Sony Acquires Persistence and Playroom Developer Firesprite

The studio includes several developers who were part of Sony's Liverpool Studio.

Sony has been expanding its first-party developers quite a bit this year. From Returnal developer Housemarque to PC port studio Nixxes, PlayStation’s stable of studios has been growing on a few fronts. Well, it did again this morning, as the company has acquired Persistence developer Firesprite.

News of this came from a post on the PlayStation Blog, which included a statement from managing director and founder Graeme Ankers about the company’s history with PlayStation, including visual work on The Playroom, a pack-in with the PlayStation 4, as well as Run Sackboy! Run, an endless runner in the LittleBigPlanet series. The studio also has a fair bit of experience working in VR with The Playroom VR and Persistence VR, both of which were available on PlayStation VR.

Today is an incredibly exciting day for Firesprite as we join PlayStation Studios with the backing of Hermen and the entire PlayStation Family. We are very much looking forward to the next part of our journey!

Firesprite, headquartered in Liverpool in the North-West of the UK, was founded in 2012 with the vision of creating games that bring new innovations to any experience we develop. The North-West is steeped in gaming history, producing many iconic developers, publishers and games such as WipEout. Many of our ‘Sprites developed and shaped titles from this era and we are very proud of those roots!

We’ve had the pleasure of working with many talented developers and publishers across the industry and PlayStation in particular has been a friend and co-development partner for the best part of a decade, collaborating together on many exciting projects including The PlayRoom, Run Sackboy! Run and The PlayRoom VR.

PlayStation also gave us the opportunity to create our own IP, The Persistence, and we were given the creative freedom to explore, innovate, and release a survival horror game we are immensely proud of. Now, as a first party studio, we know we have the full support of PlayStation in furthering our heritage of combining creativity and technical innovation to offer some truly unique experiences for PlayStation fans.

I firstly want to thank PlayStation and their community for the warm welcome into a family of incredible creators. I’d also like to thank all of our ‘Sprites, past and present, who have helped shape the Firesprite we see today. I’m proud of the talent we have at Firesprite and you’ll continue to hear and see more from us all very soon!

We can’t wait to show you what we have been working on……we’re just getting started!

In a follow-up interview with GI.biz, Ankers said the studio had been recruiting for two projects, including a “game-changing huge multiplayer shooter and an ambitious dark narrative blockbuster adventure.” But neither Ankers nor PlayStation Studios Head Herman Hulst would say more. So it’s unclear if Firesprite is staying in the realm of VR like most of its previous work. However, given that Sony is working on a new iteration of PlayStation VR, it would make sense if it was looking to bring in more first-party studios that were working on projects for the peripheral. Hulst said as much in the interview, but also said the company “not necessarily” be beholden to its expertise.

“The philosophy that we have is to really innovate and create on any platform,” Ankers said. “Whether that’s VR or non-VR. VR is amazing. It really changes the paradigm of design and immerses you in those worlds. It doesn’t really matter for us what the hardware is, we’ll maximise and create and innovate for that particular hardware.

“We’ve got experience on a lot of VR projects and on a lot of non-VR projects throughout our history. It’s about being brave and creating those experiences that really showcase what any platform feature can deliver, and the best experience for the game, of course.”

Outside of the work under the Firesprite name, many members of the team were part of Sony’s Liverpool Studio, which was shut down in 2012. The company had a long history, having originally been founded as Psygnosis Limited when it was founded in 1984. PlayStation fans would likely know them best for working on the Wipeout series.

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Kenneth Shepard

Kenneth is a Staff Writer at Fanbyte. He still periodically cries about the Mass Effect trilogy years after it concluded.

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