Shuhei Yoshida Steps Down From Role as Worldwide Studios President
Another month, another switcharoo with the PlayStation executives, eh? It was only one month ago that we reported about Shawn Layden's departure from SIE World Studios, a departure which has still remained rather vague and unceremonious. It also meant the loss of PlayStation's primary front-man during their trade shows. With the latest news, the shakeups aren't set to slow down any time soon. Announced today by Sony in a press release, it's official: Shuhei Yoshida has stepped down as president of PlayStation Worldwide Studios, a position he's been in since mid-2008. According to PlayStation, the decision is effective immediately, and a replacement has already been named. Funny enough, the replacement is someone closely affiliated with Sony through Horizon Zero Dawn: Hermen Hulst.
"Hermen is one of the most effective and well-respected leaders in the video game industry," said SIE President and CEO Jim Ryan in an official statement. "He is a passionate advocate for the teams he leads and understands how to empower creative talent to build great experiences." Hermen Hulst is one of the co-founders of Amsterdam-based Guerrilla Games, the studio behind the Killzone series and PlayStation's hit 2017 exclusive 'Horizon Zero Dawn'. Up until this point, he's been Guerrilla's managing director. "I have worked closely with PlayStation and the entire Worldwide Studios family since 2001, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for the creative talent and ambitious ideas within the network of studios across the US, Europe, and Japan," Hulst said, divulging his thoughts on the new position. "I am beyond excited to have the opportunity now to lead such an inspired and talented team whose singular mission is to build amazing games for PlayStation fans." All of this does beg the question, however: What will happen to Shuhei Yoshida? As it turns out, the man already had plans set up behind the departure.
Sony revealed further into the announcement that Yoshida will be heading up a new initiative PlayStation is starting, one that aims to provide support to indie developers within the PlayStation community. "I am thrilled to announce Shu Yoshida as head of this new initiative," Ryan said. "Everybody knows just how passionate Shu is about independent games - they are [the] lifeblood of the industry, making our content portfolio so special for our gamers." The name of the new initiative hasn't been revealed yet, but word on that probably won't be far behind. This is big news for the indie PlayStation scene, however, and should hint towards a future filled with more abundant indie titles to choose from, alleviating some concerns that Sony wasn't focused enough on their indie teams. Hulst, meanwhile, has big shoes to fill. As the new head of Worldwide Studios, he'll be in charge of overseeing development progress amongst all 14 of PlayStation's internal studios, all of whom are hard at work on Sony's biggest upcoming exclusives.
The timing is no coincidence, as Sony seems keen to restructure themselves a year ahead of the PlayStation 5's launch. It will mean some new faces for PlayStation in the next generation, and a slightly different landscape than what came before it. It also paints a clearer picture of what we can expect on Sony's end by the latter half of 2020. Even so, the PlayStation 4 still has some big titles to churn out before it's done. After all, Death Stranding is a mere day away from release (as of the time of this writing), and that's not to even mention The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima. For the full details behind Yoshida's departure and Hulst's new position, make sure to check out the interviews conducted on GamesIndustry. A month from now, can we expect yet another big restructuring within PlayStation? We'll just have to wait to find out.