The first idea that comes to mind when hearing the name “Sony”, the short name of Sony Interactive Entertainment, is definitely the PlayStation game console, especially the latest PS5 that has been already sold out not long after its official launch on November 12th, 2020.
About Sony Interactive Entertainment
Although Sony Interactive Entertainment is a huge multinational conglomerate that operates in many fields related to electronics, a major part of it is dedicated to game development and the entertainment industry. Having the PlayStation games spreading from Japan to all over the globe ever since the first console was created in 1994, the PlayStation Studios acquisitions entered the gaming rivalry race from the very beginning.
Today, we will be taking a closer look at 7 game development studios that are part of Sony Interactive Entertainment, in addition to the games that set the spotlight on the PlayStation’s revolution.
7- Insomniac Games
Formerly known as Xtreme Software, Insomniac Games is an American game development company that was founded in 1994 by Ted Price. Although it’s famous for the commercial failure of its “Disruptor” PlayStation game released in 1996, it was also quick to flip the
equation with the successful “Spyro the Dragon” open-world game released in 1998, which sold over 2 million copies. Two more sequels followed to bring more details and gameplay features to the “Spyro” game until the studio came up with a new mascot for the famous
“Ratchet and Clank” franchise in 2002. The list of Insomniac Games’ acclaimed releases kept on expanding to new titles, such as “Resistance”, “Sunset Overdrive”, “Marvel’s Spiderman” and “Fuse”.
Despite the fact that the studio built most of its games around the PlayStation console and its equivalent technology, Insomniac Games wasn’t acquired by Sony until 2019.
The success of the “Marvel’s Spiderman” game on PS4 was a burst, and the reviews were super positive on the latest “Marvel’s Spiderman: Miles Morals”, available on PS5 along with its recent launch in November 2020. The long-awaited “Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart” on the other hand won’t be available until the second semester of 2021, exclusively on PS5.
6- Media Molecule
It’s a British video game development studio based in the UK and was founded by Mark Healey and his 3 co-founders in 2006. Widely known for the famous “LittleBigPlanet” puzzle platform game series released in 2008 exclusively for PS3, which was financially and commercially backed by a secure funding deal with Sony in its very early stages. Phil Harrison, who was the head of Sony Interactive Entertainment at the time before joining
Google, found the game highly creative and promising, which pushed him to close the funding deal in exchange for the Intellectual Property of the game. Many sequels and spin-offs followed, along with other titles that explore the platform/adventure and the puzzle genre such as “Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves” and “Tearaway”.
Sony took the deals to the next step by officially acquiring Media Molecule in 2010, and entrusted the studio with many VR projects that explored many PS products. The latest project of the award winning-studio was a completely out-of-the-box game titled “Dreams”
that allows you to create your own adventure games, under the slogan of “play our dream and shape your own”. It was released in February 2020 and scored 8.7/10 according to the reviews of over a thousand players on Metacritic. The VR version of the game is available on the built-in VR feature of the PS5 since its launch in November 2020.
5- Japan Studio
As the name suggests, Japan Studio is the first game development division of Sony Interactive Entertainment and by far the oldest among the list of studios. Based in Tokyo, Japan, the studio has been in the game long enough to build a huge arsenal of productions that set the
Count to dozens of games. The veteran gamers can easily name a few classics of the 90s such as “Victory Zone”, “Wild Arms” and “Ape Escape”.
Japan Studio gradually upgraded its game to accumulate hit after hit in the PlayStation entertainment field, along with many collaborations with various world-class developers like Bluepoint Games, Alfa System, and Matrix Software.
Along with other big names of the new millennium, such as “Demon’s Soul”, “The Last Guardian” and “Knack”, the studio itself has major divisions. To name two of them, there’s Project Siren known for the “Siren” and “Gravity” franchises, and also the ASOBI Team known for the exclusive PlayStation VR projects “The Playroom” and “Astro Bot Rescue Mission”.
Other than the latest news of “Silent Hill” director leaving the studio in September 2020 and putting a question mark on the anticipated horror game, the only piece of confirmed information we have for the recently launched PS5 is the “Astro’s Playroom” and “Demon’s Soul Remastered” games.
4- Bend Studio
It’s one of the oldest game development studios that have been up and running for over 25 years. Initially founded in 1993. It is based in Oregon, USA, the studio went through different rebranding phases changing its label to Eidetic and to Bend Studio later on, following its acquisition by Sony.
Bend Studio entered the game development market officially with the release of its first game “Bubsy 3D” in 1996, dedicated exclusively to the PlayStation game console. The theme of the game falls under the platform genre that has been viral at the time and still is, but it was
received poorly and scored only 5.7/10 according to the Metacritic.com reviews.
However, despite this relatively weak start, Sony entrusted the studio with the development of the “Syphon Filter” franchise having faith in the talent of the developers and their familiarity with the PlayStation console. “Syphon Filter” was released in 1999 and sold a million copies
before the end of the year, achieving unexpected success in the competitive gaming arena.
Bend Studio was officially acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2000, and many new releases of “Syphon Filter” followed, in addition to various spin-offs of the “Resistance” game and the “Uncharted” franchise.
The latest game released by the studio was the “Days Gone” game in 2019. Despite the fact that most players found the game underrated and harshly criticized, it scored 7.9/10 according to Metacritic, which is honestly less than expected for a world-class game.
The PS5 release on the other hand seems to be more successful according to the players who tried it in the past few weeks, praising the fact that it runs at 60 FPS with Dynamic 4k and has epic gameplay.
3- Sucker punch production
The company was founded in 1997. it started at the roots of Microsoft, where the co-founders worked in a variety of productivity and software development applications. The company was acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment in August 2011. The company’s second series Infamous featured superhuman characters in open-world games and was widely successful because of its interesting gameplay and dynamics.
The company also became even more famous and popular when it released the game Ghost of Tsushima this year in 2020. This game was extremely successful because it has engaging gameplay, stunning environments.
2- Guerilla Games
Initially labeled Lost Boys, Guerrilla Games was born with the fusion of 3 Dutch studios in January 2000: Orange Games, Digital Infinity, and Formula Game. Based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Guerrilla Games is currently focusing mainly on postapocalyptic and open-world action role-playing games. Going from the “Kill Zone” game that was launched for PS2 in 2004, many sequels followed to heighten the dynamics of the franchise right after the studio was officially acquired by Sony in 2005.
Guerrilla Games are also known for the AAA “Horizon” franchise. Its first release was in 2017 under the name of “Zero Dawn”. The game was a great success and has scored 8.4/10 according to the reviews of 10k satisfied players on Metacritic.
The upcoming project of Guerrilla Games is a sequel of the “Horizon” franchise: it’s an action and fantasy open-world RPG named “Horizon 2: Forbidden West” dedicated to PS4 and the recently launched brand new PS5. From the sneak-peek that has been made public in the trailer of June 2020, we can see that the graphics, battles, and storyline are dazzling.
Guerrilla Games developed the sequel with Decima: the game engine that the studio created and launched in 2013, making the entertainment experience highly promising for “Horizon 2” although it won’t be available until the 2nd semester of 2021.
1- Naughty Dog
This is the second oldest acquisition of Sony Interactive Entertainment after Bend Studio, and probably one of its best deals in the video game production field. Naughty Dog was founded in 1984 under the brand label of Jam Software.
Based in California, USA, the studio is the home of many successful games like “Crash Bandicoot” in 1996, “Jak and Daxter” in 2001, “Uncharted” in 2007, and the world-class horror and survival game “The Last of Us”. Naughty Dog has been around for long enough to gain valuable experience in the game development market, and Sony puts a lot of work on its plate.
As a direct parent of the ICE Team, which stands for Initiative for a Common Engine, it works on core graphics technologies for many other games that are released in the frame of Sony Interactive Entertainment.
Being a leading active asset of the central technology group, the functions of Naughty Dog goes beyond the classic game development process and includes sub-functions related to the Play Station hardware itself, like working on game engine components and graphic processing pipelines.
The official acquisition was in 2001, and the latest project of the studio was the recently released “The Last of Us 2” on PS4, which was in June 2020. As for future projects, Naughty Dog tweeted about widely recruiting for the next game but no other information is available.
The main focus of the studio is currently working on the tech side of the PS5, which has been very successful in the last couple of weeks and quickly went out of stock. while Sony is stealing the lights of the gaming world from its rivals are delivering awesome products nevertheless.
Other studios Worth mentioning are Santa Monica Studio, Sucker Punch Productions, London Studio, Polyphony Digital, and many other flagship first-party studios, Sony has definitely a lot under its belt.