Throughout the modern console generation, Sony has separated itself by highlighting the variety of exclusive content that is available on their platform. Genres ranging from sports to open-world, riveting stories to silly action platforms, they have pretty much covered all their basis. Exclusive games are one of the things that has always made PlayStation special. Dating back to the PlayStation 3, there have been several franchises that have led the way for Sony. However, if recent announcements have shown a trend, Sony could be on the verge of introducing some entirely new IP’s to the PlayStation lineup. Some of these games have already been announced. They are not only coming from studios that are trying something brand new, but also a studio that is new itself. Let’s take a look at some of the trends from Sony’s studios, both first and second party, and what it could mean for the future of PlayStation.
First Party Studios:
Sony Santa Monica:
Before we dive too far into this, yes, God of War just came out. However, it is some of the recent comments from Cory Barlog, the creative director at Sony Santa Monica that stands out. God of War is already a success in the eyes of reviewers and it would be a shock to everyone if the gaming public doesn’t view it the same way. But regardless of its success, there is always a question of what is next. This leads to an interview that Barlog had with Skill Up, where he talked a little bit about what is next for him.
“Something that’s truly coming from my original vision. That would be awesome.”
While God of War does contain much of what made the original games great, all of the ideas are re-imaged to fit new ideas and themes. Imagine what Barlog could do if he was given the freedom to bring a brand new idea to the table for PlayStation. After the success of God of War, he probably deserves the chance.
Dating back to 2002, Guerrilla Games was associated with one thing, Killzone. Sony’s first-person-shooter had good success, with no game going below 70 on Metacritic. However, in 2015, everything changed. Managing Director Herman Hulst came on stage at E3 and revealed to the world Horizon Zero Dawn, an open-world game different than anything Guerrilla had done before. Gone was the war between the ISA and Helghans. In its place, the story of Aloy and the post, post-apocalyptic world that she was born into. Beyond its story, Horizon set a new bar for open-world, RPG combat. Learning the strengths and weaknesses of each of the machines was just as important as upgrading your various weapons and traps. Horizon was met with rave reviews, reaching an 89 on Metacrtic.
Beyond its success, Horizon has allowed Guerrilla Games to go off in an entirely new direction. After its initial launch, the game received more content with The Frozen Wilds, a DLC experience that helped further flesh out Horizon’s world and story. Most importantly, the end of the main game sets the table for a sequel, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Much like Guerrilla, Sucker Punch made its name in the current generation era behind the Infamous franchise. Infamous, Infamous 2, Infamous Second Son, and Infamous First Light built a world where the main playable characters, Cole MacGrath and Delson Rowe could either be applauded as heroes or feared as villains. All of it was built around a karma meter that the player could impact with their actions and decision that were made throughout the game. Every game in the Infamous franchise was met with success, with none of the main games scoring below an 83 on Metacritic.
However, after the release of Second Son and First Light in 2014, the studio went dark. Conference after conference, rumor after rumor, the question of what Sucker Punch continued to grow. Was it another Infamous game? Or, were they going a totally different direction. The question was finally answered at Sony’s 2017 Paris Games Week showcase. The show opened with a trailer introducing the world to a new IP. As the trailer rolled, bits and pieces of information came out, the game was set in Japan, with the main character a Samurai, who appeared to be fighting to save his land. The game was revealed as a new IP, Ghost of Tsushima was introduced to the world. But throughout the entirety of the trailer, the question of who was developing this game was in question. It wasn’t until the very end, after everything was shown, that the Sucker Punch logo was shown. While much about the game is still unknown, one thing is for sure, it is a brand new direction for the Studio. They have broken away Infamous, and have been given the opportunity to try something totally new.
Second Party Exclusives:
Insomniac and PlayStation have a long history, dating back to Spyro in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. More recently, first-person shooter Resistance had three installments on the PlayStation 3. Ratchet and Clank has been a staple of the PlayStation lineup dating back to 2002, and had a reboot of the series hit PlayStation 4 in 2016. Insomniac has always been known for its crazy weapons, fast-paced combat, and over-the-top action.
After the Ratchet and Clank reboot, there was the talk of what was next for Insomniac. Could it be another game with everyone’s favorite lombax? Maybe a return to Resistance? E3 2016 answered that question, and the answer was none of the above. Insomniac gets to go in an entirely new direction, becoming the latest studio to take a crack and everyone’s favorite web-slinger, Spider-Man. Spider-Man and Insomniac seem like a perfect match. Everything that has been shown so far has only built the hype for the September 7 release date.
If there is any one developer in the game world that epitomizes breaking away from the old and bringing something new and different to the world, it is Hideo Kojima. After officially breaking away from Konami, Sony was quick to cut a deal with Kojima, making the first game of his new studio Kojima Productions a PlayStation exclusive title. Death Stranding was announced in 2016 and the hype train has been rolling ever since.
This brand new IP will only go to bolster Sony’s library of games even more. More importantly, it is another new title for PlayStation to add to their quiver of exclusive games.
Sony will always pride themselves on their exclusive games. But to see the potential shift to a new set of IP’s is very promising for the PlayStation platform going forward. It sets the table for new characters, new worlds, and new ideas to drive Sony’s exclusive games forward.