We're getting closer to the next generation of games as the 2010s wind down. One key component of Next gen systems will be more important than ever before, First party content from the platform holders. With Nintendo fully flexing the muscle of its Entertainment Planning and Development Division (EPD) on the Switch, and Microsoft doing its best to rebuild Xbox Game Studios in time for Scarlett, That just leaves Sony, and its Worldwide Studios to speculate about for the PlayStation 5. The company recently made some key changes to its First party software management. Shawn Layden recently departed from his position as WWS chairman, long-time PlayStation alumni, Shuei Yoshida is being moved out of WWS, and Gurrella Games Studio Head, Helmen Hurst, had just been given the keys to Sony's entire First Party Empire.
With all these changes made, what do you want or hope to see in terms of First Party games from Sony and their army of 14 development subsidiaries and independent collaborators? Here's a few things I want to see next gen
1.) Continue to embrace big budget projects - One of PlayStation's strengths is that it's not afraid to go all out with the production values of its games. As much as the "PlayStation Exclusive Template" formula bothers some people, it's a formula that works, and more importantly, sells PlayStation hardware en mass. People like big games, and Sony delivers some of the best in the business, so continue to allow developers the unlimited budget afforded by the nature of being a platform holder. That being said...
2.) Try to green-light more niche, and smaller titles too - One of the best things about being a Platform holder, is that the budget you have from the various revenue streams (System-Selling franchises, Third Party license fees, Online Services, Hardware profits, etc.) allows you to finance and produce games that otherwise wouldn't see the light of day under most third party publishers. Even if the game has no real sales potential, it's still good to have these niche, less profitable games in order to bolster your content lineup and make your box stand out from the others. Sony recently has kind of pulled back on these types of games for the later PS4 years, and it's a bit disappointing, especially since these types of games used to be all over the PS2 and even the PS3. With the PS5, I think Sony should encourage some of their lower tier studios like PixelOpus and Japan Studio to experiment with smaller, more medium scale projects that focus on ideas rather than just set-pieces. Give them budgets bigger than an indie studio, but not as large as the ones from Sony's higher class developers like Naughty Dog or Insomniac. I want more games like Concrete Genie and Dreams, in between the AAA cinematic games.
3.) Add a bit more variety to the lineup - I said before that the "PlayStation Exclusive" formula should be kept as it's Sony's key weapon for selling systems. But that doesn't mean those are the only games that Sony should be publishing on the PS5. I'd like to see a bit more variety added to the lineup next gen, that isn't just regulated to PS VR titles. Add some RPGs, Fighting games, Arcade style games, Platformers (Bring back Jack & Daxter you bastards!), and other games.
4.) Try to revive forgoten PlayStation series - Let's be honest, each of the big three has their share of franchise graveyards in their skeleton closets. I know its not financially realistic to support every IP, but a little more effort would be nice from all of them. As for where Sony stands, they fall somewhere between Microsoft (worst) and Nintendo (best, but still far from perfect). They have a few series that lasted for more than 2 generations like GoW, Ratchet & Clank, and Gran Turismo, but there's a ton of IPs that Sony rarely supports beyond like, 3 games. Now I'm not saying you need to go on a complete reboot spree, but some love for your past would be appreciated. How about a new Ape Escape game? There's a ton of cool stuff you can do with the DualShock 5 in that game. What about Jack & Daxter? Maybe a new Ecochrome, LocoRoco, Parrappa The Rapper, Sly Cooper. Just bring back a few PlayStation series that fans really want to see return.
So that's basically what I want from Worldwide Studios next gen. Sony has done a great job with its first party lineup this gen, possibly the best its ever been. But I still think it could be even better with the PS5.