It’s acquisition season in the gaming world.
Over the past couple of years, Xbox and PlayStation have been going head-to-head, sparring over who has the biggest and best when it comes to their first-party portfolio.
While Microsoft has landed some body blows as of late, picking up names like Double Fine and Bethesda, Sony continues to bolster its stable of studios with a continuous output of high quality, well-made games.
On the immediate horizon, PlayStation’s prestige exclusive machine rolls on with the likes of Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7, and God of War Ragnarok, all slated for 2022, but what comes next? What does Naughty Dog have up its sleeve? Is an Uncharted sequel in the works somewhere? And will Bluepoint finally tackle Metal Gear?
Below I look to answer all those questions and more with a list of what every PlayStation first-party studio is/could be working on right now:
Location: Bend, Oregon
Last Game: Days Gone
Not a lot is known about what is next for Bend, but having been more than two years since its last project, it’s surely well at work on something. The Oregon-based studio did have a pitch for Days Gone 2 turned down, and was at one point set to work on a new game in the Uncharted series, but those plans seem to have changed.
In an interview back in June, PlayStation Studios head Herman Hulst said the team is now working on a new IP that will build “on the deep open-world systems that they developed with Days Gone.” So it surely will take notes from Days Gone, without being another adventure in that post-apocalyptic world.
Location: Austin, Texas
Last Game: Demon Souls (2020)
Bluepoint Games, Sony’s latest acquisition, has become known in recent years as the king of the PlayStation remake. Cutting its teeth on games like the Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection and Shadow of the Collosus (2018), the team really showed what it could do with the PS5 launch title Demon Souls.
Upon being bought by Sony, Bluepoint president Marco Thrush told IGN that the team is “working on original content right now. [The studio] can’t talk about what that is, but that’s the next step in the evolution for [Bluepoint].”
Long have the whispers of a Bluepoint remake of Metal Gear Solid or Bloodborne permeated internet message boards, but it looks as though the remake king is taking everything it has learned in rebuilding old games to create something wholly its own. It’s worth noting, though, that Bluepoint never said it was working on an “original property,” merely “original content” — that is, not a remaster or remake. Therefore, this leaves the door open for the studio’s next project to be a new entry in an existing franchise.
Location: Liverpool, England
Last Game: The Persistence (PSVR)
Another of PlayStation’s recent purchases, Firesprite has mostly focused on virtual reality (VR) since its inception. The team of former Studio Liverpool vets now boasts just over 265 employees, making it one of Sony’s larger development teams.
As for what the Firesprite crew has up its sleeves is anyone’s guess. One rumour points to a long-standing PlayStation franchise in Wipeout. The studio’s founders spent much of their time with Sony the first time working on the pulse-pounding jet-powered racing titles, so if Hermen Hulst and co. wanted to bring the classic series back, no studio would be a better fit for such a project than Firesprite.
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Last Game: Horizon Zero Dawn
Along with Naughty Dog and Insomniac, Guerrilla has become one of the crown jewels of PlayStation’s first-party portfolio. After (assumingly) moving on from the long-standing first-person shooter Killzone, the Dutch studio reinvented itself by pivoting to an RPG with Horizon Zero Dawn. The open-world post-apocalyptic adventure has quickly garnered quite the following and cemented itself as one of Sony’s biggest names going forward.
Guerilla’s next game, Horizon Forbidden West, is close on the horizon, launching February 18th, 2022. In this title, protagonist Aloy will travel west to the far future coast of California, uncovering secrets of a past civilization and doing battle with giant robotic dinosaurs. For many, Forbidden West is the next massive exclusive coming to PlayStation consoles.
While a great deal is known about Guerilla’s next project, there are tidbits about what is coming after that for the studio. Recent job postings suggest the team could be working on an MMO or something in that vein after Forbidden West. Two opportunities are for candidates who “possess extensive knowledge of stories and narrative design in open-world RPG games, online games, and MMORPGs.” and can work on in-game “social systems and player engagements.”
It’s unknown whether this multiplayer project has anything to do with the Horizon franchise or is something new entirely, but it looks yet again as though Guerilla could be about to reinvent itself.
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Last Game: Returnal
The future of Housemarque is interesting. After putting out stellar arcade hits like Resogun and Super Stardust, the team “gave up” the arcade ghost in an infamous blog post titled “ARCADE IS DEAD.” Then, after fiddling around with a few projects including a battle royale, the team seemingly returned to its roots with Returnal. The roguelike shooter is one of the best-reviewed titles of 2021 and, to some, was the AAA arcade project Housemarque was destined to make.
Now months after Returnal’s release, not a much can be gleaned on what the Finnish studio is working on next. Back in June, Sony made it official that it would be buying Housemarque, so whatever the team has up its sleeves, it will be its first project as a first-party PlayStation studio.
Housemarque CEO and co-founder Ilari Kuittinen has hinted at his team’s next game, saying that it will “go beyond” its latest release and that being purchased by Sony allows it to expand and take on even more ambitious projects.
So whatever the Dead Nation studio takes on next, gamers can be sure that it will tie the studio’s arcade roots into something even bigger than what they have worked on before.
Location: Burbank, California
Last Game: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Of all the PlayStation first-party studios, we probably know the most about what is coming down the pipeline from Insomniac. Even though the team has put out two games in the last twelve months in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, its next two projects have already been announced.
Yes, we not only know the Insomniac team is working on a follow-up to 2018’s Spider-Man, but also Wolverine. Spider-Man 2 is set to be a “darker” adventure for the webhead and looks to launch sometime in 2023, while a release window for Wolverine has yet to be shared.
Location: London, England
Last Game: Blood & Truth (PSVR)
London Studio has been in the PlayStation fold for nearly twenty years, gaining quite the reputation for working with Sony’s various peripherals over the years. Whether it was Singstar on the PS2, supporting the EyeToy, or, most recently, PS VR, London has always had a knack for bringing out the best of PlayStation’s various plug-and-play add-ons.
The team’s last project, Blood & Truth, is probably the closest indication of what it’s working on next. Back in March, studio head Tara Saunders said London Studio’s next title has “huge potential,” but gave no indication as to whether it will continue the developer’s streak of peripheral-based projects.
London Studio has made a bit of a name for themselves with quality VR games and demos, so surely with the next PlayStation VR on the way, Sony will leverage that and continue to get the UK studio behind its virtual reality tech. It could even be a ‘PS VR 2’ launch title at this point.
Location: Guilford, England
Last Game: Dreams
Media Molecule is in a precarious spot amongst its PlayStation brethren. The England-based studio spent so long developing Dreams for the PS4, and while receiving a largely positive critical response, the game-making/sharing platform more than likely did not recoup its development costs.
There still could be some hope, though. When it comes to looking at what is next for the MM team, it’s honestly probably more Dreams. The title launched towards the end of the PS4’s lifecycle, Media Molecule seems rather hesitant to go back to games they have worked on before like LittleBigPlanet or Tearaway, and the PS5 feels like it could be the perfect place for its latest endeavour to thrive.
While MM has teased it will make a new game after Dreams, I don’t think it’s done with Dreams just yet. Do not be surprised if a PlayStation 5 port of the title surfaces sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Location: Santa Monica, California
Last Game: The Last of Us Part II
Naughty Dog is one of the most prestigious studios in the PlayStation stable. The Last of Us developer is currently working on a couple of projects. Remastered versions of Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy are being bundled together in a package titled Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection for PC and PS5, coming early 2022.
The team has also teased a Last of Us multiplayer project. What was initially touted as a sequel to the ‘Factions’ portion of The Last of Us has seemingly become something much bigger and more “ambitious.” Though the project has been percolating for a while, the team is still actively hiring so it could still be a ways off.
As for its next big single-player title, there are a few routes the Dogs could go down. Bloomberg reported back in April that a small team at Naughty Dog had taken over the development of a PS5 remake of The Last of Us from Bend Studio, so that could be what some of the staff is working on.
Other than that, co-president of the studio Neil Druckmann has said that he and TLOU2 co-writer Halley Gross have hashed out what a third The Last of Us would look like, but in the same interview said they are not actively working on a threequel.
If not TLOU3, then what? Rumours suggest that Naughty Dog is working on a brand-new steampunk IP tentatively titled Stray’s Cross. However, if this is real, with all the other things the studio is working on, it will likely be a long time before fans see anything from it.
Location: Utrecht, Netherlands
Last Game: Marvel’s Avengers (PC)
After being acquired this past summer, Nixxes Software is very likely set to be Sony’s new port house. The Dutch team has become renowned over the past 25 years or so for its port work, most recently on the Windows version of Marvel’s Avengers.
With PlayStation’s push of late to take its best console exclusives to PC, it would make sense that they bring in someone to handle the heavy lifting instead of having each individual studio handle it themselves.
Sony’s purchase of Nixxes is a good indication that the console manufacturer is nowhere near done with its efforts of bringing the best of PlayStation to PC.
Location: San Mateo, California
Last Game: Concrete Genie
Pixelopus is one of the youngest at PlayStation Studios. Having only released two projects up to this point (Entwined and Concrete Genie), the San Mateo-based dev house has proven it can produce whimsical, smaller-scale titles for Sony.
Looking to the future, Pixelopus has already begun work on its next project. According to job postings from back in June, the Concrete Genie is working on a game in Unreal Engine 5 in partnership with Sony Pictures Animation.
This team that focuses so closely on innovation and creativity amongst player is seemingly going to continue that trend with its next title and make things look better than ever by working so closely with Sony’s in-house animation team.
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Last Game: Gran Turismo Sport
Polyphony is one of the easier studios to predict at PlayStation. Besides a small motorbike-sized detour on PS2 and its first game, Omega Boost, the team has only ever put out Gran Turismo games. It’s been almost four years since GT Sport, and gamers will finally be able to get behind the wheel of Gran Turismo 7 in March 2022.
Once GT7 launches, the title will surely continue to occupy the time and energy of Polyphony for years to come. Maybe down the line, an ultimate edition of its latest racer (à la GT Sport Spec II) will see the light of day but until then, it will be all Gran Turismo 7 for the Tokyo-based team.
San Diego Studio
Location: San Diego, California
Last Game: MLB The Show 21
San Diego Studio has a bit of an interesting future. The studio most known for MLB The Show will surely continue to put out the uber-popular baseball simulator year after year, but it could be working on something alongside its annual trip to the ballpark.
Apparently, a new team San Diego is hard at work on something that will expand on “existing franchises.” What does this mean? Who knows for sure!
Former studio head and senior director of Sony’s Visual Arts team, Michael Mumbauer, joined San Diego Studio back in January and made mention on his LinkedIn of a “brand new, all-star, AAA Action/Adventure” using “proprietary engine technology.” If a new Uncharted was being worked on somewhere other than at Naughty Dog, this would be the place.
Santa Monica Studio
Location: Los Angeles, California
Last Game: God of War (2018)
Santa Monica Studio’s next project, God of War: Ragnarok, is well on its way. Initially slated to come out in 2021, the GOW (2018) sequel has been pushed to some time in 2022. Ragnarok will continue the story of Kratos and Atreus and feature a new director, Eric Williams.
Now, it’s important to focus on that directing change when staring into the crystal ball: looking at Sony Santa Monica’s project after GOW2. Cory Barlog, the director behind 2018’s God of War, is still at the studio and, as evidenced by a bevy of recent job postings, is working on something. Back in 2015, the studio shuttered an original sci-fi project with Battlestar Galactica writer Michael Angeli, so perhaps this mystery game is a revival of that.
Barlog has mentioned that he wants to helm something new for the studio, and a sci-fi title that was in the works for nearly four years before being canceled would not fit that criterion. However, this new title could be built on the bones of that scrapped project but tweaked by Barlog and co.
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Last Game: Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut
Similar to Guerilla Games, Sucker Punch Productions has found itself at the beginning of what is likely going to be a staple PlayStation franchise for years to come. Having just re-released its 2020 samurai adventure Ghost of Tsushima on PS5, the Washington-based studio is almost certainly going to continue Jin Sakai’s journey.
You do not have to be an expert on the subject to predict Sucker Punch’s next title. A Ghost of Tsushima 2 is, without question, what comes next. Other than that, the team has been hiring for a “spectacular multiplayer game,” so a standalone Ghost of Tsushima Legends sequel or spin-off could also be on the table.
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Last Game: Astro’s Playroom
The minds behind Astro’s Playroom and Astro Bot Rescue Mission has been fairly quiet since late 2020. In June of this year, it did announce it was staffing up, experimenting with the DualSense, and working on a new game.
The Japanese studio seems to have found some magic in its work with Sony’s little Astro Bot character, so saying that its next project could again star the little android is not too far out there. Astro’s Playroom was one of the best PS5 launch titles, and it was merely a tech demo that came bundled in with your new console. So, is a more fully-featured Astro platformer, celebrating Sony’s history on the way from Asobi? That could be the case.
Image credit: PlayStation