As two prominent developers leave Sony, a report suggests Microsoft is looking to buy up Japanese studios.
Keiichiro Toyama, the man responsible for beloved PlayStation titles like the original Silent Hill and Gravity Rush, announced recently that he has departed from Sony to form his own studio.
The new studio, called Bokeh, already looks to have quite the pedigree of industry veterans.
Toyama is joined by Junya Okura, who also worked on the Gravity Rush games as lead designer, and Kazunobu Sato, who served as lead producer on The Last Guardian.
Though no other names have been shared so far, they say that they are being joined by other people they’ve worked with.
In the announcement video, the trio talk about how, as an independent studio, they have a lot more responsibilities but also more freedom.
Toyama, in particular, says ‘I want to go back and enjoy how fun it is to make games. I want to share that feeling to the players, this is what I’ll aim for from now on.’
This news follows a Bloomberg report from last month that claims Sony has began to focus less on the Japanese side of its business and is now prioritising Western developers.
The report even states that Japanese developer support teams have been reduced by a third and rolling contracts for a number of game creators at PlayStation’s Japan Studio haven’t been renewed.
While it’s possible that this played a part in the trio’s departure, it doesn’t seem like Toyama and the others have left Sony on bad terms.
In an interview with Famitsu, Sato suggests that they will continue to build a good relationship with Sony, which could mean Bokeh could help work on Sony IPs like Gravity Rush.
That same Bloomberg report mentions that Microsoft is looking into buying out more Japanese studios, as the company has always struggled in Japan. This makes sense considering its recent Western acquisitions like Bethesda and open desire for more studios and games for its Xbox Game Pass.
It’s unlikely that it will be looking into scooping up Bokeh anytime soon though, since the studio is still in its early days and doesn’t have a game yet. Plus, Toyama and the others clearly value their independence and it wouldn’t make sense for them to agree to a buyout at this point.
Bokeh’s first project is already underway and has been described as an action-adventure game. Judging by the concept art seen in the video, it looks like it will have horror elements, evoking Tomoya’s work on Silent Hill and his Siren series.
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