PlayStation Studio Spotlight: Firesprite

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,

Update Log:
17/09/21 — Added rumour about Horizon VR to Next Project

FireSprite overview

PLAYSTATION STUDIOS FIRESPRITE THE PERSISTANCE THE PLAYROOM RANKED AND RATED

Firesprite is a big team of around 250 staff members working out of Liverpool, making it bigger than London Studio and Media Molecule — the other UK-based developers — combined. Many of the core team members formerly worked out of Studio Liverpool, the talented Wipeout creators.

As a young team, formed in 2012, within a year Firesprite had helped PlaySation's Studio Japan — now Team Asobi — put together The Playroom, the pack-in PS4 title designed to show off the capability of the then-new hardware. The relationship was clearly a success, because the then small team helped with The Playroom VR in 2016. In between all that, Firesprite managed to make endless runner Run Sackboy! Run! for mobile, and later on Vita, in 2014.

run sack boy run screenshot

VR became Firesprite's thing after Playroom VR, and they made Air Force Special Ops: Nightfall for PS VR in 2017. This was very much a VR experience, not a game, and all reports suggest that it was a great time: solid graphics, a fun military thrill ride, with the price of entrance being free. However, that was just a placeholder for The Persistence in 2018 for PS VR, and the later release of The Persistance Enhanced in 2020 that came without the need for VR. The team also helped work on Star Citizen's multiplayer modes. Quite the collection of experiences!

Firesprite's previous project: The Persistance Enhanced (2021)

the persistance screenshots

The Persistence Enhanced was a maxed-out version of Firesprite's VR stealth horror game where you take on the role of a clone of the spaceship's security officer as the crew and vessel get pulled into a black hole. The original VR title banked an 81, being praised for the well-done trad horror set in a sci-fi setting. The gameplay seems to have struggled to hold up without the extra dimensions of virtual reality, though core gameplay loops remained fun. It clocked in at 71 on Metacritic.

Firesprite's current project: Unknown

PlayStation firesprite acquisition

This is an interesting one. Head of PlayStation Studios, Hermen Hulst, and managing director of Firesprite, Graeme Ankers, confirmed in an interview to GamesIndustry.biz two items of note. The first is that Firesprite is working on more than one project, a massively multiplayer game and a dark narrative experience. The second item is that the team might be trusted with a classic PlayStation IP, suggesting that Hulst is trusting the big studio with something much more substantive than their existing games output. Nick Baker of Xbox Era stated that the next game is a Horizon VR game, though there are doubts around the validity of this.

Firesprite in 2021

nightfall

Firesprite were confirmed to be working on Star Citizen's multiplayer early on in the year, but that was nothing compared to the announcement that Sony would be acquiring the studio for an undisclosed sum.

Where does Firesprite rank?

Firesprite looks like an absolute steal for the PlayStation Studios portfolio. Though the catalogue doesn't yet speak volumes about the potential quality of output, the team are a massive group and seem to have multiple projects at once. We want to let Firesprite reveal and release its first proper PlayStation game before judging, though. With such fast growth and no longer in the same independent-studio environment, Firesprite will probably be an entirely different prospect to its first few incubation years, so an unearned trophy feels like a suitable award. Exciting!

Unearned
Unearned

Has yet to show its talent

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.