• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • The Politics forum has been nuked. Please do not bring political discussion to the rest of the site, or you will be removed. Thanks.

Sony Looks To Be Replacing Japan Studio’s External Development With Its Expanding XDev Division

kyoji

Member
Jun 17, 2015
787
2,517
640
Michael Harradence / May 11, 2021



Following yesterday’s news that Sony is expanding its XDEV team to global operations, the company has now revealed that it’s hiring for producers to work on triple-A titles in Japan and Asia. From the look of things, Japan Studios’ external development is making way for XDEV as predicted.

The format holder is looking for a senior producer, producer, and technical producer. You can read a description of the role below for more details.





Work with the best independent game developers in Japan and Asia to find, evaluate, produce and launch external products (video games) for the best possible quality and success within time and budget. I will. It manages the development and approval process for these products, from initial concept determination or acquisition to final commercial mastering.
Manage the line and guide and educate the team on production methods and internal processes. Ensuring the trust and satisfaction of external development partners while developing a comprehensive and collaborative team culture and growth mindset.
Related Content – Sony PS5 Complete Guide – A Total Resource On PlayStation 5

Sony announced earlier in the year that it was restructuring its Japan Studio so that it would only be focussing on Team Asobi, who develop the Astro Bot titles. Since December 2020, a number of key staff members departed, including Silent Hill creator Keiichiro Toyama, who has since formed his own studio.





Sony XDev are highly underrated at what they do. look at some of the titles they have helped to cultivate... and well i feel this is a great move.
 

Bo_Hazem

Gold Dealer
Feb 10, 2020
16,880
78,617
965
35
Salalah, Oman
Michael Harradence / May 11, 2021



Following yesterday’s news that Sony is expanding its XDEV team to global operations, the company has now revealed that it’s hiring for producers to work on triple-A titles in Japan and Asia. From the look of things, Japan Studios’ external development is making way for XDEV as predicted.

The format holder is looking for a senior producer, producer, and technical producer. You can read a description of the role below for more details.






Related Content – Sony PS5 Complete Guide – A Total Resource On PlayStation 5

Sony announced earlier in the year that it was restructuring its Japan Studio so that it would only be focussing on Team Asobi, who develop the Astro Bot titles. Since December 2020, a number of key staff members departed, including Silent Hill creator Keiichiro Toyama, who has since formed his own studio.





Sony XDev are highly underrated at what they do. look at some of the titles they have helped to cultivate... and well i feel this is a great move.

Gonna be another great generation from Sony, they never rest on their laurels.
 

CamHostage

Member
Sep 30, 2004
6,724
1,817
1,635
Makes sense. There's great talent in Japan and a lot of demand from the PlayStation fanbase for JP titles, but I don't know how well the general SIE WWS would have been at going out looking for independent Japanese studios, especially on the smaller scale that Japan Studio tended to fill in the market (when not making AAA efforts like Last Guardian and Gravity Daze.) XDEV can be more nimble, and opening up an Asian market of XDEV (PlayStation already has the China Hero Project program specifically for finding Chinese game studios to partner with, Japan needs that kind of championing effort) is needed with the void left now that Japan Studio is not operating in its original capacity.

Japan Studio itself had been unmoored ever since PS Vita failed give it solid ground to live off of, and it's open-room studio approach was an old-school office method that is rarer and more unwieldy to operate these days, but the games Japan Studio did put out were important to maintaining the PlayStation culture. So hopefully XDEV International can make up for the loss. Probably XDEV will even sign projects from 3rd Party studios Japan Studios used to contract, like Pyramid Inc, AlfaSystem/Meteorise, Q-Games, and Shift (also on that list would be big studios like Marvelous and FromSoft, but probably WWS would go to those companies to get games like Bloodborne and Soul Sacrifice onboard.) Maybe XDEV will even fund a few of these new Japanese indies started by former Japan Studio staffers who opened up shop of their own.
 
Last edited:

CamHostage

Member
Sep 30, 2004
6,724
1,817
1,635
For those not sure what XDEV is (it's always been a confusing label to show up on PlayStation games, especially when it's a PlayStation franchise like LBP or Buzz,) the description from previous versions of the company site might help outline what its mission and methods are:

Sony XDev collaborates with independent development studios across Europe and other PAL territories* to publish great content to PlayStation platforms all over the world. Our partners include studios such as Quantic Dream, Magenta, Clever Beans, Climax, Novarama, Supermasssive Games and Sumo Digital, as well as the now Sony acquired Media Molecule, Evolution Studios and Guerrilla Games.

We help our teams make great games, offering a variety of production and publishing services to suit individual studio requirements. We've been privileged to work with some of the very best, from small newly-formed teams right through to large established studios delivering AAA titles.

Here at Sony XDev we maintain a highly dedicated and passionate production team who strive to add value to your game. As well as funding projects, we offer full production, project management and game design support. Titles are also supported with community management, online production and dedicated outsourcing management facilities. We work directly with our passionate Marketing and PR teams in all Sony territories to promote and publish your games worldwide.

We are incredibly proud of our track record of innovation and new IP generation, and together with our talented partners have won lots of awards and accolades. These include 11 BAFTA awards, Develop Industry Excellence Awards, 12 awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) plus lot's more.

(HERE'S AN EVEN OLDER DESCRIPTION...)

Within Europe and other PAL-based territories* the external development, or XDev, team manages titles from independent development studios, which are to be published by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) Europe.Based within SCE's Studio Liverpool facility, XDev has collaborated with studios such as Media Molecule, Quantic Dream, Magenta, Relentless Software, Eurocom and Sumo Digital, as well as Evolution Studios and Guerrilla Games, prior to their incorporation into the SCE Worldwide Studios (WWS) network. In recent years the XDev team have helped to create and also published numerous critically acclaimed, award-winning titles such as "Little Big Planet", the "Buzz" series, and "Heavenly Sword".

XDev's foremost criterion for forming partnerships with studios is the high quality of its games. It works with the smallest of development teams right through to teams of over 160+, newly-formed studios as well as long-established firms, and is active in 11 European countries. XDev has built up an enviable track record of innovation and new IP generation, winning three BAFTA awards for "Buzz", Develop Industry Excellence Awards for Best New IP twice with "MotorStorm" and "Buzz", and in North America, winning eight awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) with "LittleBigPlanet" and its developer Media Molecule.XDev maintains a team of dedicated high calibre production staff. As well as funding projects, it offers full game production, project management and game design support. Titles are also supported with community management, online production and dedicated outsourcing management facilities. XDev also excels at marketing its titles, which are published by SCE Europe, America and Japan's global distribution network.

So XDEV Japan/Asia would be that, but for territories outside of Europe. (Frustratingly, Japan Studio was in that position of hiring external talent as well, so it's a little weird that they had to downsize Japan Studio just to start up again with an XDEV arm, but Japan Studio was entwined with its internal productions and I don't know if just the Producer division could have been spun off somehow? Sometimes a business is forced to start from scratch even if it has something active in that space already, and Japan Studio may just not have been positioned to pivot.)
 
Last edited:

IntentionalPun

Ask me about my wife's perfect butthole
Aug 28, 2019
7,830
14,532
640
So they got rid of Japan Studios, but now rehiring in Japan. That sure makes sense.

This is about paying for 2nd party development, and XDev is the team that does the product management from the Sony side.

They obviously weren't particularly happy with those at Japan Studio who were managing external development; otherwise they'd have moved them to XDev.

People are weirdly angsty about Japan Studio.. Sony didn't get rid of people because they were doing a good job.
 
Last edited:

Metnut

Member
Jul 18, 2017
418
899
415
Have to think this will be a JRPG. Seems too late to reboot Wild ARMs or Legend of Dragoon IP. So most likely we’ll being be seeing new IP.

This looks years and years away though, so let’s check back in 2023.
 
  • Empathy
Reactions: CamHostage

TheAssist

Member
Jul 17, 2013
896
1,038
715
Wait, hol' up. You are telling me that all the rational people, who said that Japan studio was mostly a production company at this point and that Sony is probably restructuring their approach to a more world wide setting, while leaving the development core of JS, which at this point mainly consisted of Asobi, were actually right???

And all the people saying Sony is leaving japan and doesnt care about the japanese market (a market that isnt that much focused on console games to begin with) were over exaggerating?

I can not and will not accept that, Jim Ryan has to go!

So basically Japan Studio and XDev were overlapping in what they are doing, just in different territories. Sony did what most companies do at some point, they stream lined and cut overlaps. Many people have called that. Even long before the Japan studio restructuring.

Sigh. I cant even get excited about being "right" with all this nonsense and agitation going around on all sides.
 

CamHostage

Member
Sep 30, 2004
6,724
1,817
1,635
They obviously weren't particularly happy with those at Japan Studio who were managing external development; otherwise they'd have moved them to XDev.

People are weirdly angsty about Japan Studio..

I don't know if "weirdly angsty" is fair? That was a huge blow, closing the legacy studio of PlayStation and eliminating that creative outlet. (Even though, if you actually look at the games, particularly if you subtract the games contracted out to external studios, there's not much that the average gamer actually owned from Japan Studio...) It probably had to be done (and it would have been nice if XDEV could have been an option before the Producer department was downsized, so there would have at least been Asobi and XDEV surviving the Japan Studio fallout,) but it was heartbreaking for fans and the timing particularly sucked given some of the other news surrounding PlayStation at the time.

And while internal development closure for Japan Studio made a lot of sense, external development was usually strong. Bloodborne, Hot Shots, Soul Sacrifice, Freedom Wars, Patapon, Jeanne d'Arc, all that stuff enjoyed worldwide exposure for PlayStation's Japan operations. They were not dong their best work on PS4 (they contracted for some of the games mentioned plus Deracine, Tomorrow Children, No Heroes Allowed VR, the remasters of Parappa and Patapon and LocoRoco, Shadow of the Colossus remake, not a lot else in that gen,) but Bloodborne alone was a major get, and the Bluepoint relationship keeps paying off even though they're not in any way a Japanese developer.

Technically, Japan Studio actually was responsible for two games in the PS5 launch (Astro's Playroom by Asobi and Demon's Souls by Bluepoint), whereas all other PlayStation divisions provided just one game at best (unless you count 2 for Insomniac doing both Spiderman Miles and Remastered,) so even though Japan Studio was not in good shape, they have been important to launching all five PlayStations and both portables.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Bo_Hazem

TheAssist

Member
Jul 17, 2013
896
1,038
715
Have to think this will be a JRPG. Seems too late to reboot Wild ARMs or Legend of Dragoon IP. So most likely we’ll being be seeing new IP.

This looks years and years away though, so let’s check back in 2023.
I'm not quite sure if you understood what they are doing. They are not a development studio. They are a production house. They help other studios bring their games to playstation by offering money, infrastructure, team management and design input, as well as marketing and publishing support.

This is not about one single game, but rather lending a hand to every japanese (or international) dev willing to make a game for the playstation platform. Basically they are "acquiring" 2nd party studios.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Metnut

Metnut

Member
Jul 18, 2017
418
899
415
I'm not quite sure if you understood what they are doing. They are not a development studio. They are a production house. They help other studios bring their games to playstation by offering money, infrastructure, team management and design input, as well as marketing and publishing support.

This is not about one single game, but rather lending a hand to every japanese (or international) dev willing to make a game for the playstation platform. Basically they are "acquiring" 2nd party studios.

Interesting stuff. Thanks for the clarification.
 

IntentionalPun

Ask me about my wife's perfect butthole
Aug 28, 2019
7,830
14,532
640
I don't know if "weirdly angsty" is fair? That was a huge blow, closing the legacy studio of PlayStation and eliminating that creative outlet. (Even though, if you actually look at the games, particularly if you subtract the games contracted out to external studios, there's not much that the average gamer actually owned from Japan Studio...) It probably had to be done (and it would have been nice if XDEV could have been an option before the Producer department was downsized, so there would have at least been Asobi and XDEV surviving the Japan Studio fallout,) but it was heartbreaking for fans and the timing particularly sucked given some of the other news surrounding PlayStation at the time.
Team ICO had left years before.. Team Gravity was gone too...

Maybe not "weirdly angsty" but kind of ignorant of what was actually left of Japan Studio?

The talent that was left was mostly Team Asobi, and that talent is still there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NikuNashi

kyoji

Member
Jun 17, 2015
787
2,517
640
So they got rid of Japan Studios, but now rehiring in Japan. That sure makes sense.

Japan studios (the newly reformed asobi) can now strictly focus on internal development projects and less on collabs, Japan studios was never closing the balance of duties just changed.

I think this will help asobi a ton going forward as XDEV will pick up asia territories as well essientially freeing up japan studio (asobi) to be much more efficient over time while still allowing for new growth.

XDEV have a certain knack for finding gems, The really cool thing about this is it rebutles the playstation solely chasing huge blockbuster games narratives, Most of the games they are involved with are pretty unique experiences.
 
Last edited:

CamHostage

Member
Sep 30, 2004
6,724
1,817
1,635
Team ICO had left years before.. Team Gravity was gone too...

Maybe not "weirdly angsty" but kind of ignorant of what was actually left of Japan Studio?

The talent that was left was mostly Team Asobi, and that talent is still there.

There was always hope for Japan Studio. You always prayed they'd come back and have something amazing or fascinating to check out... somehow, if Level-5 came back to work with them, or something like that.

Internal development was woeful to put your faith in, though. Lots of people liked Gravity Daze (I'm not a fan, but more power to them,) but that and Astro Bot were about the only bright spots. Knack was a debacle, twice, and the RaySpace project was half a decade of troubled waters that we still don't know enough about to know if it was a loss. Maybe RaySpace would have been great? Maybe it died for a reason, and took the studio with it? We don't know. The Silent Hill partnership rumors were exciting, but that too had nothing solid to trust in; it may have never even existed. otherwise, if you loved Japanese PlayStation games, you were rarely looking to Sony to bring them.

External producer talent, though, I think it was strong, and like I said, I wish those staffers could have folded into XDEV with renewed purpose before the staff cuts. Them finding all these cool studios to make PSP and Vita games in particular made the portables much more than just the "PlayStation PORTable" hand-me-down platforms they often got labeled as. Japan Studio did not bring as many cool developers to PS4 (I'm not sure if that was increasing budgets or Sony WWS lack of interest in smaller titles or what drove the numbers down,) but I'm hopeful the new XDEV picks up the mantle (without the legacy baggage.)
 
Last edited:

Rhazer Fusion

Member
May 2, 2006
11,141
2,437
1,660
In my own world.
m.youtube.com
But the internet told me Jim Ryan is closing all Japanese development.

This is one of the reasons he needs to be replaced.

Jim Ryan redeemed.
This is a start, but I wouldn’t mind if they picked up even more Japanese studios for their platform. They have plenty of Western studios, so I hope they build up their Japanese studio’s output as well going forward.
 

Papacheeks

Member
Jan 30, 2013
7,176
2,821
775
Watertown, NY
because X gon give it to ya

Knock, Knock open up the door is Real!!!!!

This is a start, but I wouldn’t mind if they picked up even more Japanese studios for their platform. They have plenty of Western studios, so I hope they build up their Japanese studio’s output as well going forward.

XDEV is part of their Global operations. Meaning deals, and signing of talent, and funding games from external studios they dont own will be even bigger now. It's a smart way of doing business. They can cultivate talent by signing deals and funding games without needing to have all the costs of owning a ton of Japan studios that may not all be working on projects.
 
Last edited:

Dabaus

Member
Apr 23, 2018
1,859
4,023
475
If sony really wanted to forge partnerships in Japan they should collaborate with Publishers to create a New AAA IP where sony is the publisher. Kind of like what MS did in the 360 era where Square enix developed infinite Undiscovery but MS published.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rhazer Fusion

IntentionalPun

Ask me about my wife's perfect butthole
Aug 28, 2019
7,830
14,532
640
There was always hope for Japan Studio. You always prayed they'd come back and have something amazing or fascinating to check out... somehow, Level-5 came back to work with them, or something like that.

Internal development was woeful to put your faith in, though. Lots of people liked Gravity Daze (I'm not a fan, but more power to them,) but that and Astro Bot were about the only bright spots. Knack was a debacle, twice, and the RaySpace project was half a decade of troubled waters that we still don't know enough about to know if it was a loss. The Silent Hill partnership rumors were exciting, but otherwise, if you loved Japanese PlayStation games, you were rarely looking to Sony to bring them.

External producer talent, though, I think it was strong, and like I said, I wish those staffers could have folded into XDEV with renewed purpose before the staff cuts. Them finding all these cool studios to make PSP and Vita games in particular made the portables much more than just the "PlayStation PORTable" hand-me-down platforms they often got labeled as. Japan Studio did not bring as many cool developers to PS4 (I'm not sure if that was increasing budgets or Sony WWS lack of interest in smaller titles or what drove the numbers down,) but I'm hopeful the new XDEV picks up the mantle (without the legacy baggage.)

But again.. team behind "Gravity" games left last year.. much like the team ICO had years earlier... the actual dev talent was gone long ago; other than that, it's just a studio with a name.

They had one major producer that we know of get let go.. but we don't know why.. how do we know he was actually a strong producer? I just don't see Sony letting a producer with so much experience go for no reason.
 

El Pistolero

Member
May 21, 2020
542
851
295
I thought it was understood by now that they have gotten rid of their small internal teams, which, let's be honest, did not light the world on fire for close to a decade, in favour of nurturing partnerships with other Japanese studios ala Bloodborne.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: b6a6es

SilentUser

Member
Jun 7, 2020
648
836
375
I wish they would make a Tactics game like FFT.
Yes, please. I love tactics games like FFT and Tactics Ogre! Too bad it won't happen, imo :(

Also, good to see XDEV also looking for asian studios, specially japanese ones. I have a soft spot for quirky japanese games like Gravity Rush, so this could bring some interesting games, hopefully. Perhaps they will fund new IPs with Bokeh Studios, though some might say it wouldn't make much sense, but we still don't really know what happened to Japan Studios last gen.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dr. Kitty Muffins

SSfox

Member
Jan 7, 2018
2,713
10,514
540
Wait i don't get it, is this Xdev the Astro studio, or is it a brand new studio with Japanese devs that Sony is building. If it's the least then good, Sony are definitely lacking some inhouse japanse studios. First is good too but Astro Studio and Podi are not enough, i would like Sony to own at least 3 japanese studios outside of the ones they own now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bo_Hazem

yurinka

Member
Jan 19, 2007
12,856
4,175
1,685
Barcelona, Spain
www.capcom-town.es
Why does it has to start with an X?
Maybe because on PlayStation you start to play pressing X.

Wait i don't get it, is this Xdev the Astro studio, or is it a brand new studio with Japanese devs that Sony is building. If it's the least then good, Sony are definitely lacking some inhouse japanse studios. First is good too but Astro Studio and Podi are not enough, i would like Sony to own at least 3 japanese studios outside of the ones they own now.
The Astro studio is Japan Studio, which had different internal 1st party game development teams. The studio now will be focused around Team Asobi, their internal team that made Astro. The other internal 1st party development teams have been downsized.

Regarding 2nd party publishing, Japan Studio had a division to handle Japanese games, Sony Santa Monica had a division of American games and XDEV for Euope. But XDEV but also worked with 1st party games. Seems now they will handle global 2nd party operations from XDEV, so Sony Santa Monica and Japan Studio will focus on developing internal 1st party games.

It doesn't mean they will stop developing 2nd party games from Japan or USA. It means that now 2nd party publishing (+ localization etc) will be handled by the same team that handle 1st party publishing.


Makes sense. There's great talent in Japan and a lot of demand from the PlayStation fanbase for JP titles, but I don't know how well the general SIE WWS would have been at going out looking for independent Japanese studios, especially on the smaller scale that Japan Studio tended to fill in the market (when not making AAA efforts like Last Guardian and Gravity Daze.) XDEV can be more nimble, and opening up an Asian market of XDEV (PlayStation already has the China Hero Project program specifically for finding Chinese game studios to partner with, Japan needs that kind of championing effort) is needed with the void left now that Japan Studio is not operating in its original capacity.

Japan Studio itself had been unmoored ever since PS Vita failed give it solid ground to live off of, and it's open-room studio approach was an old-school office method that is rarer and more unwieldy to operate these days, but the games Japan Studio did put out were important to maintaining the PlayStation culture. So hopefully XDEV International can make up for the loss. Probably XDEV will even sign projects from 3rd Party studios Japan Studios used to contract, like Pyramid Inc, AlfaSystem/Meteorise, Q-Games, and Shift (also on that list would be big studios like Marvelous and FromSoft, but probably WWS would go to those companies to get games like Bloodborne and Soul Sacrifice onboard.) Maybe XDEV will even fund a few of these new Japanese indies started by former Japan Studio staffers who opened up shop of their own.
XDEV mostly handled the European 2nd party games. These are the Sony guys who handled the Quantic Dreams games, the Housemarque games (like Returnal), LBP before Sony bought Media Molecule and once other external teams developed it instead of MM (like the recent Sackboy game). On top of that, they also support with outsourcing 1st party teams like Media Molecule or Guerrilla.

In the past Santa Monica handled 2nd party American games (Journey, Sound Shapes, Fat Princess) , and Japan Studio handled the 2nd party Japanese games (the ones by From Software, Clap Hanz, Q-Games, Pyramid...).

Japan Studio and Santa Monica weren't as successful as XDEV were with 2nd party games, so Sony moved all their 2nd party stuff to XDEV, and now Santa Monica and Japan Studio will now focus on developing their own internal 1st party games. In the case of Japan Studio, they now will focus on Team Asobi, one of the internal teams they had.

When a 1st party publishes a game developed by a 3rd party studio (which means, not owned by Sony), it's a 2nd party game. It's different than a 3rd party game, which is when it's both developed and published by 3rd party companies. Japan Studio and XDEV worked on 2nd party games, not 3rd party games.

They will continue publishing 2nd party games developed by Japanese 3rd party studios, and some of them obviously can be From Software, Clap Hanz, Pyramid and so on, but now from XDEV instead of from Japan Studio.

Very likely this movement will mean that 2nd party games from America and Japan will now perform better on sales and very likely the average quality will improve too.

Who's the good guy?
I'd say the one who frequently delivers GOTYs winners and GOTY candidates, not the one who mostly promises games for the future.
 
Last edited:
Jan 16, 2020
5,382
20,338
855
Wait i don't get it, is this Xdev the Astro studio, or is it a brand new studio with Japanese devs that Sony is building. If it's the least then good, Sony are definitely lacking some inhouse japanse studios. First is good too but Astro Studio and Podi are not enough, i would like Sony to own at least 3 japanese studios outside of the ones they own now.

xDev has been around since PS2 days. They're the EU equivalent of Japan Studios external development team

They're just being expanded to work with developers in Japan and other parts of asia the same way Japan Studios used to
 
Last edited:

CamHostage

Member
Sep 30, 2004
6,724
1,817
1,635
Wait i don't get it, is this Xdev the Astro studio, or is it a brand new studio with Japanese devs that Sony is building. If it's the least then good, Sony are definitely lacking some inhouse japanse studios. First is good too but Astro Studio and Podi are not enough, i would like Sony to own at least 3 japanese studios outside of the ones they own now.
XDEV doesn't make games. They produce games.

XDEV is basically guys in suits. They go out and find the fun guys in business casual who make videogames, ask them what they want to make, decide if the project is good and how much money it would take to make it, offer them some money, then sit on their asses as they go through each milestone, finally they arrange for marketing and publicity for the rollout of the product. It's essentially a Producer Office.

There is more artistry and incubation to XDEV than all that (if it was just the money, Sony could dole out the appropriate cash itself,) but producing is the less-fun side of game making and somebody has got to do it. XDEV is generally the group of managers who found and collaborated to make the games in Europe (and according to yurinka yurinka also games in North America) not made by studios Sony owns. It's kind of what the management side of Japan Studio already did, but this is a fresh start even though from the outside the only thing that changes is the logo on the back of the box.

So now, Asobi Studios is inside Sony, and they will make their games, and then XDEV would establish a Japanese branch and they would facilitate projects like a new Bloodborne by FromSoft or the first Bokeh Studio project or a Jumping Flash revival by ex-Exact guys or a Jeanne D'arc remaster by Level-5 or a Legend of Dragoon reboot by some team founded around pulling Yasuyuki Hasebe out of retirement or any number of things I could dream up that will never, ever happen...
 
Last edited:

CamHostage

Member
Sep 30, 2004
6,724
1,817
1,635
In the past Santa Monica handled 2nd party American games (Journey, Sound Shapes, Fat Princess) , and Japan Studio handled the 2nd party Japanese games (the ones by From Software, Clap Hanz, Q-Games, Pyramid...).

Japan Studio and Santa Monica weren't as successful as XDEV were with 2nd party games, so Sony moved all their 2nd party stuff to XDEV, and now Santa Monica and Japan Studio will now focus on developing their own internal 1st party games.

Right, I think I may have mixed up my words in a place or two, but we're on the same page. It's External Development Studio Europe, the producer's house where they work those 2nd party game partnerships with outside studios developing for Sony.

(Though a little tidbit: "2nd Party" is convenient when we talk about products but I believe it's generally not used by the business. Gio Corsi was the "2nd Party" guy at Sony, for instance, but his title was Director, Third Party Production for SCEA. They usually just say 1st / 3rd.)

Interesting you mention that all 2nd party was moved to XDEV though... is that correct? I for sure noticed Santa Monica shying away from project incubation (their last partner game project was What Remains of Edith Finch in 2017, and they were already way short of what they used to put out from the PS3 days when they had the Fat Princess team and all those ThatGameCompany projects and all the little stuff they produced,) but didn't know that arm actually dropped. Kind of sad, but that was never Santa Monica's strong suit. (And I'm not sure why the Foster City offices seem to not have any producers left anymore, but there's enough business going on at that building anyway.)

That said, though, are you sure is XDEV really the 2nd party hub for everything? Predator Hunting Grounds I don't think mentions XDEV, Iron Man VR also doesn't list XDEV, just Sony WWS (which, whatever) but also "Sony Interactive Entertainment: Global Second Party Games" ... so I guess I'm wrong that companies don't use "Second Party" , because that's formerly Corsi's group.) Sackboy has the XDEV branding but that's by Sumo in Europe so that made sense to me to be managed by XDEV, and then Demon's Souls I don't believe has an XDEV mark.

It would make sense for XDEV to just be name of the external companion to WWS' internal production group (it would also make sense to rename XDEV if they're going to go global, since that "X" reminds me of the other guy...) but are you sure that transition actually fully happened?

Regarding 2nd party publishing, Japan Studio had a division to handle Japanese games, Sony Santa Monica had a division of American games and XDEV for Euope. But XDEV but also worked with 1st party games. Seems now they will handle global 2nd party operations from XDEV, so Sony Santa Monica and Japan Studio will focus on developing internal 1st party games.

I don't know if that was the case that XDEV actually "worked on" any 1st party games, per se? Which titles are you thinking of there? XDEV worked on titles like LBP that helped bring the studio into the Sony family, so they bridged the time between external and internal, then they kept some rights or responsibilities in relationships with those studios even though they reported to SCE Europe or SCE WWS or whatever was the case.

(So, like, doing another credits deep-dive: XDEV gets a full credit on LBP1, then kind of a cursory staff mention in LBP2, I don't see anything in LBP PSP, and then of course LBP 3 and Vita are full XDEV projects again since they're new external studios involved. Similarly, Motorstorm was XDEV in 2006 and then Sony bought them in 2007; Killzone was 2004 and then Sony bought them in 2005 BUT the PSP game Killzone Liberation was 2006 and I think has an XDEV credit to it?)

...This is all very in-the-weeds details, but there aren't many chances to talk about or learn something new about XDEV.

Very likely this movement will mean that 2nd party games from America and Japan will now perform better on sales and very likely the average quality will improve too.

Well, that would be nice, but... it'd be something if big-papa Sony actually threw a big party for its quieter Japanese games all around the world now that it's not just the kooky Japan Studio producing them, but XDEV isn't a hitsmaker factory either. Big Fest and The Inpatient and Matterfall weren't exactly given 5-star accommodations. Even Sackboy Big Adventure was under-represented despite being a key PS5 (and PS4) title. There's only so much love to go around...
 
Last edited:

CamHostage

Member
Sep 30, 2004
6,724
1,817
1,635
I thought this was already known from when the first announcement was made?

This is more a hint of how the formalities of it will be done. And a note of commencement that this XDEV arm is staffing up. It's also a little confirmation that it wasn't just lip-service that Japanese game makers will still have a place to shop their ideas without Japan Studio (which some people genuinely doubted, what with some of the news surrounding Sony at the time.)

Not world-breaking news, but good news of things moving forward, at least.