Sony doesn’t consider acquisitions a competition between rival companies to have the biggest and best developers under its umbrella.
In fact, the company is very selective about which studios it acquires, according to PlayStation Studios head Herman Hulst, and the deal to acquire Housemarque wasn’t something that was decided overnight.
Speaking with GQ, Hulst said buying a studio isn’t some random decision as the company takes into consideration whether astudio has a similar set of values and creative ambitions.
“We’re very selective about the developers that we bring in,” said Hulst. “Our last new acquisition was Insomniac [for $229 million in 2019], which has worked out very well. I’m always looking for people that have a similar set of values, similar creative ambitions, and work very well with our team that we can further invest in and help grow as creators. It’s not like we’re going around and just making random acquisitions.
“They’re very, very targeted acquisitions of teams that we know well. The amount of collaboration between our external development group and Housemarque on the technical side, the production management side, and even on the creative side has been so deep. So for us, it just makes so much sense to do that.
Hulst goes on to say he and his team have been working on bringing Houseqmarque into the fold for quite a while but didn’t want to distract the core group at the studio while it was working to get Returnal out the door.
Plus Returnal, according to Hulst, “fills a unique part” of Sony’s PS5 slate of games, and “to take that further: to the next level with the acquisition was “just super attractive.”
Housemarque is now PlayStation Studios’ 13th fully-owned studio. Ilari Kuittinen, Housemarque’s co-founder and managing director, and his team will continue to lead the studio and will be aided by PlayStation Studios’ External Development team.
As for what’s next for Housemarque, after a much-needed break, Kuittinen told GQ the team is looking to build upon what it created with Returnal, and future titles may “be even bigger and even more ambitious.”