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