After months of speculation, it’s finally official: Sony is acquiring Demon’s Souls developer Bluepoint Games.
News of Bluepoint’s addition to the PlayStation Studios roster shouldn’t surprise many. The Austin-based studio turned heads with 2018’s Shadow of the Colossus remake before tackling its redux of FromSoftware’s Demon’s for the PS5. It has been a longtime independent collaborator with Sony, remastering critical favorites like Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid, and Gravity Rush, and it has almost exclusively worked with PlayStation-branded properties. (Other than Metal Gear, Bluepoint’s only other third-party project was its 2014 port of Titanfall for the Xbox 360.)
A long history with Sony
Rumors that Sony would be buying the developer date back to the company’s acquisition of Returnal developer Housemarque in June. That’s when the PlayStation Japan Twitter account accidentally tweeted out a PlayStation Studios splash image that included key art from both Returnal and Demon’s Souls alongside other established Sony games. Naturally, the tweet was quickly deleted, but not before the image was saved.
Given their long history together, making Bluepoint’s relationship to PlayStation official was a natural choice, PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst said in an interview with IGN.
“Bluepoint is now in a place where there’s hardly an entity imaginable that knows PlayStation better than they do, because they’ve worked with so many different teams on their respective, iconic franchises that they’ve had a developer insight in a wonderful way,” Hulst told the outlet.
Though Bluepoint has until now been recognized for its remasters and more recent remakes—with rumors that kicked up after Demon’s Souls launched in November even pointing to Bluepoint potentially working on a Metal Gear Solid remake—President Marco Thrush revealed in the same interview the studio’s next project will actually be an original game.
“Our next project, we’re working on original content right now. We can’t talk about what that is, but that’s the next step in the evolution for us,” Thrush told IGN.
As a former member of the Metroid Prime team at Retro Studios, Thrush knows how to breathe new life into a beloved series. He started Bluepoint with co-founder Andy O’Neil in 2006, and the company soon made a name of itself as a technical powerhouse known for producing industry-standard remasters over establishing brand-new, hit properties.
Acquisitions, acquisitions, acquisitions
Compared to PlayStation, Xbox is playing with a different handbook when it comes to adding new studios. Microsoft has bought up a number of developers over the past few years, including Psychonauts 2‘s Double Fine Productions and, most significantly, the entire slate of Bethesda studios, including Doom‘s id Software and Wolfenstein‘s MachineGames, under its parent company, ZeniMax Media.
But unlike PlayStation, almost all of Xbox’s first-party games debut on its platform-agnostic Xbox Game Pass service, which players can access on-demand from Xbox hardware, PCs, tablets, and phones (with its Azure-powered cloud gaming infrastructure planned to add even more devices in the future). Sony has preferred, for the most part, to keep its first-party exclusives firmly locked to PlayStation consoles, though it has recently started to thaw to the idea of porting some of its hit titles to PC.
Bluepoint is the fourth studio brought into Sony’s first-party fold this year. It follows Housemarque, PC-port specialists Nixxes, and the UK-based developer Firesprite (makers of the former PSVR-exclusive sci-fi horror game, The Persistence). Between Bluepoint developing its own title and the upcoming Uncharted Legacy of Thieves PC port not being handled by Nixxes (but instead by former PlayStation VP Adam Boyes’ studio, Iron Galaxy), it’s possible Sony could be quietly encouraging its developers to prioritize more original ideas moving forward…