enlarge † Added red MS Paint arrows to clarify what’s new on the official PlayStation Studios site as of this week.
An update to the official PlayStation Studios website, dedicated to Sony’s offerings of first-party software and the worldwide studios that make it, kicked off this week with an all-new game maker. But it’s not Bungie, the game maker that Sony plans to acquire in a deal reportedly worth $3.6 billion.
Instead, Sony’s formal first-party banner now features Death Stranding, the 2019 adventure developed by Kojima Productions in conjunction with Sony Interactive Entertainment. And it’s the loudest indication yet that Sony and Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima are moving forward with an even stronger partnership than ever.
The banner in question got a refresh at some point this week, as noted Wednesday by an eagle-eyed commentator on the gaming forum ResetEra, to reflect newer first-party Sony releases in the past year. The updated image in question will remain live on the main PlayStation Studios site as of press time. Much of the banner remains identical to the 2021 version, but the MLB The Show icon has been updated for the 2022 edition’s cover star, Shohei Ohtani, while images for Horizon and Gran Turismo have received updates to their 2022 sequels. display.
The 2020 re-release of Demon’s Souls is out now, which is a good reminder that the creators at Bluepoint were fully acquired by Sony in September. Hence, Death Stranding’s sudden appearance, in a far left corner, makes us wonder if Sony has once again dropped megatons of news in an accidental image upload, just as it did with the eventual Bluepoint acquisition in July 2021. At that point, Sony’s Twitter announcement that it would be acquiring Housemarque, the makers of Returnal, featured a Bluepoint image that was immediately removed.
Hoping for a PT spiritual successor
Like the other acquisitions mentioned above, Kojima Productions would make sense as a formal first-party Sony studio, as its output has been closely tied to the PlayStation family thus far. Kojima Productions started after Kojima’s public messy divorce from his best-known employer, Konami, and Sony was part of the new studio’s announcement flurry. The Death Stranding unveiling was hosted by Sony in 2016 with an indication that it would be co-developed with Sony’s game studios – and even counted Sony development legend Mark Cerny among the contributors.
At the time, Kojima insisted that the game could eventually appear on other consoles. So far it has remained exclusive to the PlayStation console, although both the original version and the director’s cut, like other recent Sony first-party games, eventually made their way to PC. (Those PC ports are published by 505 Games, not Sony.)
The ever-puzzling Kojima has had fans reaching for straws to guess what might come next. An April 2020 Kojima suggestion about making a “horror” game left fans hoping that the gamemaker would one day revive the spark seen in its infamous deleted horror experiment PT. Could a partnership with Sony lead to something as “revolutionary” as Kojima teased in that interview? And could such a hypothetical game take advantage of Sony exclusive technology like PlayStation VR2?
Meanwhile, other reporters aren’t ready to dismiss rumors that Kojima recently struck a deal with Microsoft to release a future game on Xbox. Giant Bomb podcast host Jeff Grubb indicated on his first podcast subscriber this week that an agreement between Kojima and Microsoft “was still in effect a few weeks ago,” and that a formal acquisition by Sony is still pending. could take place with such a deal at stake — just as Bethesda completed its work on the PlayStation console-exclusive Deathloop and Ghostwire Tokyo after it was acquired by Microsoft in 2020.
Sony representatives did not immediately respond to Ars Technica’s questions about the PlayStation Studios site change.