Why PlayStation London Studio is leaving VR to create a fantasy online combat game

Why PlayStation London Studio is leaving VR to create a fantasy online combat game

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PlayStation’s London Studio has always been one of Sony’s most experimental teams

From SingStar to EyeToy, Wonderbook to PlayStation Home, and most recently VR, London Studio has a reputation for working with and often defining new technologies.

Not all those projects succeeded, but the ones that did would go on to inspire the entire industry.

Today, London Studio has announced its next game: a currently untitled online co-op combat game set in a fantasy London. There’s no plastic microphone or VR headset in sight. It’s certainly unique for the company, but it’s hardly the leap into the unknown that it is famous for.

“We are proud of the history and innovation that we’ve done over the years, supporting all sorts of PlayStation technology, whether that’s VR, or AR, or microphones, or whatever,” says co-studio head Stuart Whyte.

“With this project, we really wanted to explore some new avenues and set ourselves some new challenges. We definitely wanted to try something a little bit different, and I think this new project really channels our ‘brave’ value and allows us to push ourselves on the ‘curious’ front, too. It’s an exciting future, it really is.”

Whyte is referencing the developer’s key values of ‘brave’, ‘team-spirited’, ’empowered’, ‘inclusivity’, ‘curious’ and ‘balance’. They’re values that are not a million miles from the ones that Team Asobi – a PlayStation developer led by former London Studio alumni Nicolas Doucet – told us about in August. One of Asobi’s values was ‘innovation’, which is a word that could have previously been associated with London Studio. And Whyte insists that innovation remains in the DNA of the team.

“Even though we’re not working on something that uses peripherals, it is still about taking that DNA and putting it into our new game.”

Tara Saunders, London Studio

“Innovation is always going to be at the heart of what we do. If you look at our heritage and the titles we’ve done, there are a lot of firsts in there. And that will continue.”

Co-studio head Tara Saunders adds: “What’s great about that heritage is the problem-solving aspect. We have taken different technologies and looked at how we shift the games industry and come up with concepts that haven’t been done before. That heritage means the team is comfortable throwing themselves outside of their comfort zone.

“Even though we’re not working on something that uses all different bits of peripherals, it is still about taking that DNA of innovation and putting it into any game concept.”

The game in question is this title that’s been teased today, which Saunders says is being built specifically for PlayStation 5.

“It is our most ambitious game to-date,” Saunders says. “We’re going to take all of that innovation DNA and apply that into this online co-op combat game.

“[In our concept art] you’re seeing a take on a modern fantasy London. Our overarching theme is about bringing fantastical and magical elements and intersecting that with familiar worlds, and you don’t get much more familiar to us than London.”

Whyte adds: “The game idea came out of an ideation process that we embarked on with the entire team. We created a high-level briefing document, but with a lot of latitude and scope within that. And the team came up with loads and loads of ideas. We got the inspiration on the process by talking to our colleagues at Guerrilla Games. We were fascinated about how they went from Killzone to Horizon: Zero Dawn, and this was the exact process they went through.

“So the team came up with a load of ideas over a period of months, and we refined the

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