Hermen Hulst talks Bungie, what’s next for PlayStation Studios

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Hermen Hulst talks Bungie, what’s next for PlayStation Studios

Reflecting on the legendary studio, plus upcoming titles Horizon Forbidden West, MLB The Show 22, and Gran Turismo 7.

Hot on the heels of this week’s news that Bungie will be joining PlayStation, I had a chance to chat with Hermen Hulst, Head of PlayStation Studios, to learn more about how the developer collective might collaborate with the celebrated studio. We also touched on Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7 (State of Play tonight!), and MLB The Show 22.

See below for a transcript, edited for length and clarity, or listen to our chat in full.


Sid: So Hermen, it’s official – Bungie is joining PlayStation. Not exactly something I would have predicted a few weeks ago, but spectacular nonetheless.

Hermen: Exciting news, right? It’s a really good surprise. We like surprises. Let me just say that I’m so pleased that we could make this happen because Bungie is truly a world-class developer.

Sid: Yeah, absolutely. Just a legendary developer, really. I don’t think that’s overstating it. They’ve been around for a long time, about 30 years…. I was curious, what are some of the ways you’ve seen Bungie influence the gaming medium over the past few decades?

Hermen: It’s actually an amazing story, when you look at it. As you said, they’ve done many genres on many different platforms. And of course their work on Halo was phenomenal, in my mind some of the best shooters in history. Halo also had a very strong component. And then there’s Destiny, a series still going strong after eight years, I think. Many people have tried to build a successful live service, and failed. Because it’s really hard. So Destiny’s success is very special. I’m also impressed by the production values from them, in terms of technology, graphics, performance capture, sound and music…all of that is really top-class at Bungie.

Sid: They’re trailblazers. Halo: Combat Evolved — it’s been, what, 20-something years since that came out? But they laid the groundwork for first-person shooters on console, and a lot of those ideas have endured over that time, whether it’s grenades, melee, sticky aim was an innovation of theirs, having a recharging health bar… and all the things you pointed out with Destiny and the live service element, making this game that evolves over time. Very innovative studio.

Hermen: Yes, everyone in gaming knows that Bungie’s gameplay is one of the benchmarks. It always feels fluid, it’s always very responsive, easy to pick up and hard to put down. They’ve either started or perfected so many innovations in their games. I follow their design choices very closely since, obviously as you know, I was working on Killzone while Bungie was developing Halo. 

Sid: Moving forward, how do you see PlayStation Studios partnering with Bungie? Do you envision a close working relationship with them?

Hermen: Absolutely. And obviously it’s still early, the deal itself needs to be finalized before we can officially start discussing detailed collaboration. But I’ve spent a lot of time with folks like Jason Jones and Pete Parsons, and some of the senior team over at Bungie. And let me tell you that everyone’s very excited for Bungie and PlayStation Studios to share ideas, share some of our battle scars as well. And really, just learn from each other.

Sid: Sounds like a dynamic time to be a game designer at PlayStation. With all this news, the last 12 months for PlayStation Studios has been really interesting with interesting Housemarque and Bluepoint and others… kind of a crazy time.

Hermen: Well, exciting times. We have a few very good months coming up for PlayStation fans. Horizon Forbidden West is only a few weeks away. I’ve been playing it for a while now, and it’s everything that I know Guerrilla wanted it to be. We actually began the game back when I was still at Guerrilla, and I’m just amazed at the scope, the depth, and the sheer quality that the team has achieved. You know, I think they’ve actually gotten a bit better since I left them, so really proud of that team.


And in March, we will have Gran Turismo 7. And there’s a State of Play about to hit, so later today you’ll be able to see a lot more of this game. I know that GT fans have been waiting to see what Polyphony can do on PS5, and I think they’re going to be quite happy with that. 

It’s beautiful, as you would expect. But I’m really impressed with how Polyphony has used the DualSense controller. We all know that Kazunori [Yamauchi] is fanatical about recreating that driving experience for players. In that context, the DualSense is just perfect. 

And then there’s MLB The Show 22 in April, of course. We gave an update on MLB The Show this week unveiling our cover athlete, the amazing Shohei Ohtani. We also announced that this year, MLB The Show will be on Nintendo Switch, as well as PS4, PS5, and Xbox. San Diego Studio is doing such a great job on this series, it just keeps getting better.

Sid: Thanks for joining us – always a pleasure to hear from you! 

Hermen: Thanks for having me, Sid.

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50 Comments

  • That’s all great and all but we want to know what’s next after the games releasing in the next month. God of War Ragnarok is all we know about. What else is coming in 2022 and 2023?

    • Sony please buy capcom, konami, sega and square enix!!!

    • @shadowsniper_26 take this with a grain of salt and rumor but if its true what an insider has spilled, word is the Sony is cooking up to purchase Capcom next. Like said just a worded rumor but apparently Sony has been approaching other publishers and Capcom/Square Enix are the next possible candidates to be under PS Studios since they are both very close with Sony and they have a very very close relationship.

    • The end of 2022 will be PSVR2 alongside Horizon: Call of the Mountain and possibly Astrobot 2.
      Spider-Man 2 has already been announced for 2023 from Insomniac.

  • Still waiting for Parappa 3

  • We need Konami instead of Bungie because they’re lost for many years…
    Syphon Filter remake?

  • Can we have the Playstation Experience next week? It’s taking way too long, and the VRR and FidelityFX firmware update has been long overdue.

  • Does Gran Turismo 7 have a user-friendly arcade mode or are there any new arcade fast-paced racing games coming out this year?

    • Look out for Grid Legends. It’s coming in February and it’s a bit hybrid of realistic and arcade. Unfortunately the GT series is mostly realistic. I’d like to get it myself but I lean more toward arcade myself.

  • I just want to know when the developer exodus starts and new studios start to spawn after you two are done carving up the industry.

    • That would be interesting.
      Would also be a good idea for hulst to quit voluntarily, for the amelioration of the playstation brand.

  • Bungie is a legendary developer, no doubt. But I want to see what Bungie can offer to us as PlayStation console owners. I hope Herman Herman Hulst doesn’t break his promise of putting the PlayStation console player as their top priority.

  • I’ll just leave this here for Hermen Hulst and Jim Ryan for no apparent reason:

    Capcom
    Square-Enix
    Take-Two
    Konami
    Kojima Productions
    From Software
    Arc System Works
    Enhance Games
    Sega
    Level 5

    • Why would you want Sony to buy japanese devs when they killed japan studio ? Just for them to censor their games and eventually close the studios?

    • @NukePistols take this with a grain of salt and rumor but if its true what an insider has spilled, word is the Sony is cooking up to purchase Capcom next. Like I said just a worded rumor but apparently Sony has been approaching other publishers for quite awhile and Capcom/Square Enix are the next possible candidates to be under PS Studios since they are both very close with Sony and they have a very very close relationship. Look at the history they’ve had with exclusivity and partnerships. Seems like maybe in the upcoming months one of those two might be headed to PS Studios family.

    • @unemployedteen19 Japan Studio was reorganized/restructured and merged into Team Asobi

    • Nobody is buying Konami.
      Konami owns digital entertainment, sports and fitness, amusement parks, realestate, electronics manufacturing, pro baseball teams, are a sole manufacturer of japanese pachinko machines (slot-like gambling machines) casinos, Trading cards, mobile charging stations, film studios, and PC manufacturing. These are all separate branches of Konami.
      People see the game development branch which has been in the slumps since Kojima leaving and think they’re easy to get, not knowing that any company interested in buying Konami would have to have enough funds to buy half the businesses in Japan because that’s what Konami owns. Not that Konami has any interest in selling. Being a slot machine manufacturer, distributor, and owner is basically like having a money printer.
      Honestly, every post asking for Sony to buy Konami is a clown take from someone that has zero understanding how any of this works.

    • Take-Two is highly unlikely.

  • Oh yeah, nice work Herman, get Bungie and have them turn every one of your studios (Naughty Dog, Guerrilla, Santa Monica, Insomniac, etc.) into an effing live service developer. If I wanted to play live service games I’d not be on PS5 but on PC and my phone. I’m here for single player experiences.

  • Congrats, hope you guys put Bungie to make a new Killzone for PS5.
    And please, if you will keep buying studios, please go for something japanese, even if is something small.

    • What? Have a studio responsible for Halo and Destiny make a game made famous by Guerilla? Just so you can smile… yeah, likely to happen.

      Maybe ask Nintendo to make the new Crash Bandicoot whilst you’re at it.

    • Guerrilla seems to have zero interest on make more KZ games. And the last one was very bad.
      Bungie has plenty of experience doing multiplayer shooters, so they could make a good multiplayer Killzone.

    • Last one was Shadowfall, the hell you on boy? Shadowfall was great.

    • Shadowfall was an awfull shooter.
      More like a tech-demo than an actual game.

    • Shadowfall was a blast, start to finish. Just as good as the rest in the series. Killzone 3 might have been the best, but Shadowfall was close. And excellent for a launch title.
      And technically the last game was Mercenaries on the Vita, which was also great.

    • Sony acquisition of studios.

      1. Take-Two = Highly Unlikely😬

      2. EA = To much money🤑⚠️

      3. Capcom = Likely😁

      4. Konami = Franchise games Likely👍 Konami themselves Unlikely🙄

      5. Square Enix = Likely👍

      6. Ready At Dawn = Likely👍

      7. From Software = Don’t Know🤔

      8. Sega = Likely👍

      9. Nintendo = 🤣😂🤑🤑🤑 Never

      10. SNK = 🤔

      That’s my thoughts anyway lol. Who knows what will happen 😊

    • No more Killzone games thankyou.

      We want new games and creativity.

  • “MLB The Show will be on Nintendo Switch, as well as PS4, PS5, and Xbox” lol on PS blog

    • The Blog and PS became a joke since they’ve put Horizon on pc.The only way to fix that is to get rid of viruses like jimbo and hermen.

  • And buy electronic arts too!!!

  • What’s next?

    PC ports
    GaaS
    Less Japanese games

  • The number of “Live Service” games I plan to buy between now and 2026 from any publisher is zero.

  • Square-Enix is a publisher where Sony would look back in 50-100 years and be like “Wow, what would our company look like without these iconic IP.” Make the move, worth the investment.

  • Quite interesting. I can see why Bungie would want to continue on being independent, and why PS would be ok with it. With the exception of GTA5, I don’t think a lot of gamers come to buy PS consoles for live, multiplayer games. Having Bungie games in as many places as possible is a win when those games hit. Having their expertises influence some internal studios may help some of the other studios foster live game services on PS consoles. Will I be interested? No! Will many other be interested? Possibly. If those interested invest on live games and those earning help fund niche games down the line, I’m ok with it. If PS continues going multi-platform to make more money and make more games, I can’t hate on that. As long as I get access to those game in as easy a way possible.

    Speaking of ease of access, here’s hoping the new service has that.

  • It’s slightly disheartening that within the industry Destiny is considered a praiseworthy success. This franchise which in the past few years has been plagued with developers being antagonistic towards the community, the product going through aggressive over-monetization and anti-consumer practices, and the studio as a whole frequently complaining that making content is hard and expensive while simultaneously spending exorbitant amounts of manpower and funding on marketing and PR presenting these “woke” media campaigns that have absolutely nothing to do with game development.

    Destiny has great potential. I loved the first game and Age of Triumph really made it shine. But the second one going through same growing pains as the first one, retaining nothing they learned from the first one, and in the later years post-Activision heavily relying on empty grind to retain the player count and then overly relying on aggressive monetization for the player count continuing to plummet, none of this inspires confidence.

    All of this may be viewed as a success by the corporate shareholders, but as a fan of Destiny, it frankly falls short. Hopefully Sony influence and support affords Bungie the breathing room they were clearly lacking to focus more on creating a fun experience Destiny was known for and less on attempts at wringing their playerbase dry of every penny they have which Destiny 2 is known for. But I’m not holding my breath.

  • Whats next

  • Bungie please acquire the rights to release Star Wars battlefront 3.
    Thankyou.

  • Interesting that since Bungie are remaining an independent publisher, they are not part of PlayStation Studios. He even says the two will be sharing ideas.

  • Bungie!! 💙 Love this! Next we need Kojima Productions in the family. Now that’s an innovative team for you 🙏🤩 Keep going PlayStation

  • Let’s hope PlayStation Studios plans on bringing Gran Turismo 7 and the Uncharted series to the Switch as well. I love my PS5. And as someone who owns a Switch, I would love to play some PlayStation titles on the go to. And since the PS Vita’s gone, the Nintendo Switch is a great console for those on the go. Never thought I’d see a Sony game on a Nintendo platform

  • Ready At Dawn?

    The developers of ” The Order 1886 ”

  • Wow supposed PS people talking about and praising a damn xb*x game on the supposed PS Blog,damn how PS went downhill.Hermen couldn’t have made himself more of an idiot saying what he said in this interview.And why da F even bother to talk about mlb the show since the damn game is a multiplat now?…get that crap outta here,you don’t need to go that low saying it’s coming to all damn systems.

  • I hope halo releases at playstation.

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