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Sony: New studios will help us innovate

Two-pronged development approach will see internal studios collaborate more closely while start-ups inspire fresh products

Sony's head of Worldwide Studios in Europe, Michael Denny, has revealed to GamesIndustry.biz the company's plans for working with internal and external studios in the future.

As all internal studios work more closely with each other, eventually Wipeout team Sony Liverpool and MotorStorm developer Evolution will merge under one roof, following the adoption of a single management structure across the two Northern teams.

And when it comes to working with external studios, Sony plans to keep supporting new start-ups in the industry, with Denny stating that enthusiasm of new teams leads to greater innovation.

"Our policy is to work with the best talent and use the best practices because that's the way to make the best quality games," said Denny in an exclusive interview published today.

Recent collaborations with independent studios include Crash Commando from Epos Game Studio in Sweden, and Finland's Housemarque for Super Stardust.

"I don't think there are many other studio set-ups that take on what is a high risk, by looking at new studios and new IPs," offered Denny. "But it's something that we passionately believe in, we have to innovate and we have to try new things, and more often than not new studios help us do that.

"Sometimes the entrepreneurial spirit of new start-ups is infectious and they can come up with some great new concepts. And we have a track record of bringing that through, although we're always going to keep that balanced approach in our production."

The balanced approach means that all internal studios now also have their own concepting divisions, enabling them to generate new ideas as well as continuing to work on some of Sony's strongest franchises.

While Evolution studios is working on new MotorStorm projects, it's also likely to create new IP in the future, as it bonds further with the racing team at Sony Liverpool.

"Evolution and our Liverpool Studio have now merged in terms of management structure and using combined resources. Liverpool had great success this year with Wipeout HD and they also helped on MotorStorm as well," revealed Denny.

"Each studio has its own internal concepting group which will always be looking at new opportunities and new IPs, and we'll continue to extend and innovate within our existing franchises as well."

The two studios are to merge completely in the future, but that's not the only example of internal collaboration within Sony studios.

Now that MMO specialist Sony Online Entertainment has come under the leadership of the Sony Computer Entertainment group, it's expected that the US team will share technology and possibly even help create online multiplayer titles with European studios.

"We are working with them and clearly their expertise is great to have now within the group," said Denny of the team behind EverQuest and The Agency.

"Some of their titles are coming to PlayStation 3, and in other areas we're exploring how we can learn from them as well. Those are very exciting developments."

The full interview with Michael Denny, where he also discusses the integration of Home with other games, how digital delivery is influencing game design, and recruitment opportunities in 2009, can be read here.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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