Introducing Haven, a new Montreal-based independent studio

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It’s been a strange and difficult past 12 months. The pandemic, social injustice, and job elimination have impacted many of my closest friends, family, and co-workers. All of these factors, paired with an inability to see friends and family face-to-face, lulled me into a kind of self-reflective cocoon where I had to ask myself some tough questions about what really matters.

I’ve been making games for a long time — over 25 years now! I’ve had the opportunity to lead the creation of two highly successful original IPs and build multiple teams and studios from the ground up. Some of these adventures have been more successful than I could have ever imagined, and others less so. 

Several people have asked me recently: “After all of these experiences, do you still want to be in the games industry?” The answer is always an unwavering YES! The games industry is where I belong!

Whether it’s playing Settlers of Catan with my kids or Valheim with my team, games continue to bring me joy. They’re a way to relax, connect, and share experiences with people I care about. And the act of making games is, in many ways, even more fulfilling. Getting to bring together experts across so many different creative fields – from music composers, to concept artists, to programmers (yes! programmers are creative too!) into a perfectly synched orchestra that delivers new worlds for players to explore. For me, there is nothing more fulfilling or rewarding I can imagine doing.

As I took stock of my career over the last few years and started to think about what to do next, I came to a very simple conclusion: I need to get back to what I love doing most, and do so in a way that gives our team the freedom to explore, inspire, and create. 

And so today I’m announcing Haven, an independent studio where many of the talented game developers I have worked with for years (and love dearly!) are coming together to do what we are most passionate about. It’s time for us to refocus on GAMES in a place where we can practice our crafts without any barriers or impediments. We want to create worlds where players can escape, have fun, express themselves, and find community. We want to pour our passion into a project. We want to make something wondrous for people to experience. Because we believe in the power of games to bring joy to people’s lives. And Sony does, too. Their commitment to excellence is unmatched. It’s why I couldn’t be happier for their backing and support.

Together, we want to create games that are a haven for players, and we want to build a studio that is a haven for developers. So, while we don’t have many details to announce today, I want the PlayStation community to know that Haven Studios is already hard at work on an unannounced IP. We can’t wait to show you more!

Mundaun invites you to a world of hand-drawn horror on PS4 tomorrow

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Hello, everyone. I am Michel Ziegler, the creator and developer behind Mundaun, a folklore-inspired horror game and my first full-length title as a one-man game development studio!

Mundaun has been a passion project for me since I began development in 2014. Every character, scene and even environmental textures in the game are hand-pencilled – you can imagine how much drawing I’ve had to do over the years.

It’s amazing to finally share the game with you all after working on it for so many years. Creating a game as a solo developer has certainly been an exciting journey, one with plenty of ups and downs.

Collecting references for inspiration

The Alps hold a special importance to me, and everything from Mundaun’s story to its characters and environments celebrate the remarkable culture of the Swiss region of Grisons. Mundaun is heavily inspired by the Alps’ rich history of myth and culture, and pays homage to the oppressive atmosphere of works like Jeremias Gotthelf’s “The Black Spider”.

In order to do so, I tried to gather as many books and references for many of the elements I’ve included in the game. I have been scavenging thrift stores over the years, and must have collected at least 50 books with old photographs from rural life in the Alps, which are my biggest visual inspirations for the look of the game. The atmosphere these black and white pictures have, to me, is a window into almost a different world, and I wanted to immerse myself in the world in a way.

Scouting real-life locations

The chapel in Mundaun was the very first thing I modeled for the game. I didn’t really have a plan for a game, but I started to create this small piece of a world that featured a chapel, and the ideas continued to flow from there.

It’s still one of my favorite places in the game, and one where you can see that the game is entirely drawn by hand. Everything from the ceiling to the windows and the benches were inspired by this chapel in Platenga, which is full of these incredible drawings and paintings. It’s like a drawing inside of the game.

Another location in the game is the Painter’s House, which is a real house that was built and used by an artist named Alois Carigiet in the 1950s. He was a very well-known Swiss painter and illustrator of children’s books. He put a variety of drawings on the house walls, one of which inspired a puzzle i

Severed Steel – a new FPS big on bullet time and stylish gunplay

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Hi, I’m Matt and I’m thrilled to announce my FPS project Severed Steel. Severed Steel is a single-player shooter featuring a fully destructible voxel environment, loads of bullet time, and a unique one-armed protagonist.

Severed Steel – a new FPS big on bullet time and stylish gunplay

Maybe the most unique aspect of Severed Steel is its protagonist, Steel. Steel loses her arm in an accident just before the start of the game. EdenSys, the gigantic corporation responsible for her injury, decides to abandon her rather than help. The campaign is about Steel liberating others crushed under the boot of EdenSys while seeking revenge for her abandonment. 

The missing arm concept came to me while thinking a lot about gameplay mechanics. I wanted to subvert the concept of reloading in shooting games, and I liked the concept of players constantly throwing, ditching, and picking up new weapons. I considered the idea of a one-armed character. Someone that would find creative ways to keep well-stocked with ammo in the midst of battle: rather than worry about reloading, they’d use their agility to steal weapons from enemies’ hands. Having a one-armed character who can’t reload opened a lot of unique gameplay. But the decision to have a protagonist with one arm meant I was dealing with a subject outside my own experience. And if the game were to star such a protagonist, it must be playable by people who can relate to Steel’s experience.

Before committing to the character design I researched what it is like to be a gamer with one arm. Through that I discovered a lot. For instance: Did you know there is a vibrant community on YouTube of highly skilled console FPS gamers who play with one arm? Taking my learnings from that, I made sure to include a custom button binding option to be dictated by the player. Once I was confident I could realize the character of Steel in an inclusive way, I committed to the design. 

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This week, the team fielded your listener letters with quality recommendations on games that can be completed in a night or two. Plus, we get the soundtrack from Astro’s Playroom stuck in our heads gamespodcastplaystation

Stuff We Talked About

  • Little Nightmares II
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Astro’s Playroom
  • Limbo
  • Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture
  • Firewatch
  • We Were Here
  • Outriders

The Cast

Tim Turi –  Senior Content Communications Specialist, SIE

Kristen Zitani – Senior Content Communications Specialist, SIE

Share of the Week: Inspiring Women

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In celebration of International Women’s Day earlier this week, we asked you to share the amazing women in games that have inspired you over the years using #PSshare #PSblog. We didn’t just ask for your shares, but to tell us what about these heroines and anti-heroes struck a chord with you. Here are this week’s inspiring highlights: 

“Remaining strong after a great loss in her life, Aloy is nothing short of a strong heroine. All while projecting kindness to others. Something I relate to and try to do daily.” – @kaytanaa on Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn

“Lara Croft will always be special to me –  This character has genuinely helped and inspired me.” – @XxPAGZxX on Lara Croft of the Tomb Raider series

She is a supporting antagonist in Ghost of Tsushima.
She is not samurai, but she is a born killer. Strong & Beautiful.” – @azuazu1202luna on Tomoe from Ghost of Tshushima

“Jesse takes in so much and adjusts her perspective on reality without fully understanding what’s going on. All she knows is that if she doesn’t fix things, the world is in danger.” – @MdeavorVP on Jesse Faden from Control

“A unique female character that held her own with her brother and ended up becoming his savior from Jack the Ripper. She had strength, smarts & leadership skills. BONUS: We also got to play older Evie!” – @MisthosLiving on Evie Frye of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

“Seeing Raven overcome her past hardships and grow as a person was amazing to see and carries a meaningful message. Her teaming up with Kat in Gravity Rush 2 was one of the game’s highlights.” – @Draikin on Raven from Gravity Rush 2

“Not all strong women in video games need carry a weapon. Hailey Cooper is know in East Harlem for her talent


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