In a long article dedicated to PlayStation games, Bloomberg Sony describes Sony as being very ‘conversational’. At the time when Microsoft is betting on the Xbox Game Pass to diversify its catalog, the Japanese would only have in mind its large exclusive licenses, those which bring it in the most and attract new players to the PlayStation ecosystem. Bloomberg says that some “small studios” have tried to impose their paw on Sony, but have rarely been treated to their fair value by the Japanese. Fortunately, the company would be aware of these excesses and would have started to make an effort.
The Last of Us and Uncharted at the heart of the tensions
Have you ever heard of the VASG (Visual Arts Service Group), the studio dedicated to finalizing PlayStation games? Based in San Diego, his mission is to help big studios (like Insomniac, Naughty Dog or Santa Monica) to finalize their projects, in order to eliminate the last bugs and make their games even more beautiful.
In his article, Bloomberg tells us that a few years ago, the VASG asked to take its independence. A team of 30 developers was formed and, to satisfy Sony, offered to develop “remakes” (which is generally very profitable). The studio wanted to recreate the first Uncharted (Naughty Dog) with new graphics, but Sony preferred to go for the first The Last of Us, a game released in 2013 considered one of the greatest masterpieces in video game history, also offered by Naughty Dog. The problem is that, gradually, the VASG lost its project. Commissioned by Sony to assist in finalizing the sequel to The Last of Us, which was released in 2020, the studio gradually passed under the orders of Naughty Dog before being completely absorbed. The whole is all the more distressing that one can wonder if a game released eight years ago, already remastered on PS4, really needed a remake
Another example cited by Bloomberg, the Bend studio, to whom we owe Day’s Gone, was not allowed to develop the sequel to his game released in 2019. Instead, Sony asked him to develop a multiplayer game based on a Naughty Dog license and… a new game Uncharted. So Bend found himself supervised by another studio, which he didn’t really like when he thought he had proven himself with Day’s Gone. Last month, Sony listened to his complaints and took those plans away from him, while allowing him to develop a new license. Proof that the Japanese know how to make the right decisions.
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Among other examples of Sony’s obsession with big licenses, Bloomberg cites many massive departures to Japan from studios developing Gravity rush and Everybody’s Golf, games that Sony no longer wants because of their limited international success. In short, for Sony, the future of the PS5 is called The Last of Us, Uncharted, God of war, Spider-Man and Ratchet and Clank. Guaranteed success, at the cost of other projects.