PlayStation boss teases story-driven multiplayer experiences

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,
PlayStation's first-party scene has been sorely lacking multiplayer titles outside of the Media Molecule's community arthouse project Dreams. That might be about to change, Head of PlayStation Studios Hermen Hulst hints in an interview.

Dreams

In the interview, Hulst is asked about the integral role of single-player narrative-driven games in the PlayStation portfolio. At the end of his response, he gives a very enigmatic parting gift. "We also want to make sure that we’re creating a variety of experiences for our audiences. Franchises, new IP, big games, smaller and more innovative games, single-player stories, and multiplayer. Who says that multiplayer experience cannot have great stories, right?"

No PlayStation Studios game currently announced has the narrative-driven multiplayer component. The communal level-maker Dreams could be this kind of title but isn't really a narrative-driven experience in the vein of the games Hulst is talking about. Returnal features a multiplayer component — you find dead bodies of other players like in a FromSoft game — but again, this doesn't fit with the combination of narrative and multiplayer that Hulst is alluding to. The last existing game that Hulst might be referring to is in a game like PlayStation console exclusive Deathloop in which a rival bounty hunter will appear trying to kill you. The gimmick is that they are controlled by another player. This might be closer to the mark of what Hulst is talking about, but as a Bethesda title, it might a little removed from the central topic of conversation: PlayStation Studios.

Therefore, it seems more likely that Hulst is shining at making use of narrative in a multiplayer environment internally. Perhaps the long rumoured rebirth of the tactical-shooter franchise SOCOM out of the second Guerilla Games team? Or maybe — and I hope, beg, and grovel for this one — a return for MAG with a narrative based in a huge multiplayer map populated with other squads? The point is, PlayStation hasn't announced any games like this and Hulst makes a point to mention it entirely unprompted. It certainly sounds like he wants to prepare players to enter that strange place of multiplayer narratives!

This interview with Hulst revealed a lot: a God of War 2 delay, a confirmation of cross-gen for PlayStation franchises, and the uncertainty surrounding Horizon's release. Is there a franchise you would like to see become a multiplayer/narrative-driven hybrid? Are there any existing game like this you would like to shout out? Feel free to speculate along with us down in the comments.
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Hey, I'm Kes! I'm a Staff Writer, and I've been here since 2021. What do I like? The Outer Wilds is top notch. The Witcher 3 blew my mind over the course of five years completing it. I want Burnout back — I really miss crunching mechanical wonders into walls to the sound of Guns N' Roses. Cool, now we are acquainted, I'll see you around.