Indie Game Studio Sucker Punch Gobbled by Sony, Will Stay in Seattle Area

8/2/11Follow @curtwoodward

Bellevue, WA’s Sucker Punch Productions is heading to the mothership. After a longtime partnership developing games for Sony’s PlayStation consoles, Sucker Punch will become Sony Computer Entertainment’s 16th studio. Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed, but Sony says Sucker Punch will keep its current headquarters.

Sucker Punch, founded in 1997 by former Microsofties, is known for its big successes for the PS3—inFamous and inFamous 2, about a bike messenger turned reluctant apocalyptic superhero. The bigwigs at Sony and Sucker Punch managing partner Brian Fleming did the day-before tour of big media outlets to prep for the news—here are the big takeaways I saw in those scattered interviews.

Sucker Punch Went to Sony
Fleming told Tricia Duryee at All Things Digital that the indie studio approached Sony with the acquisition idea. One reason that stood out was “an enormous sense of risk,” Duryee writes, in hanging the entire 75-person company on its dedicated one-title-at-a-time philosophy. Partnering up with Sony gives the smaller company a safety net, and lots of resources.

“It’s not that I want to take wild and foolish risks, but we feel this is the right partner for us, and it was time to seal the deal and get back to making great games,” Fleming said.

Others Were Sniffing Around
Not terribly surprising, given the the heat behind the gaming sector overall in recent months, but Scott Rohde with SCE’s Worldwide Studios America told Winda Benedetti of msnbc.com that Sony had some competition in bringing one of its own on board.

“I’d be lying if I said other groups weren’t interested in a group like Sucker Punch,” Rohde said. “The bottom line is, when you’ve got a group that’s been as successful as Sucker Punch, we want to ensure that we keep them in the fold. It’s that simple. It’s hard to find high quality developers like these guys.”

No Worries
Sony’s Online Entertainment division shut down its separate Bellevue development studio in March, canning the undelivered game “The Agency” as part of a broader cut in that division. Fleming told The Seattle Times’ Brier Dudley that didn’t worry him: “Having a good, proactive management team that is always looking to improve their business is a good thing.”

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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