Last year, gamers everywhere were confused about the name change of Project Eve to Stellar Blade when it got to the end of the trailer and it was revealed that Sony Interactive Entertainment would be publishing the game with the same developer Shift Up. Today we have gotten some news that Shift Up has signed a contract with Sony to become a second-party studio. What does that mean? Most people are familiar with the terms first party and third party. First-party studios are owned by a specific console’s brand of studios. Xbox Studios or PlayStation studios are first-party studios that develop games for their respective console brand. Third-party studios mainly just create games and either have their own publishing company or get a contract with a company that specifically publishes games. These publishers will work with console brands to meet the requirements to publish their games on the console. Second-party studios sign deals to create games for a console manufacturer or they will sign deals to work on first-party-owned IPs.
Today’s news has revealed what that contract entails.
“[Data provided by Shift Up] Shift Up announced on the 24th that it signed a PlayStation™5 (PS5™) distribution contract for ‘Stella Blade’ with Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), a manufacturer of PlayStation brand products.
Shift Up plans to collaborate with SIE to introduce the triple-A masterpiece console game ‘Stella Blade’ on the PS5 console throughout the world, including Korea. Through this contract, Shift Up officially becomes the first Korean company to join Sony’s second party partner. informed.”
The second-party contract seems to just be a distribution contract for Stellar Blade directly. So there doesn’t seem to be future exclusive games on the horizon alone based on this wording. It seems to be just for Stellar Blade. However, this is a similar situation to Insomniac Studios when they developed Marvel’s Spider-Man. They were a second-party studio until they got bought out directly by SIE. If Stellar Blade does well, we might see SIE working on finding out how to make that second-party contract turn into a first-party acquisition.
Stellar Blade has no new information on the release timeline, but it still has a slated 2023 release date. I find that hard to believe personally. We have only a little more than one more month until 2024 hits.