Sony Interactive Entertainment and ProbablyMonsters have announced a new partnership where PlayStation will be the exclusive publisher for the first game from ProbablyMonsters and Firewalk Studios.
The Firewalk Studios AAA Multiplayer Game, currently in development, does not yet have a release window and we do not yet know what the specifics of the game will be (or even if the game will be cross-gen, or exclusive to the PS5, thus giving the studio “a real AAA ambition for this project ”).
Tony Hsu, Ryan Ellis, and Elena Siegman but also Hermen Hulst (boss of PlayStation studios) spoke with IGN on the reason for this partnership for this project, but also how the development team made up of alumni of Destiny, Halo , Apex Legends, Call of Duty, tackle this new multiplayer game; ProbablyMonsters was also asked about the development of a “qualitative” game and what they really wanted with this project.
Why PlayStation and Firewalk Studios wanted to work together
This project will be Firewalk Studios’ first game since the studio was founded in 2018, and both sides (PlayStation and Firewalk Studios) look back at the potential of this new – but experienced – development team.
“Firewalk is an incredible team of talented people, who have worked on some very interesting games collectively but also individually. [dans le passé]. It’s a new team. Working with Firewalk has given us the best of both worlds. […] On the one hand, we wanted to collaborate with the studio from its inception. We had that magical moment of starting a studio, the ability to explore new ways of making games. And, on the other side, they have a lot of experience, ”explained Hermen Hulst in an interview with IGN.
And it was exactly this mix of experience combined with the opportunity to innovate that really appealed to Sony.
“With the support of ProbablyMonsters, we were able to really focus on a game concept that we were really interested in and we met Sony in 2018. And since that first meeting with them, they’ve been incredibly impatient and of a Huge support for the development team, but especially for the project we were working on, ”says studio director Tony Hsu, who was previously the general manager (Destiny) and SVP of Activision.
What is the new multiplayer game from Firewalk Studios, to be released at Sony?
Well, we don’t know very much yet. Firewalk has not confirmed what gameplay mechanics the game will offer (shared universe, classic competitive play, battle royale, a mix of modes, or something else). Obviously, with the pedigree of the team, there is hope that the experience of industry veterans can energize development.
But as we wait for a potential preview of the game, Hermen Hulst and the executives at Firewalk discuss how the connection between what PlayStation Studios are developing and what Firewalk makes makes for a great partnership.
“In PlayStation Studios, we’re storytellers, but that’s not all. I believe we have a separate and varied catalog of games, but some of our most beloved games are indeed narrative single-player games. And we will continue to create and support them. […] The Firewalk Studios team is also made up of story tellers and, in their heritage and their history, they have a history of innovation, of daring to create new things. And when they’re ready, they can talk about their way of innovating in storytelling and the narrative part of games, especially in the multiplayer realm, ”Hulst said.
“Hermen is right. It’s a game with history, ”Game Director Ryan Ellis (previously Creative Director at Bungie) tells us. “And one of the most exciting things about multiplayer is where does the story really fit into multiplayer games? And I think that sentence sums up our ambition well. Multiplayer is a machine that can create endless stories. It reminds us of those moments and memories that will stick with us forever. And I think Sony understands and believes in this. And it’s the same for us, that’s why we love it. “.
“Ultimately, the goal is to bring people together, and make them smile again. […] In these times of remote work and COVID, multiplayer is more powerful than ever with the ability to bring people together and keep them connected. We are happy to bring new ideas and create new things. “.
Building a “solid” studio
Looking at the official ProbablyMonsters website, and learning about the goals of Firewalk, this initial announcement introduces the teams in very specific language: “a new category of video game company that is building strong studios with a culture that prioritizes to people ”.
But what does that really mean, in a time when gamers are more aware than ever of crunch, the process of developers working hard, night-long nights to get their games ready on time, at the end of the day? to the detriment of their health and their families?
“We’re talking about putting people first, creating trust and respect. We know crunch isn’t the magic ingredient that makes games great. Inspired, happy, empowered teams make great games, ”says executive producer Elena Siegman (previously at Harmonix, Irrational Games, and Bungie).
“This is what we are focusing our efforts on … Doing the work to build trust and respect, listen to our team. You have to know what you want and who you are. This studio was founded to create great multiplayer experiences, and we know we have the talent to build that. […] What will our studio look like in 2025? In 2030? We work on all levels in our studio and on the management teams, to build a good studio over the long term, ”explains Hsu.
“From our first days here, we have built a diverse and inclusive team that not only focuses on the composition of the studio, but the content of our game,” says Hsu, recalling how a simple conversation with the design team led Firewalk to sponsor the Game Devs of Color conference last year.
“We have a lot of ambition and experienced members, but we also have a lot of inspiration and passion. And I think it echoes the revival Hermen is talking about. And so when Tony talks about strength, trust and respect, we really need to raise all the voices and experiences of our team. I think that will make our game better, but also ourselves better. We can inspire each other, ”says Siegman.
In the meantime, let’s wait to see more about the first game of Firewalk, this partnership is the newborn of recent partnerships with developers or publishers made by Sony. In particular, as Hulst mentioned in the conversation, PlayStation is also in partnership with the new Haven studio (founded by Jade Raymond), and there is a clear connection between these two deals and the reason why Sony is interested in making a partnership with these two new teams.
“Last month, we announced a partnership with Jade Raymond’s new studio, Haven. Today, I’m very happy to tell you about our partnerships with Firewalk and ProbablyMonsters. And what I particularly like about them is that there are veterans with a lot of experience, but it’s also a whole new team that can wipe out a clean slate and that can innovate. And that is why I deeply love this partnership ”.
Florian Marques is a freelance writer at IGN France.