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Sony Reportedly Investing in External Tokyo Development Group

Head of PlayStation Studios Hermen Hulst has shed some light on Sony's continuing investment in Japanese games and development.
Head of PlayStation Studios Hermen Hulst has shed some light on Sony's continuing investment in Japanese games and development. / PHILIP FONG/Getty Images

Sony Interactive Entertainment is investing in their external development group based out of Tokyo, according to a Game Informer interview with PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst.

Despite previous moves that would suggest otherwise, Hulst's recent comments perhaps reaffirm that Japanese games and their development remain core to Sony's identity.

“I will say that we are in some ways very much a Japanese company still,” Hulst told Game Informer. “That’s our heritage. That’s still part of who we are. We love our Japanese games.

"We are investing in our external development group out of Tokyo as well, and that’s a team that has obviously worked with the likes of From Software and Kojima Productions. So we are very invested in Japanese development and Japanese development is something that we love.

"I think it’s such a core part of the PlayStation identity that I can’t ever see us shy away from Japanese or even Asian development.”

Hulst also reportedly described the reasoning behind Sony's Japan Studio being downsized on April 1, a move in which the vast majority of the development staff's annual contracts were not renewed. Japan Studio, known for PlayStation titles such as Ape Escape, The Last Guardian, Gravity Rush, and Knack, have since been re-centered around Team Asobi, the developer of Astro’s Playroom.

"We’re building out Team Asobi under Nicolas Doucet, so we’re actually investing in that team. People forget sometimes that we have Polyphony Digital, which is a team in two locations."

Hulst did not address the many Japan Studio employees who were not moved to Team Asobi or other Sony studios.

Back in May, Hulst revealed that there were 25 next-gen PlayStation Studios titles in development, with over half being new IP. He elaborated on that point as well to Game Informer.

“I want us to develop a wide variety of games. We’re a truly global organization, developing [games] in Japan, Europe, and America. I want the games to be both bigger and smaller and in different genres.”