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PlayStation Studios boss: I encourage our teams to be fiercely daring

May 9, 2019
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Sony has established itself as one of the best publishers in the video game business, but also one of the most daring. Titles like – to name just a few – The Last of Us: Part II, Returnal, and God of War are not simply brilliant, but they’re also disruptive and bold. PlayStation Studios boss Hermen Hulst’s job is to ensure that the company retains that level of creativity, and speaking with Games Informer he explained that he “encourages our teams to be fiercely daring in their choices”.

“I think that our teams have been really brave, and that that's not just with entire franchise pivots, but it's also going into Norse mythology on God of War, it's The Last of Us: Part II’s narrative structure and creating an experience that is incredibly compelling but not necessarily comfortable for the player at all times,” he said. “I back that.”

Hulst continued that his goal is for PlayStation to “push the envelope and seek the boundaries of our medium and the state of the art of storytelling”. He concluded: “I think that is why we do what we do with PlayStation.”

The article goes on to explain how Hulst’s role as managing director at Guerrilla Games, the Dutch developer which pivoted from Killzone to the critically acclaimed Horizon Zero Dawn, stands him in good stead: “I think it’s very helpful to have been a very active developer, and to understand all the intricacies of what it takes to make games,” he said. Judging by Sony’s output over the past 18 months or so, he’s doing a bang-up job so far.

 

Bryank75

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Must be a hard job managing the.... what? 5 studios that actually make big AAA exclusives at PlayStation.

They may say they have 13 but only a small number of them actually consistently put out great AAA games.

Insomniac are a powerhouse and seem to do the work of 2 or 3 studios and that acquisition has literally saved them from a load of criticism.....

With so few studios actually making games at that level and losing Japan studio, San Diego going multiplat, a load of people at VSG and Bend....... and the push for multiplayer games, it's really underwhelming. Especially when you compare to how many studios Xbox nabbed (even if their output isn't great).
 

Bryank75

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The best Sony published game over the last two generations has been Bloodborne, but it was developed by From.

I don't really consider checkbox cinematic AAA games to be particularly daring, actually they are the exact opposite, although I have enjoyed a few of them.
I'd take their games over anything else the industry is putting out.... they put everyone else to shame.

I think these reductive takes are so disrespectful to the hard work of developers. Sure, Uncharted had its formula (That is the pulp genre / style) but games like TLOU are daring, even if I didn't think much of the story in the second game. The re-imagining of GOW was ballsy and wasn't afraid to have a videogamey world instead of going full open-world.

Who else would fund a crazy idea like Death Stranding?

How long have we been waiting for a samurai Assassins Creed and Sucker Punch just made Ubisoft games look like crap in comparison, the combat, world and gameplay just towers over everything in any assassins creed.

Astrobot... incredible and doesnt fit in your cinematic AAA box.

R&C....also amazing and a perfect blend of shooter and platformer perfected over generations and appealing to all ages

Returnal was incredibly brave too, to fund a once indie studio to adapt their bullet hell gameplay into a AAA budget game.... that is fucking cool and the developers of Hades agree.

Sackboy with its musical levels was cool as hell too.

Ever think you are not being at all objective?

There are problems at PlayStation but I wouldn't agree with your assertions about their games.
 
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Jan 14, 2018
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I'd take their games over anything else the industry is putting out.... they put everyone else to shame.

I think these reductive takes are so disrespectful to the hard work of developers. Sure, Uncharted had its formula (That is the pulp genre / style) but games like TLOU are daring, even if I didn't think much of the story in the second game. The re-imagining of GOW was ballsy and wasn't afraid to have a videogamey world instead of going full open-world.

Who else would fund a crazy idea like Death Stranding?

How long have we been waiting for a samurai Assassins Creed and Sucker Punch just made Ubisoft games look like crap in comparison, the combat, world and gameplay just towers over everything in any assassins creed.

Astrobot... incredible and doesnt fit in your cinematic AAA box.

R&C....also amazing and a perfect blend of shooter and platformer perfected over generations and appealing to all ages

Returnal was incredibly brave too, to fund a once indie studio to adapt their bullet hell gameplay into a AAA budget game.... that is fucking cool and the developers of Hades agree.

Sackboy with its musical levels was cool as hell too.

Ever think you are not being at all objective?

There are problems at PlayStation but I wouldn't agree with your assertions about their games.
And Gravity Rush??

Is a wonderful and original game
 

WitchHunter

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Hilites are terrific, good job. Dog conquered the keyboard? The gist is:

Hulst recently revealed that PlayStation Studios currently has >>>25 titles<<< in development, with over >>>half being new IP<<<.


Nervous laughter...
 

Bryank75

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And Gravity Rush??

Is a wonderful and original game
Yeah, I just couldn't mention everything.

SOTC is my sons favorite game..... then he plays LBP and Dreams a lot too, creating things and playing other peoples levels.

The breadth of games is really incredible but people focus on 3-4 of the huge games and then say 'they are all the same' when i's not even true when applied to those AAA blockbusters anyway.

All different games, running on totally different usually bespoke engines. Frustrating to hear these things being said...
 

Trimesh

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And Gravity Rush??

Is a wonderful and original game

Gravity Rush is a great game - but it's also 9 years old now. I honestly don't think that the circa 2021 version of Sony would have made it. Obviously, different people have different tastes, but just looking at the size of my library for various systems it seems there was much less I found compelling on the PS4 than there had been on the PS3 (and this isn't just Sony - I could make the same observation on Xbox One v 360) - and there is certainly nothing right now on the PS5 that would induce me to either spend much time tracking it down or pay over list price for it (also true for the Series X).

I can see the technical reasons for this - developing for newer platforms seems to be much more expensive, and requires large teams and lots of time so every game becomes both a substantial investment and a substantial risk - but this seems to be the start of the same rabbit hole that the movie business has now sunk completely into - making and launching these things costs so much money that there is a huge incentive to focus test everything and play it all as safe as possible - which is hardly "daring".
 
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[Sigma]

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What does the "daring" really mean here. Because I don't get the feeling that the current studio situation is going to be daring to be honest. At least not in the way I want. I'll give you Returnal(in terms of lately) but this sounds like the typical nonsense I hear from him and Jim these days.
 
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Marty-McFly

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I'd take their games over anything else the industry is putting out.... they put everyone else to shame.

I think these reductive takes are so disrespectful to the hard work of developers. Sure, Uncharted had its formula (That is the pulp genre / style) but games like TLOU are daring, even if I didn't think much of the story in the second game. The re-imagining of GOW was ballsy and wasn't afraid to have a videogamey world instead of going full open-world.

Who else would fund a crazy idea like Death Stranding?

How long have we been waiting for a samurai Assassins Creed and Sucker Punch just made Ubisoft games look like crap in comparison, the combat, world and gameplay just towers over everything in any assassins creed.

Astrobot... incredible and doesnt fit in your cinematic AAA box.

R&C....also amazing and a perfect blend of shooter and platformer perfected over generations and appealing to all ages

Returnal was incredibly brave too, to fund a once indie studio to adapt their bullet hell gameplay into a AAA budget game.... that is fucking cool and the developers of Hades agree.

Sackboy with its musical levels was cool as hell too.

Ever think you are not being at all objective?

There are problems at PlayStation but I wouldn't agree with your assertions about their games.
I mean... that's like your opinion man.

I like games with a Japanese flair. SOTC, The Last Gaurdian, Ico, and the Souls Games were a lot riskier imo, and better as well.

The problem is Japan Studio is no longer, so what we have in their place is mostly americanized TPS that have more in common with Assassin's Creed.

Sure there a couple outliers, but this is Sony's primary focus. Don't get it twisted.
 
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MrFunSocks

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Titles like – to name just a few – The Last of Us: Part II, Returnal, and God of War are not simply brilliant, but they’re also disruptive and bold.
What exactly was "disruptive and bold" about TLOU2 and God of War?

As always, if it's coming from the company it's PR. Same as if it was Phil Spencer.
 
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M1chl

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Sort of gaming draught, yet shilling from journalist in full effect in past couple of days/weeks. Pretty much everyday we see some PR article, which really push the boundaries of PR writing.
 
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ShirAhava

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I wish playstation would dare to create an IP I and the entire country of Japan gives a crap about
 
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GHG

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Sort of gaming draught, yet shilling from journalist in full effect in past couple of days/weeks. Pretty much everyday we see some PR article, which really push the boundaries of PR writing.

Games journalism is in the gutter. None of these guys know what it is to actually be a journalist, they just write what they are told to write. Sad really.

People really need to stop posting/sharing this kind of shit.
 

Tschumi

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Looking at replies... funny to see how narratives warp and bend, shift and refocus, now apparently the big problem with sony is their struggles in their home country...

i dunno, it's hard for opposing fanboys to peel the jelly off their eyeballs enough to see this but heaps of sony's releases in the last half decade - in particular - have been streets ahead of their rivals in the 'exclusives' field.

It shouldn't be hard for opposing fanboys to accept that, they should be focusing on positive acquisitions and a potentially bright future for their pet consoles, rather than trying to undermine a pretty unimpeachable lineup
 
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Silent Viper

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Must be a hard job managing the.... what? 5 studios that actually make big AAA exclusives at PlayStation.

They may say they have 13 but only a small number of them actually consistently put out great AAA games.

Insomniac are a powerhouse and seem to do the work of 2 or 3 studios and that acquisition has literally saved them from a load of criticism.....

With so few studios actually making games at that level and losing Japan studio, San Diego going multiplat, a load of people at VSG and Bend....... and the push for multiplayer games, it's really underwhelming. Especially when you compare to how many studios Xbox nabbed (even if their output isn't great).

Nice bait at end there.


Newly acquired Xbox studios exclusive games are still in development. We havnt seen their output yet.
 
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Dream-Knife

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Returnal was incredibly brave too, to fund a once indie studio to adapt their bullet hell gameplay into a AAA budget game.... that is fucking cool and the developers of Hades agree.
So, if the developers of Hades like a game, that means that game inherits the prestige of said studios output?

Just a weird thing to put in there.
 

bender

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So, if the developers of Hades like a game, that means that game inherits the prestige of said studios output?

Just a weird thing to put in there.

If the quotes came from Greg Kasavin, he was one of the most respected gave reviewers prior to going into development.
 
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bender

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yeah i complain about Sony's silence but i don't want PR talk i want to see events and new blockbusters

I'm not sure they'll announce any new blockbusters soon. With HZD, GOW and GT7 on the horizon, they'll probably save bigger announcements for mid-2022 once one of those games releases. Maybe we'll get a TLOU2 Director's Cut with a Factions announcement.
 
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ZehDon

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I'm sure it sounds good in interviews, but it's hard to believe Hulst when the majority of Sony's studios are all making cinematic third person action adventure games with a strong focus on cut-scene driven stories. As of right now, as far as I can see, their biggest risk takers are Housemarque... and their most recent game was still a the third person shooter. To me, that's not "fiercely daring" that's just "well, it worked for Naughty Dog". And unfortunately, it seems if you don't land a "mega hit", Sony suddenly doesn't want to be bold any more - you don't get a sequel, regardless of its potential.
 

kretos

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I'm not sure they'll announce any new blockbusters soon. With HZD, GOW and GT7 on the horizon, they'll probably save bigger announcements for mid-2022 once one of those games releases. Maybe we'll get a TLOU2 Director's Cut with a Factions announcement.

hell just announce H:FW release date and show GoW:R trailer and i'll be happy, but madafakas keeping us starving and i need my Sony blockbuster fix

 
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bender

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hell just announce H:FW release date and show GoW:R trailer and i'll be happy, but madafakas keeping us starving and i need my Sony blockbuster fix


I'm just hoping against hope that GT7 is close (lol). I don't really care about Horizon, GOW or anything from Naughty Dog.
 
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MrFunSocks

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People complain about Sony's silence. Then Hermen does a single interview and people complain again.

Make up your mind.
I don't think people want canned PR speech when they complain about a companies "silence". They generally want news on games and releases.
 

sublimit

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The best Sony published game over the last two generations has been Bloodborne, but it was developed by From.

I don't really consider checkbox cinematic AAA games to be particularly daring, actually they are the exact opposite, although I have enjoyed a few of them.
You don't consider games like The Last Guardian,Gravity Rush 2,Dreams,Death Stranding,Demon's Souls Remake,Shadow of the Colossus Remake, Returnal as "daring"? Has MS or Nintendo released anything even remotely more unique or daring than those games in the last 10 years?
 
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Gameplaylover

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hell just announce H:FW release date and show GoW:R trailer and i'll be happy, but madafakas keeping us starving and i need my Sony blockbuster fix
That would already make you happy after being so mad lately? Let's take a look in the crystal ball: HZD2 will come within the next 9 months and GOW2 will look stunning since it's a >100m dollar game. I bet they are desperately trying to release HZD2 in 2021, but till they know for sure there won't be a release date.
 
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Don Carlo

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I don't think people want canned PR speech when they complain about a companies "silence". They generally want news on games and releases.
No, we are unhappy about how they make invalid statements. For example, Jim Ryan literally said, they don't want to be held back by PS4, and will truly move to next-gen. But few months after dragging people Into PS5, he said, they will continue to make great games for PS4 because of the player base.

Statement 1: "We have always said that we believe in generations. We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. And that, in our view, people should make games that can make the most of those features."

“We’ve said many times, with PlayStation 5 it’s a brand new generation, and we believe in generations. So we want to evolve every part of the experience. ”


Statement 2: ” We do feel that we have a responsibility to that very large community, and an opportunity to carry on making great PS4 games for as long as the need is there. And I think that is the right thing to do, it’s the rational thing to do, and I think you will see a tail with PS4 that you did not see with PS3."
 
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yurinka

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PlayStation Studios boss: I encourage our teams to be fiercely daring and help ND with TLOUS remake, just like we've been doing with Bend Studio.
The opposite.

According to your friend Schreier when Hermen got promoted he saw the TLOU1 remake that new San Diego/Visual Arts studio was making with ND overviewing it and offering some support. He didn't like it, he thought they were wasting too much resources on it and asked them to revert their roles to the typical ones (ND as lead, Visual Arts guys as art/animation support studio) to complete it faster, better and cheaper.

For example, Jim Ryan literally said, they don't want to be held back by PS4, and will truly move to next-gen.

But few months after dragging people Into PS5, he said, they will continue to make great games for PS4 because of the player base.

Statement 1: "We have always said that we believe in generations. We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. And that, in our view, people should make games that can make the most of those features."

“We’ve said many times, with PlayStation 5 it’s a brand new generation, and we believe in generations. So we want to evolve every part of the experience. ”


Statement 2: ” We do feel that we have a responsibility to that very large community, and an opportunity to carry on making great PS4 games for as long as the need is there. And I think that is the right thing to do, it’s the rational thing to do, and I think you will see a tail with PS4 that you did not see with PS3."
Ryan added in the 'we believe in generations interview' that they were going to continue supporting PS4 during at least 2 or 3 years after the PS5 release because there was back then almost 100 million players playing every month on PS4 and they were going to take several years to jump to PS5.

He never said they didn't want to be held back PS4 or that they were going to trully move to next gen. He said they were going to continue supporting PS4. Which is compatible with using the next gen features he mentioned like adaptative triggers, 3D audio, haptic feedback and so on in PS5, and what are they doing: they continue releasing some of their games on PS4 and in PS5 they always use the new features even if some of these games are crossgen.


I'd take their games over anything else the industry is putting out.... they put everyone else to shame.

I think these reductive takes are so disrespectful to the hard work of developers. Sure, Uncharted had its formula (That is the pulp genre / style) but games like TLOU are daring, even if I didn't think much of the story in the second game. The re-imagining of GOW was ballsy and wasn't afraid to have a videogamey world instead of going full open-world.

Who else would fund a crazy idea like Death Stranding?

How long have we been waiting for a samurai Assassins Creed and Sucker Punch just made Ubisoft games look like crap in comparison, the combat, world and gameplay just towers over everything in any assassins creed.

Astrobot... incredible and doesnt fit in your cinematic AAA box.

R&C....also amazing and a perfect blend of shooter and platformer perfected over generations and appealing to all ages

Returnal was incredibly brave too, to fund a once indie studio to adapt their bullet hell gameplay into a AAA budget game.... that is fucking cool and the developers of Hades agree.

Sackboy with its musical levels was cool as hell too.

Ever think you are not being at all objective?

There are problems at PlayStation but I wouldn't agree with your assertions about their games.
Don't forget that last year they also released Dreams, a super crazy, bizarre, great and specially ambitious project that is a creative and technical marvel and that no other big publisher would have highlighted.

Or that they made a samurai game with a studio from Washington (something pretty ballsy specially for the Japanese people)and the Japanese players and gaming media loved it.

And also look at the amount of AAA new IPs Sony publishes every generation and compare it to the other big publishers. If an AAA is risky, a new AAA IP is way more. But they keep trying and in many cases they are successful.
 
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Gameplaylover

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No, we are unhappy about how they make invalid statements. For example, Jim Ryan literally said, they don't want to be held back by PS4, and will truly move to next-gen. But few months after dragging people Into PS5, he said, they will continue to make great games for PS4 because of the player base.

Statement 1: "We have always said that we believe in generations. We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include. And that, in our view, people should make games that can make the most of those features."

“We’ve said many times, with PlayStation 5 it’s a brand new generation, and we believe in generations. So we want to evolve every part of the experience. ”


Statement 2: ” We do feel that we have a responsibility to that very large community, and an opportunity to carry on making great PS4 games for as long as the need is there. And I think that is the right thing to do, it’s the rational thing to do, and I think you will see a tail with PS4 that you did not see with PS3."
 

Don Carlo

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The opposite.

According to your friend Schreier when Hermen got promoted he saw the TLOU1 remake that new San Diego/Visual Arts studio was making with ND overviewing it and offering some support. He didn't like it, he thought they were wasting too much resources on it and asked them to revert their roles to the typical ones (ND as lead, Visual Arts guys as art/animation support studio) to complete it faster, better and cheaper.




Ryan added in the 'we believe in generations interview' that they were going to continue supporting PS4 during at least 2 or 3 years after the PS5 release because there was back then almost 100 million players playing every month on PS4 and they were going to take several years to jump to PS5.

He never said they didn't want to be held back PS4 or that they were going to trully move to next gen. He said they were going to continue supporting PS4. Which is compatible with using the next gen features he mentioned like adaptative triggers, 3D audio, haptic feedback and so on in PS5, and what are they doing: they continue releasing some of their games on PS4 and in PS5 they always use the new features even if some of these games are crossgen.
Oh come on, Ryan keeps changing his statements, and you cannot simply pick chunks to defend his intentions. Anyway, you should sign here, and thank me later :))

 
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Banjo64

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You don't consider games like The Last Guardian,Gravity Rush 2,Dreams,Death Stranding,Demon's Souls Remake,Shadow of the Colossus Remake, Returnal as "daring"? Has MS or Nintendo released anything even remotely more unique or daring than those games in the last 10 years?
I think most people wouldn’t consider Demon’s Souls or Shadow of the Colossus daring today. They were when they originally released though.

TLG and Gravity Rush, absolutely. It’s a shame Sony have restructured the studio to focus on Astro moving forward.

To be fair, Returnal and DeS weren’t developed by ‘our teams’ as Hulst is talking about here, but fair play to Sony for financing them.

On a separate note, it’s interesting that only a handful of people are calling out this self-promotional puff piece, when any negative article on Sony is met with hysteria and claims that it’s Microsoft astroturfing.
 
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