Sony’s PlayStation London Studio, the developer behind PSVR exclusive Blood & Truth, is already at work on their next VR exclusive project, Road to VR has learned. Considering the timing and scope of London Studio’s work, we expect the title will target next-gen PSVR 2 and PS5 hardware.
PlayStation London Studio has been on the leading edge of VR game development from the earliest days of PlayStation VR. The studio was responsible for the PSVR launch title PlayStation VR Worlds (2016), a collection of mini-games which remains today one of the best introductions to the possibilities of VR gaming. The studio’s latest project was the PSVR blockbuster Blood & Truth (2019) which raised the bar on storytelling, interaction, and graphics on the platform.
London Studio’s Next PSVR Title
Considering its contribution to the medium, it’s great news to hear that London Studio isn’t finish with VR just yet, in fact it may just be getting started.
While the studio hasn’t outwardly announced that a new VR exclusive title is in the works, Road to VR has come across recent job listings which confirm that studio is ramping up its team for a new VR title. All seven of the studio’s current job openings are for VR specifically, and several make it clear what’s on the docket (our bolding below):
VR – Tech: Game AI Programmer
PlayStation London Studio is looking for an experienced AI Programmer to join the Gameplay team, working on their next exclusive virtual reality title following the recent launch of Blood & Truth on PSVR.
VR – Tech: Gameplay Programmer
Working with creatives and the wider technical team, you will utilize your experience and passion for developing gameplay, realizing the creative ambition for our next VR title.
We don’t expect to hear officially about London Studio’s next VR title until the middle of 2020 at the earliest, but with the job openings describing an emphasis on “exciting combat focused gameplay,” it’s likely that the studio intends to continue with the shooter genre. Blood & Truth set forth a working formula, and its story conclusion left the door open for a new chapter; we wouldn’t be surprised to find that the next title is in fact ‘Blood & Truth 2’, but we also wouldn’t put it past London Studio to dream up something entirely new.
While PlayStation London Studio has a lengthy game development history dating all the way back to 2002, the studio has recently embraced VR as its central pillar. VR is clearly the main focus on the studio’s official website; snippets of text on the site highlighting VR development and another recent job listing make obvious the studio’s direction and ambition (again, our bolding below):
VR – Production: Production Director
Sony London Studio is leading the charge in building AAA VR games—our vision is to become the World’s Best AAA VR Games Developer—and, with our most recent release, Blood & Truth, we’ve taken a bold step forward towards this ambitious vision.
[…] You will develop and grow the competencies of the current production team towards our AAA vision. We are looking for you to join us with pushing the boundaries within the VR medium and setting the bar for the rest of the industry to follow!
London Studio’s Next VR Game Will Likely be on PSVR 2
We don’t have concrete evidence that London Studio’s next VR title is being made for PSVR 2 and PS5, but there’s a handful of clues pointing in that direction.
First, the timing. Launched in late 2016, PSVR is now more than three years old. While it’s still a leading VR platform, the hardware—both the headset and the console that powers it—is starting to clearly show its age. With London Studio focusing on AAA scope, their development timeframe for a new VR title is likely in the order of one year at a minimum, but likely closer to two years. If the studio’s next big VR title launched in late 2020 or even 2021, it would need to run on a seven year old console and a four year old VR headset.
Sony has all but confirmed that PSVR 2 hardware is in the works for PS5. As a first-party PlayStation studio, London Studio is in the ideal position to already be working on a game targeting next-gen PSVR hardware. Not only is the studio in the right place, but it already has an established history of working on PSVR launch content with PlayStation VR Worlds which shipped alongside PSVR—if anyone is getting early access to PS5 and PSVR 2 dev kits to build a launch title, it’s London Studio.
Further, more of the studio’s recent job postings allude to work on next-gen hardware and experiences (our bolding below):
VR – Design: Level/Mission Designer
PlayStation’s London Studio is looking for Mission Designers with a wide range of skills to join an experienced team of developers working on the future of VR gaming. As a 1st Party Studio our remit is to produce games which show the exciting potential of the latest PlayStation hardware.
VR – Design: Technical Game Designer
The team have already released VR Worlds and Blood & Truth and are moving on to the next big thing in VR – and we want you to join us!
Signaling PlayStation’s Commitment to VR
This isn’t just good news for fans of Blood & Truth and London Studio, it’s a clear signal that PlayStation’s commitment to VR is as strong as ever, if not stronger. Allowing an entire first-party studio to devote itself to AAA VR is no small investment, especially when that studio could just as easily be working on titles that address the much larger non-VR market.
This isn’t the only evidence that PlayStation is still gung-ho on VR either, the company is still focused on growing its library of VR content and aggressively marketing PSVR right alongside PS4 and PS4 Pro.
And while it surely wasn’t the primary reason that Sony acquired Insomniac Games—the veteran VR developer behind several Oculus exclusive titles, including Stormland (2019)—there’s a good chance that PlayStation will let the studio see what it can come up with on next-gen PSVR hardware.