2019 was a transitionary year for the industry at large, with the two largest game companies spending most of their efforts gearing up for the new generation of consoles launching in 2020. As a result, the coming year promises to be a much more interesting one than the last. Of particular interest are the projects that Sony’s small army of first-party has planned for the swan song of the PS4 and the launch of the PS5. There are big releases already mapped out for early in the year (games like Ghost of Tsushima and The Last of Us Part 2), along with a host secret and rumored projects.
Previous Releases: Not all studios get off to an auspicious start. Bend Studios’ first game, Bubsy 3D, is widely considered one of the worst games of all time. Indeed it’s such a universally despised piece of shit that it’s a miracle that the studio managed to survive at all. Still, Bend Studios improved rapidly and their next games, the Syphon Filter series, show tremendous improvement in their earlier work. The Syphon Filter games gained a reputation as stealth games for players who didn’t have the patience for Metal Gear Solid (one shudders to think how many of them would handle Thief: the Dark Project). More recently they have released the open-world zombie survival horror game Days Gone to middling critical reception and vast commercial success.
Next Titles: Currently, the studio is still working on updates, bug-fixes, and DLC expansions for Days Gone. Given the game’s substantial commercial success, it’s likely that Bend Studios will continue to milk it for as long as possible, while they spin up a sequel. As of yet nothing in that department has been announced. Most likely though the studios’ next title will be a direct sequel to Days Gone.
Previous Releases: Guerrilla Games made a name for themselves with the Killzone series, an FPS that served as Sony’s exclusive answer to Microsoft’s Halo. In more recent years they have shifted focus to open-world RPGs in the form of Horizon: Zero Dawn and it’s substantial expansion Horizon: Zero Dawn – The Frozen Wilds.
Next Titles: Given the success of Horizon: Zero Dawn (it sold ten million copies in the past two years) it seems reasonable to expect a sequel. As of yet, there has been no official announcement, but the success of the previous title makes it all but a guarantee that a sequel will eventually drop. Killzone 4 seems much less likely given the length of time since a Killzone title, and series’ relative obscurity. I’m sure that some fans of the Killzone series will be disappointed, though personally, I have never grasped their particular charm. There has hardly been a shortage of sci-fi first-person shooters in the last few years. Indeed, any new entry in the Killzone series will have to compete with Doom Eternal and Halo: Infinite.
Previous Releases: Insomniac first achieved prominence with their Spyro The Dragon series of games on the PS1, following up with Ratchet & Clank on PS2. As a result, Insomniac was one of my favorite developers circa 4th grade. After that, Insomniac Games released the Resistance games on PS3, a series of shooters plainly aping Half-Life 2 (because if you’re going to steal why not steal from the best?). In more recent years the studios have released the “zany” shooter Sunset Overdrive as an Xbox exclusive, a reboot/remake of their Ratchet & Clank series, and the best Spider-Man video game since the PS2 in the form of Marvel’s Spider-Man.
Next Titles: At this point, Insomniac’s future plans are unknown. The most logical would be a sequel to Marvel’s Spider-Man, which was a critical and commercial hit. I wouldn’t mind seeing a new addition to the Ratchet and Clank series, but that seems unlikely, as the reason the last entry in that series was produced at all was to coincide with the launch of the animated movie. There will certainly be no sequel movie, as it was a box office flop, and consequently no more games.
Previous Releases: Media Molecule is best known for bright low-key platformers like LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway. LittleBigPlanet, in particular, was well-received for giving the players some tools to develop their own stages and games, a move that no doubt inspired Nintendo to create Mario Maker and its recent sequel.
Next Titles: Media Molecule is currently working on a new title called Dreams which is less of a game in-and-of-itself and more of a stripped-down game development platform. Dreams has already been released in early access, but the developers are likely fine-tuning it and adding features before the full launch. Given the nature of Dreams (and the relatively small staff of Media Molecule), it’s a safe bet that most of their time in the future will revolve around maintaining and extending Dreams.
Previous Releases: Naughty Dog released a few titles in the late 80s and early 90s on a variety of platforms, but they only first achieved fame with their early 3D platformer Crash Bandicoot. A game that would have gone down in history as pretty damn cool, were it not for the fact that it released a few months after the seminal Super Mario 64. No disrespect to Naughty Dog, but few developers are a match for Nintendo when they bring their A-game. To their credit, Naughty Dog would improve tremendously over the next few generations of consoles. Releasing the Jak & Daxter series on PS2 and really coming into their own with the Uncharted series on PS3. With games like The Last of Us and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Naughty Dog has made a name for themselves as providing a mix of stunning animation and nuanced, intelligent writing.
Next Titles: Obviously, the studio is currently working on The Last of Us 2, due to be released early next year. Speculation on the game’s story is pointless at this time, so we cannot rule out that their next title after that won’t be The Last of Us 3 any more than we can say The Last of Us 2 will definitively conclude the series’ story. Making another sequel to Uncharted seems ill-advised given the send-off that Nathan drake had in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (it has ended in the title for crying out loud). Given the studio’s pattern of releasing new IP to coincide with new systems, it hardly seems far-fetched that they would have a brand new series to coincide with the upcoming launch of the PS5. As of yet, nothing has been confirmed or even hinted at.
Previous Releases: Polyphony only has one real series of games, Gran Turismo, that they have been making since the late 1990s. The series has gained a reputation for its wide variety of real-life cars and close attention to real-world detail of driving said cars.
Next Titles: Seeing as Polyphony has been making Gran Turismo games almost exclusively for 20 years, it’s a pretty safe bet that their next title will be another Gran Turismo game.
SIE Japan Studio
Previous Releases: Sony’s Japan Studio got its start working on Ape Escape, a highly enjoyable 3D platformer designed to sell the original dual-shock controller. They followed this up with a few well know classics like Legend of the Dragoon as well as a few Ape Escape sequels and spin-offs. More recently they have worked with several 3rd party developers on PlayStation exclusives (Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne for example). On the PlayStation 4, they also developed Knack and Knack II, games more famous for the internet memes around them than their actual content. SIE Japan Studios are also the home of Team Ico (Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian) and Project Siren (the Gravity Rush series).
Next Titles: At this point, it’s unknown what the Japan Studio will be working on next. Personally, I’m hoping for a Knack 3, if only for the amusing memes that will follow in its wake. Another possibility would be Gravity Rush 3, as the previous titles in the series have amassed a significant cult following despite being extremely niche and with the original releasing on a console nobody owned (the Playstation Vita). Since The Last Guardian took seven years to develop, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the next Team Ico release. Other than that, the only sure-fire bet for the Japan Studio is that they will continue to work with 3rd party Japanese developers on PlayStation exclusive titles.
SIE London Studio
Previous Releases: SIE London Studio’s previous catalog mostly revolves around gimmicky hardware tie-in titles like EyeToy games or the SingStar series of karaoke games. They have upheld this tradition in recent years by pivoting to the latest piece of gimmicky hardware: VR. Their latest title Blood & Truth was well received but suffers from the same issue that all VR titles do, only a small percentage of the public can play the damn thing.
Next Titles: Nothing has been formally announced but given the studio’s past it’s a safe bet to say that they will continue to make VR exclusive titles, as the studio’s raison d’etre is creating content for hardware with limited market share.
SIE San Diego Studio
Previous Releases: The first release for SIE San Diego studio was The Mark of Kri, a relatively obscure action-adventure title for the PlayStation 2. After that though, their efforts have been almost entirely devoted to the ongoing MLB: The Show series of annual baseball simulators.
Next Titles: MLB: The Show 2020 is due out next year. Once that is out the door it’s a safe bet that the San Diego Studio will turn its attention to MLB: The Show 2021.
Previous Releases: The Santa Monica Studio is mostly famous for the God of War series of action games, with the most recent entry dropping in 2018 to much commercial success and critical acclaim.
Next Titles: Nothing is known for sure yet, but given God of War’s huge success, and the fact that the game’s story ends on a cliffhanger a sequel is all but certain (then again, I would have said the same thing about Half-Life 2 Episode 2 in 2007 and we all know how that turned out). When this sequel will come out, and even what it will be named (there is already, annoying enough, a game titled God of War 2) is anyone’s guess at this point.
Previous Releases: Sucker Punch Productions got its start with the Sly Cooper games on the PlayStation 2, a series of cartoony stealth platformers where the player took on the role of the titular raccoon thief. On the PlayStation 3 and Playstation 4, the studio shifted focus to the Infamous series, open-world superhero action games with a simplistic moral choice mechanics seemingly lifted directly from Mass Effect.
Next Titles: Sucker Punch Productions is currently developing the much-anticipated Ghost of Tsushima, a stealthy action game set in Japan during the Mongol invasions. Only time will tell though if it can measure up to the spectacular Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, a game that it will almost certainly be compared endlessly to. The next moves of the studio are unknown at this time. If Ghost of Tsushima is a success, it seems like a safe bet that it will spawn a whole series. If it falls on its face, then we can probably expect either an entirely new IP or another Infamous spin-off.
Anything you guess we’ve forgotten to mention? List it in the comments.