Jade Raymond’s Haven Studios is now officially part of PlayStation. Don’t worry if you’re feeling pangs of déjà vu: this acquisition was, of course, already announced – but now the ink has dried and the deal has closed. And according to a new interview with GamesIndustry.biz, the “small” Canadian team – which has exploded to 106 employees – is already having an influence on other first-party teams.
A wide-ranging interview with Raymond gets into the nitty-gritty, but formed during the pandemic, Haven Studios is pioneering the possibilities of remote work within the cloud. This makes sense, of course, when you consider that much of the company was formed out of the ashes of Google Stadia’s failed first-party initiative, but its approach is catching the attention of other developers within the PlayStation Studios framework.
In fact, it sounds like Haven Studios is poised to be a true innovator, with even PS5 and PS4 architect Mark Cerny involved. “[Cerny] is one of the main reasons we're investing so much in R&D, and in this very senior engineering team,” Raymond revealed. “It's not just tied to cloud but also some more forward-thinking R&D. I'm not able to say too much now, but that's obviously one of the other things that's been a big attractor and is exciting to our team with PlayStation.”
As for Haven Studios’ actual game, well, it’s part of Sony’s live service push – although we’re expecting more Animal Crossing than Fortnite. Part of its goal on the technical side is to build tools that will allow it to iterate and evolve the game rapidly, without the bottlenecks commonly found in projects of this scale – and with a comparatively smaller team.
The interview makes for an interesting read, although you’ll need your business hat on, because it really does delve into the nitty-gritty of recruitment and management. For example, Haven Studios has a flat hierarchy with just three higher-ups overseeing the entire company – predominantly remotely, as well.
While the mere mention of “live service” will no doubt leave the comments in chaos, it’s fascinating that this relatively new studio is already catching the eye of high-ranking PlayStation employees, and could potentially have an influence on how other first-party teams evolve and expand.
If Cerny is involved that can only mean one thing.
Knack 3 confirmed!!
The PlayStation strategy seems to be to buy the talent rather than the IP.
This is all going to pay off nicely a few years down the road. Very exciting.
I wonder why Sony didn't buy Ember Labs yet. They clearly have talent.
So has the studio even made anything yet, like at all? Or are Sony just rolling the dice cause they've seen something that may or may not be good?
Definitely will be interesting to see how this pans out either way. Buying a pretty new company is quiet the risk.
@TheCollector316 Could be as simple as the studio heads politely refusing an approach.
@rawzeku It's a brand new studio, although it's recruited a lot of high-profile talent from the likes of Ubisoft.
Raymond built the Assassin's Creed team (among many others).
@rawzeku Experience, expertise and assets. The studio itself hasn't made anything yet, but it's a team full of Assassin's Creed developers from the days when Assassin's Creed was good. And having Jade Raymond on your side is always a plus.
All the pieces falling into place for Sony now. PSVR2 will be the icing on the cake.
Very optimistic for this generation.
Ah alright. So they actually do have a pretty good team assembled with some good experience behind them. That makes more sense then.
If Haven makes something like a PlayStation version of Animal Crossing, I'll be all over that.
To me Jade's vision of AC is the only correct vision of AC, I'm hoping something good comes of this. OTOH I remember when she went to EA and the poop sandwich that came from that, and she hasn't actually produced anything notable since. We'll see if "buying talent" is a winning strategy. Square got Naka and we know how that went. Even if it's a winner, the payoff is probably not until next gen.
@NEStalgia She built good teams at EA and Google, though, it's just neither company did anything with those teams.
I think working alongside Hermen Hulst, within the PlayStation Studios framework, will be a good place for her. But time will, of course, tell.
I'm actually really interested to see what Haven is capable of creating. I first heard about Jade when the first Assassins Creed was about to come out and I really enjoyed that series through Syndicate.
@get2sammyb @NEStalgia The way you've worded it implies that they are going to try to innovate using the benefits of being a first party studio, rather than just trying to create a by the numbers game.
The Games media always mentions this woman like shes this well known hit maker. I know she made Assassins Creed II like 14 years ago, but I dont understand the hype around her
@BeerIsAwesome @get2sammyb Yeah, I'm hoping. It's been kind of sucky that the mind behind what, to me is the best AC, has been basically AWOL for a decade. But I'm also a bit jaded (pun not intended), that the idea of rockstar producers dropped into a new setting to hopefully recapture the lost magic hasn't gone very well in almost any scenario I can think of with the exceptions of Miyamoto and Kojima, and Kojima's recaptured magic is probably debatable in the switch from MGS to DS.
See what they're trying here, and I want it to work, but there's been so many attempts to do a similar thing that haven't worked out over the years.
Whatever they're working on must have Sony pretty impressed...
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I think Jade Raymond is super talented and this is one of the most interesting partnerships/acquisitions in the gaming industry. I'm really excited to see what this studio can do!
@rawzeku it feels like a lot of people these days are branching out and creating their own studio's which is pretty cool imo. they have a lot of talented people hired , and it must be good enough for sony to not only invest buy purchase the studio. i wouldn't mind sony focusing on picking up these brand new studios and helping them expand so they can develop the game they have in mind.
I get the impression Sony has been really impressed Haven. I know that might seen obvious considering the acquisition but even before hand when they announced the partnership for this game I remember the high praise. Interested to see the game probs one of the only studios I can honestly say I don't have a clue what to expect.
*bonks Mark Cerny
@TheCollector316. Ember lab is the one i want sony to buy.word up son
Will be interesting to see what Haven will bring to the table.
@DrClayman: That is the dream.^^
When I saw the headline, I was going to write something to the effect of "Oh so they're making live service games?" as a joke, and...
And would be a real waste of talent if they're used to just copy things like Animal Crossing or Fortnite
yay....live service... that nobody wants.....
GOD she is BEAUTIFUL (just like the PS5 & Mark Cerny)
I would rather Playstation not play copycat.
Gorgeous woman but im more interested what game they are working on.
They have not actually made anything yet, so cautiously "happy" about this new studio. Seems service games bs to be honest.
@playstation1995 @TheCollector316 Sony owning Ember Labs would be awesome! However it's up to EL to decide if they want to join, no one can force them to.
Tap here to load 32 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...