Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced another studio acquisition: Bluepoint Games, the developers of the Shadow of the Colossus remake for PS4 and, most recently, the Demon’s Souls remake for PS5.
Bluepoint and PlayStation have worked closely together for years, but the news comes after the studio’s latest successful launch, as Sony confirmed that Demon’s Souls has sold more than 1.4 million copies since its launch. IGN spoke with PlayStation Studios Head Hermen Hulst and Bluepoint President Marco Thrush to learn more about the acquisition, PlayStation’s overall studio strategy and how, although Bluepoint is steeped in the remastering experience and PlayStation remake, you want to explore original ideas.
Bluepoint wants to make original games
Demon’s Souls was only released last November, and while Bluepoint isn’t officially announcing its next game, Thrush explained that the studio aims to work on the original content going forward. There are no exact details on what the “original content” Bluepoint is working on will be, so it is unclear if this is a new game that is part of an existing IP or something entirely new.
“Our next project, we’re working on original content right now. We can’t talk about what that is, but that’s the next step in evolution for us,” Thrush said, pointing that out, even with remakes like Shadow and Souls. , the studio was already creating partially original content. He explained how, in reality, the growth of the studio, both in literal number of employees and types of projects, naturally leads to this next step, especially given the pedigree of the team.
“The transition from remasters to remakes was to test us and try harder to take the next step,” Thrush said, noting that the team had about 15 people during production of the original God of War collection, at this time. It has about 70 employees. , and it grew to 95 people at its peak during Demon’s Souls (with outsourcing work as well).
Screenshots of Demon’s Souls PS5
“Our team is a very experienced team, the average experience among most of the people is about 15 years, and they all come from the original development. It’s not like we are a group of developers who were trained to do remasters and remakes. We have that original game development mentality in our hearts, and that’s what we’re ready now, finally ready with Sony’s support to go ahead and show what we can do, and show what PlayStation can do, “he said.
And while the potential is exciting for Bluepoint to tackle its own game, don’t expect to see it too quickly. The studio has had a surprisingly quick turnaround on their games, having worked on five PlayStation remasters or collections of remasters and various ports over the past decade, while going from remasters in 2015 to Shadow in 2018, and then to Demon’s Souls in 2020.
“When we’re working on a remaster, on a remake, we’re very, very lucky and basically the original team finishes the game, they give us that game and then we have to polish it up for a few years.” Thrush said, pointing out that ” polished “is of course a lot of work and original art and design in its own right.
“You’re starting with the blueprint, right? A true original development, there is a blueprint, you run it, and then it’s not fun and you drop it and start over. So yeah, by definition my default answer is the original development, of course, it takes longer. It has to be, otherwise you wouldn’t play a good game. “
And given PlayStation’s recent commitments to be willing to delay games to allow teams to achieve their vision on a reasonable schedule, Hulst says that will hold true for whatever Bluepoint and Sony’s other studios do.
“It’s always about making quality games in a way that’s sustainable for the teams, for the people on the teams. Because obviously when we acquire a team like Bluepoint, this is a long-term play for us, right? in that”. to get quick results, “Hulst said, explaining that, in short, recent delays from games like Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarok
they are not a cause for concern.
“We are very happy indeed with the development progress, I feel good about the decision we made there. [with Horizon and God of War]. And it’s very much the people-first mindset. We are a company of people. Everything we do has to do with the developers, their health, their creativity, their well-being. “
Screens – Shadow of the Colossus
Why PlayStation acquired Bluepoint and why Bluepoint wanted to be acquired
Although PlayStation and Bluepoint have been working together for years, Bluepoint has remained independent throughout. That has now changed, of course, and Hulst and Thrush explained why the two decided to make the merger official and bring Bluepoint under the PlayStation Studios banner. And it all came down largely to wanting that working relationship to be as mutually beneficial as possible to allow the studio to produce their best work.
“Bluepoint is now in a place where you can hardly imagine an entity that knows PlayStation better than they do, because they have worked with so many different teams in their respective iconic franchises that they have had a wonderful insight into the developers,” Hulst said, explaining that he let the team finish Demon’s Souls before the acquisition discussions began.
“We’ve probably put it better together, making sure Bluepoint can focus on their games, can focus on what they do best, create amazing worlds, develop wonderful characters, and make use of all the resources we have to offer,” Hulst said.
And from Thrush’s perspective, the two parties have worked very well together, making the acquisition really happen allows them to continue to do so without any red tape.
“We’ve loved working with PlayStation all these years. There’s really no one else we want to work with, so we started talking to these guys and it turned out that it all worked out,” Thrush explained. “And now our future is extremely bright. As Hermen said, we have all these opportunities ahead of us. We have the full support of Sony. We do not have to grow to become a gigantic studio. Sony’s side now that it can fill any voids and maintain our study culture “.
As for when the deal came to fruition, Hulst explained that the talks largely came after the release of Demon’s Souls, so the team could keep their focus on offering that PS5 exclusive. The two parties took a close look at why the acquisition would be beneficial and, simply put, it allows Bluepoint, and Thrush as studio president, to focus more on creating the experiences they want and not have to worry as much about the safety of the team in their home. set.
“In my past, I’ve also run an independent study and realized that the amount of work you need to do, even when you have close partnerships, on acquiring businesses and making sure you hedge your bets, is a lot of energy that goes into that. Hulst explained. “I know if we take that off Marco’s plate and let him focus on what he wants to focus on with his team … then I think that’s good for both parties. It’s good for them because they can do what they love.” most of it, and it’s great for us because Bluepoint is even more focused on what we want. And that’s amazing content, amazing games coming out of Blueprint. “
Thrush echoed this sentiment, noting the opportunities the studio has had for previous games, such as the possibility of hiring the London Symphony to compose Demon’s Souls, or being able to rely on other PlayStation assets, such as motion capture studios. already established and more.
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And while PlayStation has been on a bit of an acquisition spree lately (Firesprite, Nixxes, and Housemarque have also been acquired as their own studios this year), Hulst explained that Sony’s recent focus stems from a desire to let these teams do their best. . work with the PlayStation resources at your disposal.
“The way we look at our studio group, and we now have 16 internal teams as part of PlayStation Studios, is very much the way we look at our games. It must be correct, it must fit who we are in qualitative terms. They have to be the right games. Same with the teams. The teams that stay have to have a very collaborative mindset, “Hulst said. “They have to be quality oriented. We are not buying equipment just to be bigger. We only buy equipment because we feel that together, we are going to do something that is going to be even better than if we were to separate from each other.”
PlayStation won’t necessarily stop looking for potential acquisitions, Hulst explained, but they should be studios that share the same values and can expand what is offered to PlayStation gamers.
“We are always open to building new relationships or bringing in people internally, but only if we adhere to the quality first mindset and the right kind of innovative content, new experiences, diverse experiences. Because all these teams, they share a lot, but they are also very different from each other, and that’s what I really like, “Hulst said. And I think that’s what the PlayStation audience, the PlayStation fans, deserve, is that diverse list of games coming out of PlayStation Studios. “
Jonathon Dornbush is IGN Senior Feature Editor, PlayStation Leader, and Host of Podcast Beyond! He is the proud dog father of a BOY named Loki. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.