“The best part is poking around a little bit, seeing all of the comments and responses from people saying ‘I thought they already were part of Sony!’” Sucker Punch’s co-founder Chris Zimmerman joked during a phone interview about Sony’s acquisition of the studio. “For us, it felt like we went from having a long-term girlfriend to a wife.”
Zimmerman believes that Sucker Punch will remain the same company we know and love, playing down any supposed “changes” that might be made as a result of the corporate acquisition. “There certainly has been a lot of quirkiness to our games. That’s something we really treasure, it’s something Sony really treasures, and it’s something our fans really treasure about Sucker Punch. Our games have a unique character to them, and that’s not going to change.” He references at examples of Sony’s success in the past, pointing out “how good a job Sony has done integrating studios like Naughty Dog, Guerrilla Games, and Media Molecule without losing what makes them special.” He believes that those companies genuinely enjoy being a part of Sony—something that was of great importance to Sucker Punch as they approached the acquisition.
“In terms of day-to-day operations we’re not anticipating a lot of change,” Zimmerman continued. “We decided to make our relationship with Sony permanent because we’ve been happy with how it has worked. We’ve been happy with the results, and Sony has as well.” He said that he feels a connection between the two companies, mostly due to their long history, and how, while they’ve always been supportive, Sony pushed Sucker Punch when they needed to be pushed, making them a better studio in the process. “We were an independent studio, so every time we finished a game there was a possibility that our next project was going to be with another publisher. And yet, after every project, we’d go back to Sony.”
But if nothing is going to change, why stick with Sony? The answer, it seems, is so that they can make sure things don’t have to change. As games get more expensive to make, Sucker Punch’s method of putting all of their eggs in one basket was starting to become too risky, and they weren’t interested in splitting up their efforts and tackling multiple games at once. “As a one-game-at-a-time company, there’s always been the pressure that we’re betting our company on that one game, right? If one doesn’t do well then that’s going to cause a problem for us.” Working with Sony, Zimmerman said, will let them “spread that risk around” so they can continue putting their hearts into one game at a time without needing to play it safe. With Sony’s backing they can continue to strive towards innovation—one of the qualities that has made Sucker Punch so successful over the years.
Above: In this Infamous 2 screenshot, Lucy Kuo represents Sony and Cole MacGrath represents Sucker Punch Productions
Zimmerman is optimistic for the future of the company, though he does admit that he “would rather that we were back in the PlayStation 2 days, when Sony market share of the platform, but we’re not. Hopefully as things move forward we’ll get things back where they ought to be.”
Even so, he promises that Sucker Punch is hard at work on their next project, though he wasn’t willing to discuss what that project might be.
No matter how much poking and prodding we did, he wasn’t willing to drop any hints, or reveal if they were planning on making any announcements at the upcoming PAX or Gamescom. He also wouldn’t talk much about the PlayStation Vita, besides confirming that it’s a technical possibility that they could develop for Sony’s new handheld.
“We’re hard at work on stuff, but we’re not to the point of talking about it yet,” he said, adding “Stay tuned on PAX and Gamescom. If there were anything to announce that would be a good place to do it!”
Aug 2, 2011