Sony Has Quietly But Confidently Grown Its First-Party Lineup Reaction 1

It's abundantly clear Sony isn't interested in making a big song and dance out of its business deals. Rather than saving acquisition announcements for the big stage at digital events, the company treats them more like "blink and you'll miss it" moments with a simple PlayStation Blog post and some comments from the likes of Jim Ryan and Hermen Hulst. It then immediately reverts back to focusing on the games. As such, it could be argued Sony's studio pick-ups are almost going under the radar as the company does things on its own terms. To suggest so, however, would completely ignore the air of confidence in these purchases. As Ariana Grande would say: "I want it, I got it."

That's the allure around Sony right now off the back of a massively successful PS4 generation, and the first year of PS5 proves it's set to continue — even if you're struggling to get your hands on a console of your own. If what the firm achieved with PS4 is anything to go by, then doubling down on what it knows best with four varied studio acquisitions off the back of its Insomniac Games buyout in 2019 will elevate the Japanese giant to new heights. Sony appears completely confident in its efforts, and it's tough to bet against it.

But what of these four new developers, and how can they help Sony to further broaden its horizons and create quality titles? Well, Returnal studio Housemarque has already proven its worth time and time again. From the arcade-like classics that bolstered the PS3 and PS4's lineup of hits through to the aforementioned rogue-like released earlier this year, the Finnish outlet knows what it's doing. With the consistent backing of PlayStation Studios, it's hard to imagine its next title won't be something special yet again. The developer hardly needs any introduction, to be honest. We know what we're going to get with Housemarque, but then we also sort of don't. That intrigue is what makes its next project an exciting one.

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Of the four acquisitions, Nixxes is the awkward one for PlayStation faithful. Bought to help out with PC ports of older titles, there's no obvious benefit to those of a Sony persuasion. However, instead of questioning what Nixxes brings to the table, think instead about how its involvement frees up the likes of Naughty Dog and Guerrilla Games. The Horizon Zero Dawn developer made the PC port of Aloy's original adventure in-house, choosing not to outsource it like Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is doing with Iron Galaxy. If Nixxes is taking the reins here on future PC ports, it leaves those original creators free to pursue new projects and get to work on building their next great world.

Then there's Firesprite Games, which honestly feels like the most underrated purchase of the whole lot. It may only have The Persistence and The Playroom to its name, but the growing UK studio feels like a real dark horse. With the full backing of Sony, it has the potential to take its games to the next level. We're not saying that Firesprite Games is going to be the next Naughty Dog or Sony Santa Monica, but given its impressive size and rumoured projects in the works, the Liverpool team may be the one to flesh out the PS5 exclusive lineup. With certified bangers from other first-party studios already assured, Firesprite Games could be in a position to deliver an 8/10 game fairly often; maybe even a 9/10. A focus on producing quality at a faster rate than other studios could lead to Firesprite Games becoming one of the developers you see on a Sony stage most often. That is if Insomniac Games ever decides to take a break, of course.

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Bluepoint Games rounds out the current batch of acquisitions after proving itself with excellent remakes of Shadow of the Colossus and Demon's Souls. What the team does next will be an original game, which couldn't be more exciting. Maybe the developer will make a new IP; maybe it'll bring back a Sony classic. Bluepoint Games is in the same sort of lane as Housemarque: its quality has been on show for such a long time that today's buyout was almost an inevitability.

Is this it for Sony acquisitions for the time being, then? While Hermen Hulst says PlayStation Studios is always on the lookout for new partners, today feels like the final page of this particular chapter in Sony's development expansion. Maybe the company will surprise us with yet another studio acquisition in a few weeks time, but we personally wouldn't bet on it. As such, now feels like the right time to look back on what was.

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Sony hasn't been interested in dedicating a portion of its events to business deals. Hell, it even announced its purchase of Firesprite Games the day before the PlayStation Showcase. Could it have saved the reveal for the show? Absolutely, but that's not how the company is operating. Sony is confident in its focus on the games, and its four recent purchases have an air of confidence that the Japanese giant already knows they'll be a huge success. We look forward to seeing what they produce in the coming years.

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Which of Sony's four new developers excites you the most?