“If we can’t stop the cost curve from going up, all we can do is try to de-risk it.”
The former boss of PlayStation has predicted PlayStation 5 games will cost $200m to make.
Budgets for PlayStation 4 games Layden spearheaded each hit $100m, and, Bloomberg reports, Layden predicts PS5 games will each cost $200m to make and prices will only increase from there.
Big game companies will combat this exponential development cost by employing a “de-risk” strategy, Layden suggested, which in turn causes triple-A publishers to become “incentivised toward sequels”.
Bloomberg points to publishers chasing trends, quoting Layden as saying: “What happens there is you end up with three to four silos of games or game types that continue to exist, and variety is squeezed out.”
Sony is working on a raft of big-budget sequels for PS5 – although most are cross-gen titles that also have a PS4 version. Titles include Guerrilla’s Horizon Forbidden West, Polyphony’s Gran Turismo 7, and the next God of War from Sony Santa Monica.
Meanwhile, Days Gone developer Bend Studio is working on a new IP, and Uncharted and The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog is working on a standalone multiplayer game, as well as, reportedly, a remake of The Last of Us.
Bloomberg did question Layden about his own role in the creation of this sustainability issue while at PlayStation – after all, the former exec was chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios up to late 2019, before which PlayStation had released a number of eye-catching PS4 exclusives, such as Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, Days Gone and Marvel’s Spider-Man.
“I think I contributed a part into showing the world what amazing gameplay can look like,” Layden responded.
Sony is of course set to unveil a “look into the future of PS5” this week during a PlayStation Showcase livestream that features news from PlayStation studios, as well as “some of the industry’s most imaginative developers”, on games releasing this year “and beyond”.