Year One of PlayStation 5 Games

The US just had its one-year anniversary of the PS5, and basically, the rest of the world has the anniversary this week.

Its been a turbulent start of the generation, from the entirety of the reveal and launch coming during the COVID-pandemic, and shortages of semiconductors among other things. All things considered, Sony has had one of its strongest launches ever – at least for me personally. Let’s take a look back at the year at hand!

PS Studios Games

We’ve seen one of the strongest 12 month periods of a console ever. Especially when you consider that it’s the launch year, during a pandemic. PS Studios led by Hermen Hulst has been hitting it, not only quantity-wise – but also with great quality throughout its lineup of games.

Looking at it in list-form, the lineup is nothing short of spectacular.

  • Astro’s Playroom
  • Death Stranding Director’s Cut
  • Demon’s Souls
  • Destruction All-Stars
  • Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut
  • Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart
  • Returnal
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Spider-Man Miles Morales
  • Spider-Man Remastered

At launch, we saw the release of Insomniac Games Spider-Man Miles Morales, the sequel to its 2018 predecessor which also got remastered for the PS5.
Sumo Digital also delivered a great new take on LittleBigPlanet, with their new game Sackboy: A Big Adventure. A lovely little 3D-Platforming experience that takes Sackboy to new heights.
Bluepoint Games also took their astonishing remaking capabilities with the remake of From Software classic Demon’s Souls. From top to bottom one of the best remakes of all time.

As if that wasn’t enough, every single console came with Team Asobi‘s Astro’s Playroom pre-installed. A game that got a lot of positive press, with people falling in love with Astro, the gameplay, and the lovely world and easter eggs that the game had to offer.

What’s perhaps craziest about this lineup is the fact that every single game on this list got good-great reviews, sold well, and had fans happy. It’s one of the best lineups we’ve seen for a console launch – at least in my opinion.

Luckily, Sony didn’t stop there.

We saw the console’s first Multiplayer focused launch with Lucid Games Destruction All-Stars, which also launched for free on PS+.
Housemarque also delivered one of its best games ever created in Returnal. It’s a new IP, that currently sits as my Game of the Year. Insomniac Games continued on their quest to deliver way too much content on their own and released Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart.

We ended the year on 2 remasters, with Ghost of Tsushima from Sucker Punch, and Death Stranding from Kojima Productions, both with the Director’s Cut branding, new content, and PS5 upgrades.

I think it’s fair to say that this is one of the strongest year one exclusive lineups we’ve ever seen.

Acquisitions

On top of a solid games lineup, we’ve also seen Sony deliver on the promise of a bigger and more diverse lineup for the future through acquisitions. PS Studios has grown a lot during this year, both through organic growth with their internal teams, but also with multiple acquisitions.

Again, we’ll begin with seeing it in listform and then going through them individually:

  • Bluepoint Games
  • Fabrik Games
  • Firesprite
  • Housemarque
  • Nixxes Software

Housemarque joined the family first after having been a big part of the history of PlayStation. With their arcade-focused experiences ranging from great exclusives like Dead Nation, Resogun, and Alienation – they have a massive legacy together with PlayStation.

Bluepoint is the latest developer to join the family, and similar to Housemarque it’s been one the fanbase have waited for it for many years. A company that excels in its remake capabilities, and is known in the industry as tech-beasts with their impressive remake engine.

After the success of both of their recent titles, Returnal and Demon’s Souls, it’s great for fans of PlayStation to see them officially join the family and become a bigger part of each brand’s future.

“We are driven by a culture focused on delivering the highest quality possible in an industry where mediocre is far too common in action RPGs.” – Bluepoint

We also got two, technically three, surprise acquisitions from Sony. The biggest one is Nixxes Software – a developer most known for its development on Square Enix titles. They’re famous for their excellent PC Ports, and while we don’t know what they’re currently doing aside from helping out with PC Ports, it’s believed that they could perhaps be doing remasters of games not only for PC – but PS5 as well.

The second one is Firesprite, a developer I’ve grown extremely fond of. While not that famous yet, having only released The Persistence, they’re a powerhouse in the making. With three projects in active development, and an employee count around the size of Sony Santa Monica, they’re growing into one of Sony’s biggest studios. Firesprite also completed the acquisition of Fabrik Games, a smaller studio that will now join Firesprite in developing games.

All-in-all it’s crystal clear that Sony has started a quest to achieve the best exclusive content lineup ever this generation, with a first-party studios lineup to back it up. And the investments and acquisitions aren’t over, and it stands to believe that Sony most likely will be even more aggressive during this upcoming year – something I’ve talked about earlier.

Third Parties

Funnily enough, the third-party support continues to get better and better for Sony. It’s quite obvious that one aspect of why it currently is as strong is because Sony pursuing deals with a lot of money on a regular basis it seems like.

We saw CounterPlay Games release their first title in Godfall exclusively for the PS5, later released on PS4 as well. While not the greatest title, it helped give the launch lineup a diversified lineup, with a multiplayer / co-op-focused title for early adopters that felt eager to play with friends. And whatever you think about the game, it actually kinda delivered on that promise.

We’ve also seen Arkane Studios, now owned by Microsoft, launch the critically acclaimed Deathloop only on PS5 and PC. We’ve also got the promise of Ghostwire Tokyo coming next year from Microsoft-owned Tango Gameworks.

Square Enix has been one of the most active partners with Sony so far this generation. We first got the remaster of Final Fantasy VII Remake – with added Yuffie content. We’ve also gotten announcements of two more exclusives in Final Fantasy XVI and Forspoken, both of which are launching next year.

There’s also a few games that perhaps shouldn’t be placed under the timed-exclusive bracket, as the studios most likely didn’t release on other platform because of resource-specific reasons. Some of these have still been very appreciated by Sony, and their fanbase. Examples could be Arc System Works latest release, Guilty Gear Strive – or even miHoYo‘s Genshin Impact that has quickly grown to one of the platforms biggest games.

Indies

Sony’s indie initiative has been A LOT stronger after having a few dissapointing years. Shuhei Yoshida and Greg Rice has been doing an amazing job of revitilizing the indie-initiative at PlayStation.

With a great launch, featuring one of my favorite indie games of recent memories, Bugsnax – made by the talented devs at Young Horses. It also had the brilliant Pathless at launch as well.

But the PS5 has constantly been getting great indies. Jett The Far Shore, Oddworld Soulstorm, among others.

The future promise of PS Indies looks amazing as well. With titles as Goodbye Volcano High, Solar Ash, Salt and Sacrifice, Stray, and FNAF coming next year.

One game that’s been announced that has hit home with the PS fanbase is SIFU, a game from the talented developers at Sloclap. It has gained immense popularity.
And speaking of games that’s hit home with the PS Fanbase, I think the shiniest example of both Timed Exclusives + Indies this year, is Kena: Bridge of Spirits.

The first game ever released from animation house Ember Lab took the PlayStation fanbase by storm, and it’s extremely exciting to see how well-liked the game has become, especially for being an indie game.

There’s even a big push for Sony to acquire Ember Lab because of the fanbase having begun to absolutely adore Kena and her rot friends. If you’re interested in reading why the game has been resonating so well with audiences, I’ve written a post about it HERE!

The biggest indicator of Sony’s promise to indies and future releases, could be their recent 5% investment into Devolver Digital – one of the biggest indie game publishers in the entire industry.


In conclusion, the PS5’s first year has been nothing short of stellar. And that’s without mentioning the promises already made. With multiple PS5 exclusives already revealed, great upcoming indies, third party exclusives – it feels like we’re looking at a stellar generation coming up.

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