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Hermen Hulst Q&A: What’s Next for PlayStation Studios

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It’s been just about 17 months since Hermen Hulst took the reins of PlayStation Studios, the international network of world-class development studios that produce some of PlayStation’s biggest hits — from Returnal and Astro’s Playroom to The Last of Us Part II, Dreams, Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart and much, much more.

Over our jam-packed 20-minute discussion, Hulst provided updates on a host of topics: studio development updates, thoughts on PS5 and PS4 development, PlayStation Studios’ vision for PC releases, and a whole lot more.

Listen to our full interview on the Official PlayStation Podcast here, or read on for some key excerpts, edited for brevity and clarity. 

PlayStation.Blog: Do you see single-player, narrative games as essential to the PlayStation Studios console experience?

Hermen: Absolutely. Single-player, narrative-driven games — that’s our DNA. PlayStation Studios have made, in my mind, some of the most memorable narrative experiences available. We love making them, and we’ll keep making them as long as gamers enjoy them. For me, the idea of sitting down on a Friday night with a brand-new world, and a great story to explore — that sounds pretty perfect, right?

We also want to make sure that we’re creating a variety of experiences for our audiences. Franchises, new IP, big games, smaller and more innovative games, single-player stories, and multiplayer. Who says that multiplayer experience cannot have great stories, right?

PSB: We’ve seen the announcement of Haven, from Jade Raymond as well as a bunch of industry veterans. And more recently Firewalk, which also has some top names from the industry.

How do you see partnerships like these fitting into the larger PlayStation Studios vision?

Hermen: Yeah. You know, these partnerships are very exciting. You could, I guess, make a distinction between development teams who are part of Sony — like Naughty Dog, Insomniac, Media Molecule, Sucker Punch, and so on — and then development teams who are working with us like partners… Haven, Firewalk, but also teams we’ve worked with over years, like Kojima Productions, From Software.

To me, in many ways, there really is no difference. They’re all PlayStation Studios. We are, at the end of the day, a creator-led organization. Which to me means that we want to find the best possible development studios in the world and help them passionately pursue their ideas.

To me, it’s important that PlayStation Studios is a place that allows creators to join us and do the best work of their career. That’s really what I’m after.

…. 

PSB: Are you able to give us a snapshot of the total number of titles that PlayStation Studios are currently developing for PS4 or PS5?

Hermen: Well, we have a lot going on right now. PlayStation Studios have more than 25 titles in development. Almost half of these are new IP. The other half, they’re titles that are set in franchises that PlayStation fans already know and love. So, it’s quite a lot.

PSB: How important is new IP for PlayStation Studios?

Hermen: New IP is incredibly important to us. New IP is the lifeblood of gaming. But, new IP is just one aspect of our strategy. Ultimately, I want PlayStation Studios to be fiercely daring, to take risks. I want us to continue to embrace the legacy of P

Survive Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection with combat tips

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With over seven years since the last Ninja Gaiden entry, we are incredibly excited to bring back fan-favourite ninja, Ryu Hayabausa, to the PlayStation 4 (and PlayStation 5 via backwards compatibility) on June 10, with the Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection.

With it being several years since the last game in the Ninja Gaiden series was released, we thought it would be a great opportunity to take a little walk down memory lane to see how Hayabusa came to be such a renowned character in the games industry. Along with that – a selection of combat tips to help you survive the challenges awaiting Ryu.

The Origins of Ryu Hayabusa

Hayabusa first graced our screens back in the 1988 arcade game, Ninja Gaiden, donning his classic blue ninja costume (which he also wears at the beginning of Sigma). In this first outing, he travelled across America in a side-scrolling beat ‘em up adventure to defeat an evil cult seeking to end the world. The game quickly became a hit across the world for its unforgiving white-knuckle gameplay, pushing players to bring their A-game. 

With the series’ success, Hayabusa would go on to star in a variety of different home-console Ninja Gaiden releases, as well as appearing in the Dead Or Alive series where he became an ass-kicking mainstay, further rocketing his popularity as the ultimate ninja in video game lore. 

Nearly 20 years after the arcade classic was released, Ninja Gaiden Sigma finally brought the brutally challenging gameplay to the 3D battlefield of PlayStation, making its long-awaited debut on the PlayStation 3. The developers of Team Ninja drew inspiration from popular action-adventure games and titles such as Onimusha, working by trial and error to come up with a unique identity for a modern 3D Ninja Gaiden experience. These games would challenge gamers with no-holds-barred fights, forcing them to improve their gameplay skills in order to progress – something very different from how the highly-difficult “masocore” style games of today (such as the Nioh series), which provide various options aside from full-on combat to empower yourself. These modern Ninja Gaiden games set the trailblazing standard for stylish action games thanks to their merciless but rewarding difficulty level!

Survive Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection with combat tips

Combat Tips

With the series requiring you to hone your skills to overcome the challenge, we thought it would be best to provide some tips and tricks to Ninja Ga

Players’ Choice: Vote for May’s best new game

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May has come to a close, which means it’s time to open up the Players’ Choice polls and decide which new release had the most players buzzing last month. 

We’ll keep the polls open until Sunday night at 11:59pm Pacific, so be sure to cast your vote before then. Want to defend your pick? Drop a comment below on why it was your favorite.


How does it work? At the end of every month, PlayStation.Blog will open a poll where you can vote for the best new game released that month. Soon thereafter, we’ll close the polls, tally your votes, and announce the winner at PlayStation.Blog. PlayStation Store will also showcase some top Players’ Choice winners throughout the year.

What is the voting criteria? That’s up to you! If you were only able to recommend one new release to a friend that month, which would it be? In keeping with our long tradition in the Game of the Year Awards, remastered or re-released games won’t qualify. Ambitious, larger-scale rebuilds and remakes like Shadow of the Colossus and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy will.

How are nominees decided? The PlayStation.Blog and PlayStation Store editorial teams will gather a list of that month’s most noteworthy releases and use it to seed the poll. Write-in votes will be accepted.


A look at Stonefly’s bugged-out art design, out today on PS5 and PS4

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Hey, hey everyone! I’m Adam Volker, creative director at Flight School Studio, the team behind the 2019 game Creature in the Well, a top-down, pinball-inspired, hack-and-slash dungeon crawler… or “pinbrawler” as we all lovingly called it.

Published by MWM Interactive, our next title, Stonefly, a mech adventure game launches today (woohoo!) and I want to pull the curtain back on some behind-the-scenes tidbits we’ve never shared before.

At Flight School Studio, we like to make things that feel a little weird and different. Storytelling and art are things that we love and we’re always trying new approaches to games to see what’s fun and exciting. Stonefly is definitely our next iteration exploring those ideas. 

You play as Annika Stonefly, a brilliant yet naive young inventor who sets out on her own journey after disappointing her father. The Stonefly family runs the local repair shop, working on mechs and because of Annika’s oversight, her father’s prized rig, Chrysa, is stolen by a thief in the middle of the night. Chasing the thief, Annika discovers a big fantastic world, that inspires her to invent new mech capabilities, all of which come in really handy when she encounters buggos out in the wilderness.

Inventing a world

Annika’s story was inspired by the journey that many of us on the development team have had. Sometimes taking on a huge journey can be paralyzing, and Annika not knowing everything she is about to undertake is just what she needs to get started. Her determination and directness is really inspiring. As she ventures out into the woods, she takes notes of the people she meets, the creatures, and fauna. She uses all of it as inspiration and she funnels that creativity into upgrades and abilities for her mech. It is in her curiosity that she finds knowledge.

In Stonefly’s world, tiny people travel in mechs that glide along the wind and are composed of a few upgradable components: the hull, legs, and antenna. Annika is no stranger to how these mechs function and is constantly upgrading her’s as you adventure through the game. Depending on how you play you’ll be encouraging Ann to invent wind abilities, upgrade the utilities of the mech or find inspiration for cosmetic upgrades hidden throughout the world. 

For example, after being slowed down by silken worm goo over and over Annika invents a similar ability for her mech that makes bugs move slowly while she gets the loot. And, for any fashionistas, you can also scan elements in the environment to change the color of your rig, or even come up with your own cu

Introducing the Evo Community Series’ PlayStation 4 Tournaments

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Since we announced the next chapter of our story with Evo in March, we’ve been gearing up for an exciting Evo 2021 Online tournament in August. Today, we’re thrilled to reveal even more opportunities for you to play, watch and learn your favorite fighting games as we help kick off the Evo Community Series, a global celebration of the fighting game community (FGC) starting on June 10.

Evo Community Series (June 10 – Aug. 3)

Starting next week, the Evo Community Series features more than 120 tournaments across the globe, $74,000 in total prizing, and more than 100 hours of broadcasts.

As part of this community celebration, PlayStation is hosting three tournaments from June 10 through August 3. Eligible PS4 players in select regions across the globe will be able to participate in these open-format competitions for a chance to vanquish rivals and win cash prizes (details below). Select matches will be broadcast on the PlayStation Twitch and YouTube channels, as well as Evo’s Twitch channel.

Whether you can perform frame-perfect inputs or simply enjoy watching the execution of a tricky combo, this culmination of fans’ commitment to the fighting game community brings together different scenes over a shared love for the genre. Look forward to a record-breaking number of upsets, underdogs, and unforgettable moments at these highly accessible events. Register today on the PlayStation Competition Center or the Events tab on your PS4 console.

Evo 2021 Online (August 6-8 and 13-15)

Ready to showcase your skills on a global stage? Registration for Evo 2021 Online opens today! Entry is free, and aspiring champions in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America* can sign up to compete in the world’s longest-running fighting game competition at evo.gg

PS4 Tournaments in the Evo Community Series

PlayStation Tournaments FGC Arcade: Evo Edition

DatesJune 10 – June 22
RegionsNorth America, Europe
Prizing$20,000 global prize pool
Featured titles$20,000 global prize pool
Granblue Fantasy: Versus, Guilty Gear Strive,
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, Tekken 7
Rules & eligibility Active PS Plus membership required. Must be 18+ and a member of an eligible country.**  Void where prohibited. See full rules

Fight for glory in this pro-am tournament celebrating newcomers and underdogs. Free open qualifiers then swiss rounds will culminate in the winner challenging a pro for bragging rights and cash winnings from a $20,000 prize pool. Gain valuable insight from interviews and enjoy round table talent starring the voices of the community. For details on how to participate and watch, visit: Compete.playstation.com

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