While Sony’s formwork of Concrete genius Developer PixelOpus in early May didn’t make as many headlines as yesterday PlayStation Showcase announcement of Metal Gear Solid 3 reissue When that happened, it still hangs like a dark cloud over the PlayStation brand, even as Sony shows upcoming games for an hour.
The closure of PixelOpus was the latest in a long line of moves by the brand to position itself as a prestige blockbuster video game company. It’s gotten to the point where Sony His studios are reportedly derailing to work on it Unexplored Games instead of new IP. It seems Sony, which championed quirky and unique titles like Media Molecule’s, is gone tear away or Japan Studios gravity.
This is the path PlayStation has taken since the PS4 era. The death of PixelOpus seems to be another omen that a brand that once prided itself on promoting creative bets is increasingly only interested in pursuing big-budget blockbusters. This PlayStation Showcase felt like a reminder that while there are still plenty of beautiful, innovative games out there for the PS5, most come from studios that seem more aware of the PlayStation brand’s innovative past than its seemingly prestige-obsessed present seem to be influenced future.
Sony is increasing its commitment to prestige blockbusters
Sony’s big headlining game was Marvel’s Spider-Man 2which looks great but leans heavily on the cinematic action storytelling that made Naughty Dog’s popular Unexplored. The full game will be packed with fast-paced superhero theatrics, but the gameplay we saw makes a point of emphasizing the direction and scenes that have become synonymous with the PlayStation brand. I like these aspects of Sony’s games, but I also recognize that these concepts have become a point of friction for many fans since then The last of us first exploded in 2013. At first, the feeling that all of Sony’s first-party games felt like chasing the high points of Naughty Dog seemed overdone. But lately I’m starting to wonder.
Yes, there’s certainly something to be said about the way some games –horizonthe northmen God of War duology, even some unfortunate franchise attempts How Over– Clearly inspired by Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic series. But to claim they’re all the same when conceptually and systemically they couldn’t be further apart has always seemed like a reductive view of what’s actually happening at Sony. This nuance is often lost because for some the idea of ”cutscenes as a storytelling device” has been somehow claimed The last of uswhich aligns with some people’s misconception that “any game that features a humanoid character in the third-person perspective is actually the same.”
However, as Sony places more emphasis on photorealistic imagery and storytelling for the HBO adaptation, more and more ideas are left on the cutting room floor. And more talent is displaced. Watching a PlayStation Showcase where the first party lineup consisted only of big budget prestigious games or live service games is a creative pinnacle such as: Puppeteer, Little Big Planet, Tokyo jungleand even the early ones Smart Cooper Games seem like relics of a bygone era.
Whatever one person claims makes Sony’s first-party output feel homogenous, it’s worrying that Sony now seems less interested in different visual art styles, gameplay mechanics and storytelling approaches while attempting to keep everything under the PlayStation umbrella into a multimedia universe. ratchet and clamp is one of the few old-school survivors of a seeming annihilation of the games and creative minds behind PlayStation’s previously eclectic first-party catalogue.
Sony’s upcoming release has no shortage of sequels to its modern prestige games Spider-Man 2 and Sony released Death Stranding 2 will probably be great. But it seems that their existence is now at the expense of smaller, innovative projects such as goes Concrete genius And Parapa the rapper. Outside of Spider-Man 2Many of Sony’s first-party PlayStation Showcase projects only showed theatrical trailers with no gameplay, and some also seemed geared towards multiplayer, such as Haven’s FairGame$ And Marathon. Live service and prestige games seem to be the two pillars of PlayStation Studios right now.
We still see a lot of that old creative spirit in indie games
Meanwhile, much of the company’s old spirit has been captured by indie studios, which at least gave Sony a spotlight on its vast digital stage. games like Neva, cat questAnd Revenant Hill Stand out alongside generic games with generic names. Three years and more of pandemic environmental noise and endless “digital showcases” have only made the increasing homogeneity of many big-budget games even clearer, and have caused these same outcomes to become increasingly mixed in our minds. Now Sony’s own games are also falling into this trap.
Sony wants PlayStation to grow into a megalithic brand involved in all forms of entertainment. He seems to feel that this doesn’t give him time to return to his lighter story or to devote resources to pleasurable fun he can’t transform into extremely successful HBO series or Live Action Movies. And while the PlayStation Showcase only featured a handful of first-party games, I can’t help feeling that the company lacks the imagination it once had. The PlayStation 3 era, widely credited as the generation when Sony “lost” the made-up console war against Microsoft’s Xbox 360, was one of its most experimental periods. Exciting new games were coming out all the time, and it just felt like the company was more willing to try new things and make mistakes. Now, Sony’s output always seems too carefully curated and tailored to the message to convey too much wonder.
This isn’t a Sony-specific issue, as just about every major brand in entertainment has become increasingly fearful of perceived failure, requiring any deviation from public vision to be polished or quashed. Sony says so hopes that by 2025 half of its output will be new intellectual property, and I just hope that whatever games the company shows us in the years to come can reclaim some of the old magic. But given the fact that Sony also seems to want live-service gaming to be a sizable chunk of its rumored upcoming renaissance, I’m not holding my breath.