Sony has today acquired another studio: GUNS UP! developer Valkyrie Entertainment. The Seattle based team has worked as an outsourcing studio for much of its lifespan, lending a helping hand to the likes of God of War, Forza Motorsport, and titles out of Riot Games. Most recently, it was confirmed to be helping Santa Monica Studio with God of War Ragnarok.
Hermen Hulst announced the acquisition on Twitter, stating: "The studio will be making invaluable contributions to key PlayStation Studios franchises." Therefore, it sounds like Valkyrie Entertainment will continue to help other developers in the production of their games rather than focus on making its own experiences. The aforementioned GUNS UP! is the only game the studio has made by itself, which Sony also helped publish.
In a Business Wire post, Hulst said: "Valkyrie Entertainment is a highly adaptable and respected studio which has produced high-quality work on a range of platforms from console to PC; and a variety of styles from action to games-as-a-service titles. Valkyrie’s diverse capabilities will be welcomed by every team at PlayStation Studios as we continue to focus on delivering extraordinary gaming experiences."
President and founder Joakim Wejdemar added: "Since 2002, we have contributed to well over 100 titles, including great PlayStation franchises, such as God of War, inFAMOUS, and Twisted Metal. In our next chapter, we are excited to continue our relationship with some of the most talented teams in the world, expanding and contributing to the portfolio of amazing games available for PlayStation fans."
However, the Valkyrie Entertainment website does make mention of original games coming from the studio. "Currently, we are working on several AAA Co-Development projects and two unannounced in-house titles." So, there is potential for new titles out of the developer, but as Hermen Hulst says, it sounds like the primary driver behind Sony's purchase of the team is to help out with other titles even more.
If anyone thinks that this move is worthless because they don't have big ips just remember, after two years of MS founding The Initiative for the development of Perfect Dark they hired Crystal Dynamics to help the project.
This is not shade againts MS, is an example of how hard is to find talent and this is Sony buying talent that is working on God of War so they know first hand how good they are.
Guns Up is a quirky one cos it seem to be the only survivor of Sony run of F2P games in the PS4 era. I wonder if Valkyrie are brought on as support/port studio.
Hopefully They Can Do Both Help Out Other PS Studios And Make Their Own Stuff.
No idea 🤷♂️ not heard of them until now, but congratulations and good luck i guess. Sony clearly need more staff to continue to up their output so i guess this will help with those ambitions.
Also, it seems like the industry is being consolidated by a few huge companies like tencent, Microsoft, Epic etc, so i suppose Sony need to ensure they have sufficient talent available. I just wish they would look to Japan next. Some great studios that i am sure would be happy to come in house and would bolster their portfolio no end
Ember Lab next, please. Get them before someone else does.
This will be predominantly about having a talented internal team to help support first-party productions. If you look at the credits for any major release these days you'll see dozens of other studios listed.
Games are such huge, ambitious productions now that multiple teams work on them.
Remember when there was news about ‘God of War: Ragnarok Getting Help from Valkyrie Entertainment’ ?
It seems quite sensible to have a team of devs that can be easily moved from project to project to help other Studios meet deadlines.
The games industry is in such a weird spot. First 5 people in a garage made games. Then teams of 100+ people made games. Then teams of 10,000 people were outsourced so that teams of 50 people made games. Now everyone's in-sourcing the outsources!
It will be interesting to see how Sony progress next year. Until recently Sony had about $45 Billion cash in hand (basically free money they can spend) but a few months ago Sony deposited half of that for a budget for just mergers and acquisitions. Of course this money is not exclusively for Sony Interactive Entertainment but the company as a whole. But from what I've heard for those that look more closely at Sony's business and strategies their saying that SIE's plan for 2021 was to secure their partners that they've had long working relationships with. That's obviously what's happened with Bluepoint and Housemarque etc but that next year Sony is planning to get more aggressive so I guess watch this space.
hopefully that infamous rumored game is one of the games they are helping work on
Its interesting how Sony buys Devs and how MS do it, Sony seems more interested in buying Devs they have history with while MS seem more interested in buying Devs so they can get the IP's those Devs have. Hellblade 2 looks amazing and i can't wait to play it on my Series S but MS never founded the series they just bought it outright by buying the Dev who boasted about doing "AAA" feeling Indie games.
Another support studio...nothing to see here.
There's somewhat of a gaming studio arms race going on this year. Microsoft has bought 8 studios this year (under the Zenimax brand), while Sony has just gained their 6th for the year - Firesprite, Fabrik, Nixxes, Bluepoint, Housemarque and now Valkyrie.
What this means going forward is probably going to be both companies just churning out game after game until everybody has got bored of them.
@Rob_230 THANK YOU!!! We need more 1st party in house Japanese content
@Rob_230 @Keyblade-Dan I'm not sure who would easily get snapped up by Sony from Japan though. Square Enix, Namco Bandai and Koei Tecmo seem like they are too large, and would end up as a Zenimax-sized deal. Maybe Nihon Falcom or Nippon Ichi, but even then, their games are perhaps a little too niche to have the appeal that a game like Shadow Of The Colossus would have.
@BeerIsAwesome my wish would be Level 5, Spike Chunsoft, and Nihon Falcom.
Level 5 have literally come out and openly talked about their financial troubles and my fear is they will be snapped up by someone else. Ni No Kuni and Dark Cloud etc are playstation classics and when you think of their wider output on Nintendo platforms they would be a sensible buy.
Spike is a bit niche, but stuff like Danganronpa provides playstation with much needed variety
And Falcolm (with Level 5) would fill the JRPG gap in Sony's portfolio.
I agree thay the likes of Square, capcom, Sega etc are far too large for Sony to buy - and i have a constant fear that Microsoft will take at least one of those
One thing I do applaud Sony for is that they seem to be one of the few publishers that celebrate their support studios.
While Guns Up was nothing to write home about (in fact, I just now realized it even existed lol), I'm still glad that they joined the Playstation family, and here's hoping Sony could finally support them with a bigger boost in their budget for their titles/ports.
Honestly, while we're at it, I wouldn't mind if they also bought the developers who worked on the Medievil remake (or heck, maybe also F.I.S.T. devs just so they can have a chinese dev as part of the PS family for once), but that's just me.
@Ken_Kaniff you missed the part they have projects of their own in the works as well
@Rob_230 @BeerIsAwesome It Would Also Solve Nihon Falcom's localization Problem's No More Waiting Years Between The Japanese And Western Releases You Would Get Them At The Sametime.
@Rob_230 Japanese government tends to block foreign companies from buying large companies such as Capcom, Sega or Square as mentioned above. So there's little reason to fear that type of acquisition. If they were to be bought by anyone, it will most certainly be a Japanese conglomerate.
@SoulsBourne128 - The studio that did the MediEvil Remake was Other Ocean Interactive, also known for porting Minecraft across multiple platforms, and had a hand in the development & porting of those two Yugioh: Legacy of the Duelist games. Regardless yes I too think that would be a good acquisition, especially if it means more MediEvil, but after a MediEvil 2 Remake, I think they would have to try and breathe new life into MediEvil the same way that Santa Monica Studios did with God of War. Also TiGames the studio behind F.I.S.T would be another good acquisition, F.I.S.T truly was an overlooked and underappreciated game, the hidden gem of 2021 in my opinion.
I enjoyed guns up a lot, still log in from time to time. However, wish they kept the support for it. I think the last update for the game was like 4 years ago.
Another sensible, if unglamorous, acquisition. Well done Sony
@twitchtvpat Yea, they've made a total of one indie game (Guns Up!) So my faith has been restored, lol.
@JustPlainLoco Agreed. It's definitely, so far, the best we got from China Hero Project (Hardcore Mecha coming second). Plus, it would be nice to have a chinese sony studio.
And as for Other Ocean, another idea is that, while Bluepoint can work on bigger scale remakes/remasters, they could also work on smaller scale remakes/remasters, like a Jak and Daxter or something along the lines. Still, new IPs would be good too, and if Medievil 2 remake does well, I would love to see them make Medievil 3. Also, what I love about Medievil remake is that you can actually unlock the PS1 game as a reward, which is really neat.
One thing is for sure, Mr. Hulst has been making moves. He seems like a forward-thinking individual. I think PlayStation Studios are in good hands under his leadership.
@NEStalgia i'm confused is this a good thing or a bad thing?
@middyone I'm not even sure the companies know anymore. I think they're all just looking over their shoulder in an arms race afraid the other guy will buy the talent up and leave the market dry, like Amazon does with warehouse automation companies. Buying the company just to keep competitors from getting resources.
The progress of technology in a nutshell. Back in the 90s you could have 20 people alone make a high profile game but todays games have so many more moving parts to them, even the indies. These days you need hundreds and some cases as many as a thousand developers working on a game just to get it out at a reasonable time. So it's frustrating when i see people online treating developers through the mindset of 90s game development when todays landscape is so much different. Developers cant wave a magic wand to change something over night it takes millions and millions and millions of lines of code and QA testing.
PlayStation has a huge catalog of ip's and a lot of studios that are growing from 1 to 2 teams. Those teams have sequels and new ip's in development. The need for flexible workers over all these teams must be huge as game development demands different amounts of people working on it. These moves with this and the Dutch studios are very smart and helpful to keep projects moving.
More help is always welcome, glad to have another support studio in PlayStation family!
@ScepticDK Franchises and IP can be ruined and they can be created afresh. Talent is where it's at.
@ScepticDK I guess we'll have to wait and see what bears more fruit in 3-5 years time, and until then, agree to disagree.
@NEStalgia sony is buying studios yes but studios that they have long had a relationship with so I don't think it's the same as microsoft buying a studio that has always been multiplat.
@middyone True, though a lot of these purchases have been studio support only, pc ports only, mobile support etc, not really content studios. Mostly I get the sense they're trying to replace the capacity Japan studio has been providing other studios plus small growth. What's weird is other than bluepoint none of the acquisitions really have big game capability since insomniac (which is forever on marvel duty now.) They're all support operations they otherwise would have outsourced anyway .
Bethesda gets a lot of bashing, but those studios were closer than most realize, and Bethesda was suffering internally financially and had a visionary leader that was dying which we didn't know until after.... It's a good fit even if it raised eyebrows. Sony can't afford something that scale, sure, but these small studios aren't really significant, they're small operations for supporting the same big name studios (or not even console games at all) mostly.
@NEStalgia well your forgetting housemarque which made returnal so they have proved to be able to make a good big game.
closer? how so? support can go a long way when making a game look or perform better.
@middyone I didn't forget Housemarque or Bluepoint (which has said they want to create their own IPs, but we don't know that's how Sony actually intends to use them.) Although Hosuemarque is still a long way from a truly big game. Returnal is a fantastic game, no question, but it's ultimately a really good indie game with an average scope for an indie game, but with some cash infused by Sony as publisher to bring it up several notches in presentation. But it's a long, long way from what studios like Guerilla, Insomniac, or Sucker Punch are doing (I'd say ND, but I honestly can't really stand ND so I hate using them as an example ) I think Housemarque can fill an important role for a type of game that Sony hasn't been doing a lot of, though, but their specialty has, so far, been exclusively in "bullet hell" type games, and Returnal is no exception. It's definitely not a purchase on a scale of Insomniac.
With Bethesda being closer than most realize I mean that Bethesda has been tied to Microsoft since the DOS days. Their games have been PC first, and they've had a lot of internal contact with MS going way, way back, back even before the PS existed. It's no secret that Bethesda and console was kind of an odd mix, they were very very entrenched, and still mostly are, in the PC world. And the connection is deep enough, that Todd Howard had commented that when FO76 was failing hard out of the gate, on all platforms including PS of course, it was Phil Spencer he called for help and advice of what to do next to fix it. That was long before buyout was on the table, but they just had that kind of working relationship between the studios on a personal phone call basis at the top. More recently, but still before the buy outs Bethesda was one of the biggest and most all-in on Game Pass support, and doing interviews to kind of PR it. That was during the time when Sony was still trying to buy Starfield exclusivity and did buy Deathloop and Ghostwire, so it was still far out before any kind of aquisition was going on.
I'm not really a fan of industry consolidation, so I'd really prefer if both companies, plus Tencent stopped absorbing the industry. It feels like the mid-00's EA all over again. I'd rather either Sony or MS acquire studios than Google, Amazon, Apple, or Tencent though....both will focus the studios on producing the kind of content we want even if we have to forever have 2 platforms to do it on rather than retooling them to fit some hostile purpose of selling other services and mobile models. Bu t Sony's smaller acquisitions just seem weird in that they're buying the contractors they otherwise would have hired anyway, so they're not really netting much other than a more vertically integrated supply chain.
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