PlayStation has been working incredibly hard in the indie space over the last few years to address some concerns held by developers about the support from the console manufacturer in bringing their games to the platform, as well as the concerns by fans that they were missing out on indie gems to Xbox or Nintendo. Since the former head of PlayStation Studios, Shuhei Yoshida has transitioned over to the role of Head of Indies, things have begun to turn for the company, and he recently sat down to talk to MCV UK to discuss the long term plans, and even a more imminent, five year plan for PlayStation’s work with independent developers.
When asked specifically about his long term plans for his work in the independent scene, Yoshida replied, saying
I’d like to see more exciting games come out on PlayStation and become successful every year, and that more fans of PlayStation find the fun of playing indie games. I believe that’s been happening. We put Stray, an indie game, in the PlayStation 5 showcase along with AAA games and people reacted strongly. I’d like to see more and more of these success stories happening on Sony PlayStation.
I’d also like to meet new developers coming from different parts of the world or from different backgrounds that have come up with new exciting concepts, and put those games on our consoles. So we are trying to make it easier and more streamlined for them to use our tools and systems to develop games and publish games. We want to see more indie games be more successful on PlayStation and have a larger number of fans of PlayStation finding those great games.
Many of the independent games that we’ve seen on PlayStation in recent years, from Stray, to Kena: Bridge Of Spirits, and Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, are blurring the lines between what we traditionally consider to be an independent game, and AAA. When asked at what point an indie studio stops being an indie studio, Yoshida said,
When Fall Guys launched, it was an indie game, published by Devolver, the indie publisher. But as the game became successful, Mediatonic was acquired by Epic. Epic is a huge company, and it poured a lot more resources into Fall Guys, and Fall Guys got much bigger. So Fall Guys is probably not an indie game anymore. So that’s the line. Fall Guys at launch – indie game – Fall Guys today – not an indie game.
It seems that a major part of PlayStation’s plans might be to help guide independent developers who have the goal of creating games with AAA qualities, towards that side of the development spectrum. PlayStation has been known to nurture relationships with developers through exclusivity before acquiring them, and though this didn’t transpire with Fall Guys developer Mediatonic, it could in the future with the likes of both Stray‘s and Kena‘s development teams, as well as others in the future. It will be interesting to see where this all leads.