Awesome, exciting, incredible, amazing: Interviews with the top staff at large blockbuster studios are almost always a must A playground of superlatives, concrete statements, however, are more the exception.
So what should we expect from a conversation in which Hermen Hulst, the head of PlayStation Studios, sits virtually across from us, together with the executives of the newly founded Deviation Games?
Dave Anthony and Jason Blundell had previously worked in management positions at Treyarch on Call of Duty for over 15 years and have accordingly also washed up with all the PR clichés.
Hermen Hulst has been Head of PlayStation Studios since 2019 and in this role is responsible for all first-party productions of the console manufacturer. Previously, Hulst was the co-founder and managing director of Guerilla Games, the makers of Killzone and Horizon.
And yes, in the interview a lot was actually said and praised without really saying anything. On the other hand, one or the other interesting thing could be filtered out between the lines, which we summarize for you below.
Deviation is not “just any studio” for Sony
If someone like Hermen Hulst takes the time to communicate the partnership with a new studio without a presentable game, then that alone is an enormous appreciation, but also an enormously high demand on Deviation Games:
“For PlayStation Studios I am always looking for the best talents in the industry who are courageous and autonomous in pursuing their vision. And this team brings everything with their skills and experience.”
Accordingly, there is no reason to wait to announce the partnership until you have a presentable game. Last year we discussed with Europe developers where the particular challenges of next-gen development lie for studios:
Developer talk: “The smallest generation leap since there were consoles.”
Dave and Jason from Deviation Games, on the other hand, emphasize how much they appreciate the transparency of Sony and that they can be creative in a “fearless” environment.
Between the lines: Sony is convinced that with Deviation Games they have landed a similar caliber as Guerrilla Games at the time, of which Hermen Hulst was until a year ago. And Sony will invest millions while at the same time expecting that the first title will deliver accordingly.
Deviation is supposed to deliver innovative PS5 blockbusters
As expected, our interlocutors do not want to reveal anything concrete about the new title, but they are not afraid to awaken the very high expectations. This is how CEO Dave Anthony promises:
“Our game will be gigantic. It will be a title that people can play for years and that provides good reasons for it. The goal is that we not only inspire the players themselves for our title, but also their circle of friends … and the Circle of Friends of the Circle of Friends. “
Dave Anthony is CEO of Deviation Games and was the responsible Game Director at Treyarch for Call of Duty Black Ops 1 & 2, which are still some of the best-selling PlayStation titles to this day.
In conversation, both Dave and Jason emphasize again and again that they made a conscious decision to use the title Deviation Games and that they call themselves “deviators” in the team.
Among the five company offers at the official website consequently there are also sentences such as “Challenges conjectures!” or “Shifts boundaries”.
Hermen Hulst confirms that work is being carried out on “quite brave ideas” and that Deviation would also be encouraged to do so.
Jason Blundell was at Treyarch for 15 years in a responsible position involved in Call of Duty: Black Ops. He made a name for himself above all as the game director of the zombie mode.
Aside from such generalities, it is at least noteworthy that Deviation Games already has over 100 developers working – over half of them in the technical field, which only applies to a few studios. And Dave Anthony emphasizes that you still need “significantly more” employees.
As expected, our interlocutors did not want to reveal anything about the technologies and platforms used for their first game, but unsurprisingly they emphasized how much power the PlayStation 5 has and that it would give them completely new opportunities to implement their vision – not just technically, but ahead especially playful.
Between the lines: Deviation Games wants to attack the top shelf, where studios like Insomniac Games (Spider-Man), SIE Santa Monica (God of War) or Naughty Dog (Uncharted, The Last of Us) sit. And Sony trusts them to achieve this and will provide all the necessary means to achieve this.
Announcing a studio without a game and offering the top development manager as a conversation partner on this occasion, I’ve rarely seen games journalism in my 20 years.
It was to be expected that the information content of the interview would be low, but I would have liked a little more substance beyond the “Everything is awesome” attitude.
Basically, the partnership between Deviation and Sony is a statement that should not be underestimated. The goals for the first game may sound like megalomaniacs, on the other hand, Sony wants to stand out from Microsoft’s subscription strategy with precisely this quality claim. According to the motto: »Microsoft likes to offer more games for less money. But only with us do you get the really best titles. ”
Time has yet to tell whether Deviation Games can live up to this claim. I definitely believe Jason Blundell and Dave Anthony that their self-confidence is not just a play and I am looking forward to their first Sony project.