PlayStation Studios Spotlight: XDEV

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,
The unique role of Sony's XDEV team is one that ties many development strings for PlayStation Studios. This is the one-stop shop for all things XDEV: history, projects, recent news, and a rating.

Update Log:
25/02/2022 — Page overhaul, XDEV in 2022 updated
If you want to see where XDEV ranks amongst the other Sony first-party developers and find out more information about the other teams, check out our PlayStation Studios Hub Page.

XDEV overview

XDEV playstation spotlight carousel

XDEV is something very different. Operating as a production assistant, investment makers, project manager, and design support, putting XDEV in the same category as the rest is a bit of an ignominious inclusion. However, we love and respect the work that the Liverpool-based group has been doing, so here XDEV is. Founded in 2000, the team has been assisting in the creation of and helping with the publishing of games ever since. Having cultivated series like LittleBigPlanet, Buzz!, and MotorStorm, you know that the team is doing good work. The team were involved with David Cage’s Quantic Dream for all three of its interactive adventures: Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and Detroit: Become Human.

Supermassive Games’ smash hit Until Dawn would not be the same game without XDEV, either. Particularly considering that the team also worked on Until Dawn spin-off Rush of Blood and Supermassive's The Inpatient. Housemarque also received assistance on Matterfall, Alienation, and Resogun. The team underwent a bit of a change in 2021, moving from a European focus to a global scale. 2022 brought XDEV's offices to Liverpool, sitting alongside fellow PlayStation Studio Firesprite, which signals the intention of making the team a globally centralised outfit. Keep your eyes on XDEV, though, and you will be surprised at the amount of work the team does.

XDEV's previous projects: Sackboy: A Big Adventure (2020), Returnal (2021), and Destruction: AllStars (2021)

returnal skulls image

This was the last batch of games that XDEV worked on. Sackboy: A Big Adventure required porting between generations by primary developer Sumo Digital. Returnal was a major step up graphically for Housemarque and was the first truly story-driven game from the Finnish outfit. XDEV probably helped with the transition and assisted in the oversight of the project, as well as providing a direct connection between Housemarque and Sony. Lucid Games’ Destruction: AllStars is a tougher ask. Since it was published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, it is hard to imagine that XDEV wasn’t involved in oversight, but it seems likely that the team also helped in the creation process.

XDEV's current project: Establishing independent partners

PlayStation Studios banner

The safe bet says that the newly formed PlayStation partner studios — Jade Raymond’s Haven, Jason Blundell’s Deviation Games, and former Destiny developers Firewalk — are all going to be introduced and embedded into a close working relationship with Sony through XDEV. That would be a bright marker to establish the start of the new-look Sony XDEV global outreach group, especially if those partner games are as good as the talent suggests that they might turn out to be.

XDEV in 2022

destruction allstars

In 2022, XDEV continued expanding to become Sony's global developer networking initiative. The team moved into new offices in Liverpool (which look stunning) to sit them alongside the largest PlayStation Studio developer in Firesprite. This would suggest that the team are now equipped to help bed in other teams that Sony has bet big on: Jade Raymond’s new Haven Studios, Jason Blundell’s Deviation Games, and ex-Bungie devs Firewalk.

Of course, the team also helped bring Lucid Games' Destruction: AllStars and Housemarque's Returnal to market.

Where does XDEV rank?

XDEV is very different from anything else on this list. The team clearly has creative talent that it then lends to other work. This has resulted in fabulous titles, like Detroit: Become Human and Returnal, but it feels erroneous to attribute the success of those games solely to XDEV. Thinking about the team in a development capacity is limiting: XDEV is more like the connective tissue between lots of different components of PlayStation, Sony, and the development teams. In fact, the team is so trusted by the larger organisations, it appears to be able to allocate funds to projects as it sees fit. That makes XDEV not only an exciting place, but mysterious and intangible. Giving the team a silver trophy feels like a fair representation of its hard work, without overstating its presence as a developer.

Silver
Silver

Made a great game, has plenty of potential, or serves a vital purpose


If you want to see where XDEV ranks amongst the other Sony first-party developers and find out more information about the other teams, check out our PlayStation Studios Hub Page.
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Associate Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation news. He writes about upcoming exclusives like The Last of Us and God of War, PS Plus and PS Studios news, and his favourite games — The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed, and The Outer Wilds — before an evening swim.