naughty Dog, Santa Monica, all of that is available to them. We have incredible producers that are invited by Dave and Jason to give the harshest possible feedback. And then they ask us to give them more. It's been completely open and transparent."

On the potential acquisition of Deviation
Hermen Hulst: "We aren't thinking about that. We are working together with them as independents. And that's the structure we have set up."
Anthony: "We are focused on one thing right now: making the highest quality game possible. We are a fully independent studio, and we are independently backed and financed."

On Future Partnerships
Hermen Hulst: "I am always on the look out for the best talent. We are growing as PlayStation Studios quite rapidly. But teams like this need to come together. We're actively in conversations. We have a very wide network of veterans and young people. I talk to Shuhei Yoshida a lot about the talent coming up in the indie world. And it's really across all sorts of genres and all sizes and geographical locations that we look."

"But yeah, I would say you see a pattern. And I would be the last to deny that there's some intention behind that."

Source: Gameindustry.biz

 

Heisenberg007

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Personal Opinion: I like how Sony is empowering these new studios and helping them fulfill their goals of creating new games. This also helps PlayStation gamers more than mere acquisitions of established studios.

For example, if Sony had acquired an established multiplatform developer or publisher, e.g., SquareEnix or Platinum Games or Crytek, PlayStation gamers wouldn't necessarily have benefited from that. They'd be getting a game they would have gotten anyway. With partnerships like these with new studios that don't have funding, PlayStation gamers will get entirely new games that wouldn't have been made otherwise.

Good luck to Deviation Games. Hoping for a fantastic new IP and game from these veteran devs.
 

Heisenberg007

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It’s really interesting because on the one hand we hear Sony are very hands off with development process. But on the other hand, unless the game reaches a certain metacritic level, the franchise is killed.
I think Sony has found the right balance b/w freedom and management.

Hermen also said in this interview: "I am for finding the best way for creatives to do the best work of their careers. What Jason and Dave want to do requires a commitment to let them try things and fail at things."

Jason Blundell: "There will be some form of restrictions. And if there wasn't, actually, that would be a bad thing as well."
 

mejin

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Personal Opinion: I like how Sony is empowering these new studios and helping them fulfill their goals of creating new games. This also helps PlayStation gamers more than mere acquisitions of established studios.

For example, if Sony had acquired an established multiplatform developer or publisher, e.g., SquareEnix or Platinum Games or Crytek, PlayStation gamers wouldn't necessarily have benefited from that. They'd be getting a game they would have gotten anyway. With partnerships like these with new studios that don't have funding, PlayStation gamers will get entirely new games that wouldn't have been made otherwise.

Good luck to Deviation Games. Hoping for a fantastic new IP and game from these veteran devs.

I think it needs a balance partnerships and acquisitions. It's great they make partnerships that are more than just money. Seems to me Deviation is getting the same treatment as Kojima Productions.

It is great, but we live in a world of sharks if Sony doesn't acquire some devs that are working with them, they could be snatched up by others.
 

kyoji

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Not surprising in the least, PlayStation division is very grass roots and theirs a reason they are well respected by there peers, ever thought about why they are able to get some of the deals done that they do? Money aint always everything. and there studios and tech are bar or none, Capcom choosing santa monica studios to help them film motion cap stuff for Resident evil village is just one example of how far out a reach they have in the industry.
 

Thirty7ven

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I don't get it, how can they say they are self financed and independently backed and then have Sony... paying for development of the game?!?!


so the way sony communicates with their development teams is the secret sauce

There's two ways to go about it with game devs, either treat them the same you would movie makers or you treat them the same you would productivity software developers. A lot of publishers out there choose the later, while Sony chooses the former.
 
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Heisenberg007

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I think it needs a balance partnerships and acquisitions. It's great they make partnerships that are more than just money. Seems to me Deviation is getting the same treatment as Kojima Productions.

It is great, but we live in a world of sharks if Sony doesn't acquire some devs that are working with them, they could be snatched up by others.
I agree. If there is a studio at risk, from Sony's perspective, it would be better to secure that studio for themselves.

But the point I was making that if they were only doing acquisitions from the existing pool of studios, we wouldn't be getting all these new games in addition to games from those studios that we will likely get anyway.

A healthy mix would be ideal.
 

Papacheeks

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Not surprising in the least, PlayStation division is very grass roots and theirs a reason they are well respected by there peers, ever thought about why they are able to get some of the deals done that they do? Money aint always everything. and there studios and tech are bar or none, Capcom choosing santa monica studios to help them film motion cap stuff for Resident evil village is just one example of how far out a reach they have in the industry.

Oh really? I didn't know that. Makes sense when you see how good the animation looked for a lot of characters in scenes.
 
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Heisenberg007

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so the way sony communicates with their development teams is the secret sauce
Not just that, but the tools and resources they offer. Their workflow, SOPs, producers, and QA teams as well.

It's the synergy b/w PlayStation Studios (something that Hermen is focusing on very much), and the access to top-notch studios like Naughty Dog, Guerrilla, Insomniac, and Santa Monica

In Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart's credits, Sucker Punch, Santa Monica, and Naughty Dog are all credited. They all helped. That's priceless if these tier-A studios are helping Deviation on their first game. This is something that can't be replicated.
 

Topher

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It’s really interesting because on the one hand we hear Sony are very hands off with development process. But on the other hand, unless the game reaches a certain metacritic level, the franchise is killed.

But those are not contradicting statements. Sony could very well be hands off in development and only ever get involved if/when a game doesn't meet whatever standard that was established for it. If Sony were intrusive in development then a game like Days Gone probably would have been cancelled before it was released.
 

Thirty7ven

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They are independent, and Sony backed them financially to make the game they want to make ... That's how I read it.

Sony has always demanded to own the IP, which in the past has made some studios (including Insomniac) go with other options. I wonder if that remains the rule.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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It’s really interesting because on the one hand we hear Sony are very hands off with development process. But on the other hand, unless the game reaches a certain metacritic level, the franchise is killed.
From what I've gathered through the years is that Sony will throw resources and money at a dev to the point where they can actually drown themselves in it, and give a dev as much creative control as possible.... But if they don't deliver then the partnership isn't going to last very long.
 

Thirty7ven

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It will be a Sony IP. Same goes for the other 2 partnerships. Same was the case with Returnal and Demon's Souls.

That's a really solid way of doing this type of business. Sony owning the IP makes it easier for them to place bets on new talent, as if it is a success then both get paid and if it's a failure Sony still gets something out of it. If it's a real big success then it incentivizes them to buy the studio that made the game, so that they can make more.
 

Heisenberg007

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That's a really solid way of doing this type of business. Sony owning the IP makes it easier for them to place bets on new talent, as if it is a success then both get paid and if it's a failure Sony still gets something out of it. If it's a real big success then it incentivizes them to buy the studio that made the game, so that they can make more.
I agree. Otherwise, the worst-case scenario is that the IP you helped build and funded gets to someone else if the studio gets acquired by another company. For example, Sunset Overdrive is now owned by Sony, not Microsoft.
 

Thirty7ven

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I agree. Otherwise, the worst-case scenario is that the IP you helped build and funded gets to someone else if the studio gets acquired by another company. For example, Sunset Overdrive is now owned by Sony, not Microsoft.

Always seemed like a shit way to do business, take all the risk and get some of the rewards. Maybe Microsoft needed to do it with EPIC and Gears, but that one was just crazy to me. In the end they had to buy the IP for an undisclosed fee.... probably wasn't cheap.
 
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mejin

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I agree. If there is a studio at risk, from Sony's perspective, it would be better to secure that studio for themselves.

But the point I was making that if they were only doing acquisitions from the existing pool of studios, we wouldn't be getting all these new games in addition to games from those studios that we will likely get anyway.

A healthy mix would be ideal.

We could always remember those studios could be a potential first party if the partnership is really successful. So, yep, a mix is necessary.

When we talk about quality, Sony is indeed the best manufacturer a dev could get. But if Sony nurture a studio just to let others buy is pretty much stupid move. Devs like Bluepoint and Housemarque are already nurtured enough, hope Sony doesn't eat shit this time.
 
Mar 27, 2020
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It’s really interesting because on the one hand we hear Sony are very hands off with development process. But on the other hand, unless the game reaches a certain metacritic level, the franchise is killed.

Well at least they gave the game a chance instead of just canceling it. There's was always the option to not even have a Days Gone. Sometimes you have to take risks and they might not always work out and sometimes they do (Horizon Zero Dawn for example).
 
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Panajev2001a

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It’s really interesting because on the one hand we hear Sony are very hands off with development process. But on the other hand, unless the game reaches a certain metacritic level, the franchise is killed.
They are not that harsh, it is not a single one shot and studio closure thing you are over dramatic here… freedom coming with responsibility is not a novel concept though.
 

jakinov

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Personal Opinion: I like how Sony is empowering these new studios and helping them fulfill their goals of creating new games. This also helps PlayStation gamers more than mere acquisitions of established studios.

For example, if Sony had acquired an established multiplatform developer or publisher, e.g., SquareEnix or Platinum Games or Crytek, PlayStation gamers wouldn't necessarily have benefited from that. They'd be getting a game they would have gotten anyway. With partnerships like these with new studios that don't have funding, PlayStation gamers will get entirely new games that wouldn't have been made otherwise.

Good luck to Deviation Games. Hoping for a fantastic new IP and game from these veteran devs.
Sony has a history of making these deals then acquiring them later if they are successful with their partnership or dumps them (which is also what everyone else does).

We don't necessarily know if the games wouldn't be made otherwise but it could have been the case for a subset of them. Sony could have bided higher or could have just been the first one they shopped to.

Randomly acquiring studios doesn't make a whole lot of sense for Sony and it's overly expensive. Microsoft is in a losing position and they want mediocre studios that they can grow to be multi project studios instead of taking high risk and building a bunch of new studios.

There's other benefit other than forcing exclusivity of games when acquiring studios to gamers. it's mostly indirect. Generally speaking, the acquisitions leads to more efficiency as there's less shopping around, consolidation in certain areas, volume pricing, more collaboration with peer studios, easier/cheaper sharing of resources/knowledge, etc...leading to smoother development and possibly a better result. Consolidation in the industry is good in general because it can mean more money in the industry goes towards actual game development than administrative and publishing costs. The consolidated ownership can also help certain games with mediocre sales but high budgets to survive. If you contracted a studio and funded the game for X dollars. You have to split the profits. If you are doing it in house, you keep all the profits. Which gives more wiggle room for games to not as do as well as expected. This also can also lead to a more direct benefit where the owner might be willing to fund and grow out a studio because they get the full reward for XYZ dollars they put in.

In terms of what Microsoft is doing, as a platform owner the benefit we get is that we have Xbox putting pressure on PlayStation. Xbox becoming strong is what will help ensure Sony is still consumer friendly and still trying to innovate. It was the 360 success that helped PS4 become so great and it was the PS4 the helped the series X/S be what it is now. You'll miss Bethesda games, as a PlayStation gamer but big picture it's better for the industry and gamers that Microsoft is in a stronger position.
 

THEAP99

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Interesting read. I do like how they are seemingly partnering with this smaller less- established studios to build them up into the AAA space. Hopefully it all works out though because these are definitely risks they're taking.
 

Papacheeks

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Interesting read. I do like how they are seemingly partnering with this smaller less- established studios to build them up into the AAA space. Hopefully it all works out though because these are definitely risks they're taking.

Less risky than putting your entire platform behind a service in terms of investment. There's higher risk and less reward when it comes to a service like gamepass. The risk is the investment, the reward is it's a market grower just like all video streaming services are. The bigger risk is keeping up with demand and operating costs. Microsoft has tons of cash to burn so thats not as large of an issue as long as their growth continues and doesn't stagnate.
 

zaanan

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Always seemed like a shit way to do business, take all the risk and get some of the rewards. Maybe Microsoft needed to do it with EPIC and Gears, but that one was just crazy to me. In the end they had to buy the IP for an undisclosed fee.... probably wasn't cheap.
Poking a stick in Sony’s eye... Priceless.
 

Varteras

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I agree. Otherwise, the worst-case scenario is that the IP you helped build and funded gets to someone else if the studio gets acquired by another company. For example, Sunset Overdrive is now owned by Sony, not Microsoft.
If I recall correctly, it was losing control of certain franchises that caused Sony to take that route. I believe Crash Bandicoot was a sore spot for them.
 

dcmk7

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This is getting a lot of hype, the "innovation at its core" sticks out.

Have a feeling it's going to be something big.

Curious to hear more of what they're cooking, hopefully that day comes sooner rather than later!
 
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Bo_Hazem

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Hermen Hulst: "What I offer is all the central services that have facilitated our studios... Guerrilla Games, Naughty Dog, Santa Monica, all of that is available to them. We have incredible producers that are invited by Dave and Jason to give the harshest possible feedback. And then they ask us to give them more. It's been completely open and transparent."

This makes me so happy.
 

Heisenberg007

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Hermen Hulst: "What I offer is all the central services that have facilitated our studios... Guerrilla Games, Naughty Dog, Santa Monica, all of that is available to them. We have incredible producers that are invited by Dave and Jason to give the harshest possible feedback. And then they ask us to give them more. It's been completely open and transparent."

This makes me so happy.
That high-quality polish and unrivaled production value doesn't come from nothing! PlayStation Studios have very high standards, and that's what PS fans expect from them. Nothing less.

Glad to see it continues to the case under this new leadership.
 

lh032

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Hopefully, there will be ...."permanent" partnership announced in the future ; )
 
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