Shuhei Yoshida No Longer Head of Sony Worldwide Studios

Sony is continuing its leadership shakeup ahead of the PS5 launch as Shuhei Yoshida steps down from his Worldwide Studios presidency to helm a new indie-focused venture. Meanwhile, Guerrilla Games co-founder and managing director, Hermen Hulst, is the new head of Worldwide Studios effective immediately.Yoshida’s switch in focus to independent developers is part of a wider push by Sony to bring in fresh talent. His initiative will nurture external indie studios that PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan called the “lifeblood of the industry.”

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Ryan said Yoshida “will ensure the entire SIE organization works together to better engage with independent developers through a culture of supporting and celebrating their contributions to PlayStation platforms.”

It’s a strong signal of Sony’s continued support for independently developed games, which it’s championed in the past but whose support has seemingly slowed in recent months. Ryan emphasised that any apparent lull is because Sony has been quietly working with VR studios. He said the company pivoted to support indies in the VR space, and has “been engaged with human resource, we’ve been very financially supportive, we’ve been sharing experiences as people start to learn about what makes a great VR experience.”

Meanwhile, the new head of Worldwide Studios Herman Hulst will be charged with overseeing the creative and strategic direction of the 14 studios that Sony owns, including Naughty Dog, Media Molecule and Insomniac. His studio, Guerrilla, is also part of that group and is best known for the Killzone Series and Horizon Zero Dawn. Most recently, Guerrilla lent its Decima engine to Kojima for Death Stranding.

While Hulst steps into Sony leadership, three of his colleagues (Angie Smets, Jan-Bart van Beek and Michiel van der Leeuw) will take over as joint studio heads at Guerrilla.

IGN’s Top 25 PlayStation 4 Games

Last month former Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden stepped down from the role, the same day that the company’s Japan Asia president Atsushi Morita retired. The shuffle is part of a period of change for the company as it looks to the next hardware generation and considers more studio acquisitions before the PS5 launches.Alysia Judge is a freelance writer and presenter. Chat to her on Twitter @alysiajudge.

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