Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Exclusive: Sony San Diego Shifts Developers To PSN Games.

Talking to Gamasutra as part of an upcoming San Diego Studio Tour series, SCEA producer Jim Molinets has revealed that the San Diego studio's internal team has "shifted focus" from large-scale PS2/PS3 titles into three PlayStation Network PS3 downloadable games, underscoring Sony's support for digital downloads.

Molinets explained to Gamasutra: "Internally, we have shifted our focus from doing large-scope PS2 and PS3 titles to doing PSN titles exclusively. We've got three smaller groups now, and they're all doing very differentiated products with different requirements".

These comments specifically relate to Sony San Diego's self-contained development team of around 30 people, though the studio still includes motion capture, art-related and administrative staff, with a total of around 200 people in product development.

As the SCEA producer went on to detail: "Our maximum team size is ten people, so we really utilize the strengths of all the different people within the studio. Each individual product has a technical lead, a design lead, and an art lead".

Sony's model for PSN has been significantly more first-party oriented than Microsoft's similar plans for Xbox Live Arcade, which only uses its internal Carbonated Games studio (Uno). As a contrast, Sony's internal studios have already released Blast Factor and Calling All Cars, and there appear to be multiple new first party PSN games on the way.

Molinets explains the attraction of being able to interact with the PSN community and make changes and improvements to the title swiftly, even after launch: "Because the [development] team is smaller, the dev cycle is smaller, and because our expertise level is high, we may be able to address things like that very quickly, as opposed to having to wait for a full two-year product cycle".

Finally, while not confirming that Telltale's franchise would make it to the PlayStation Network in the future, Molinets referenced it when discussing episodic titles on consoles: "That's definitely an opportunity on PSN. Sam & Max is a great example of that. You've got great characters that can go through a bunch of crazy scenarios".

Further details from Gamasutra's San Diego Studio Tour, which visited Rockstar San Diego, SCEA San Diego, and High Moon Studios, will be published as features over the next few weeks.


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