Sony acquires UK developer Firesprite for first-party PlayStation Studios

The developer includes staff who helped create sci-fi racer 'WipEout'

Sony has announced that it has acquired Firesprite, with the UK developer becoming the fourteenth to come under the PlayStation Studios umbrella.

In a blog post, head of PlayStation Studios Hermen Hulst said that he “couldn’t be more delighted to welcome Firesprite to the PlayStation Studios family,” and that “quite a few members of Firesprite come from SIE’s Studio Liverpool and we’re thrilled to welcome them back.”

Despite not yet being a household name, Firesprite has a strong legacy. As Hulst points out, the company was founded by members of the former SIE Studio Liverpool, which had even deeper roots in gaming history as the developer Psygnosis. As SIE Studio Liverpool, the developers were behind one of Sony’s strongest first-party franchises of the early PlayStation era, the sci-fi racer WipEout.

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As Firesprite, the studio is best known for its virtual reality work. It collaborated with Sony’s Japan Studio on The Playroom and The Playroom VR, and also independently created The Persistence, a first-person sci-fi horror game, initially released for virtual reality platforms including PlayStation VR, before getting a non-VR release.

“Firesprite, headquartered in Liverpool in the North-West of the UK, was founded in 2012 with the vision of creating games that bring new innovations to any experience we develop,” said Graeme Ankers, MD of Firesprite.

“We’ve had the pleasure of working with many talented developers and publishers across the industry and PlayStation in particular has been a friend and co-development partner for the best part of a decade,” Ankers added.

“As a first party studio, we know we have the full support of PlayStation in furthering our heritage of combining creativity and technical innovation to offer some truly unique experiences for PlayStation fans.”

While the acquisition does not mention any games that Firesprite will be working on, the announcement comes a day ahead of Sony’s planned PlayStation Showcase. If a new WipEout were to be announced, this could turn out to be a very tactically timed acquisition reveal.

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Sony is also gearing up to release a new generation PSVR – a studio with extensive experience in VR development could be key to those future plans.

Elsewhere, upcoming tactical game Marvel’s Midnight Suns has revealed that its RPG elements will form the “whole other half of the game”.

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