THE PLAYSTATION STUDIOS TO WATCH IN THE NEXT GENERATION

PlayStation have had a killer generation, the bounce back from the PS3 has been the stuff of legends, every year since 2015 Sony have managed to turn out a shocking number of high quality exclusives that have not only defined their respective genres, but will go down as some of the greatest games of all time. The sheer quality has outstripped both Nintendo and Xbox meaning PlayStation are going into the PS5 generation with swagger.

It’s difficult to pin-point which games from PlayStation first party have had the biggest impact, God of War was such an outstanding reimagining of the series that has truly reinvented itself but still maintaining and surpassing the high quality from the series glory days. The Last of Us Part 2 was an ambitious and daring narrative that was polished with a sheen that puts games from other developers to shame. Sony managing to wrangle the Spider-Man IP was a massive get for the company and pairing the superhero with developer Insomniac was a small stroke of genius.

There’s a lot to look forward to in the PlayStation 5 generation, it’s shame PlayStation have started paying to keep 3rd party games as timed exclusives (Final Fantasy 16, Deathloop) as they really don’t need to – their first party can speak for itself as it has always done. So I’m having a look at some of the PlayStation Studios to watch out for in the next (current) generation. .

NAUGHTY DOG

I mean this is a no-brainer. Not many studios have had such an impressive run of high quality games, where they keep on topping themselves with every single iteration. Everything that comes out of this studio is exciting and pure gold, with The Last of Us Part 2 the studio into created a beautiful immersive game world with stellar gameplay whilst pushing the boundaries of videogame storytelling with its complex characters.

But with the Uncharted series seemingly drawn to a close or at the very least being passed on to another development studio and The Last of Us Part 3 unlikely to be made immediately after the 2nd game, where could Naughty Dog take us next?

A new IP from this studio would be welcome, it’s likely to be a 3rd person narrative driven experience as it’s the studios bread and butter – but you never know, maybe they’ll zig when when we’re expecting them to zag. I would love to see Naughty Dog try their hand at a narrative driven first person shooter maybe set in a war or something, if any studio can out-do the campaigns of Call of Duty/Battlefield and make Activision/EA quake in their boots it’s Naughty Dog. Hopefully we’ll see the fruits of their labour in a year or two, whatever it may be.

SUCKER PUNCH

Sucker Punch have a ton of talent and Ghost of Tsushima really was a display of their ability to craft a solid and beautiful looking game. However I will say that their games can often air on the side of caution, rarely trying to expand beyond the realms of a tried and tested gameplay formula. But what makes Sucker Punch an exciting proposition for the future is that everything they make is still a high quality product and despite Ghost of Tsushima being generic in it’s execution, it’s a world away from Infamous and Sly Cooper showing they are willing to take on anything.

It’s likely the next game from this studio is still a while away and with the success of Ghost, and they’ll probably be working on a sequel given the games success, which is a perfect opportunity for the studio to not play it quite as safe as they did with the first one, take some risks – it’s an exciting proposition whatever they’re doing.

INSOMNIAC GAMES

Sony’s most recent acquisition felt like it was a long time coming. Insomniac’s game output this generation has been fantastic, from the Xbox exclusive Sunset Overdrive, to the Ratchet and Clank remake and of course a little game called Spider-Man. Insomniac are masters of creating worlds where traversing the environment is the best part of the experience. And over time their flair for exciting cinematic set pieces has put them in the upper echelons of game developers.

Their next game following on from the stellar Mile Morales Spider-Man game, is the next entry in the Ratchet and Clank series, promising an exciting use of the PS5’s SSD with the ability to jump between worlds on the fly, not to mention the game looks BEAUTIFUL! Again we are seeing a development studio at the height of their powers, using Sony’s endless budgets to create something new and exciting but still very much in keeping with the Insomniac games we know and love.

I can’t see the developer making any new IP’s this gen which is a shame, Sunset Overdrive’s comedic sensibilities were a refreshing change and still doesn’t really feel like anything else on either console. But more Spider-Man is no bad thing, not to mention the studio is clearly capable of making 2 games simultaneously, so who knows what might be next.

MEDIA MOLECULE

Media Molecule is one of the more exciting studios in PlayStation’s portfolio, their games really help diversify the range of games on the console. Their most recent game Dreams set out to give users the tools to create anything they set their minds to, in an accessible and brilliantly implemented engine.

Their prior games have been smaller in scale with Little Big Planet and the brilliant Tearaway, but this is a studio with limitless creativity and a studio that really is willing to go outside the box when creating their art. I’m intrigued to see where they’ll go (beyond a PS5 version on Dreams), trying to guess their next project is damn near impossible, but the one thing we do know is when Media Molecule set their minds to creating something, it’s always a very high quality.

I would love to see them go back to a puzzle platformer, with something unique that can really stretch the studio with their creativity – maybe something less aimed at children – there aren’t enough adult orientated foul mouthed platformers (a la Conker) for my liking and they seem a good fit.

BEND STUDIO

Day’s Gone was a big hit for this first party developer, their first big AAA game and it all came together beautifully. The game fell into the trap of being just a bit too close to other zombie filled games to really separate itself from the pack, but there is no denying that the game was still very well put together and the zombie hordes were a marvel to behold.

So what’s next for this developer? A Days Gone sequel with a bigger budget to iron out the bugs which plagued the first game and some better writing would elevate the game beyond its first outing. With the plethora of open world games recently released and on the horizon (Zero Dawn), I think I’d like to see the studio go in whole new direction – I’d happily take another zombie game, however something more dense and vertical or even semi linear might be a better fit.

We may see the fruits of their labour potentially this year, though more likely next as they only released Day Gone 2 years ago. I am interested to see what they’ve got cooking – I imagine Sony will allow the studio more creative and financial freedom given the success of Days Gone and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. If it’s not a Day Gone sequel then what could it be? The studio has certainly proved itself worthwhile with limitless potential.

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