Sony taps Horizon: Zero Dawn boss to lead PlayStation studios

Sony taps Horizon: Zero Dawn boss to lead PlayStation studios

Sony Interactive Entertainment is putting Guerrilla Games managing director Hermen Hulst in charge of PlayStation’s Worldwide Studios. Hulst oversaw Guerrilla’s production of the Killzone games and, most recently, the blockbuster open-world adventure Horizon: Zero Dawn. Now, Hulst is responsible for guiding all of PlayStation’s first-party teams.

In a press release on its corporate website, SIE explained that Hulst will work closely with all 14 development groups under Worldwide Studios. Over the life of the PlayStation 4, Sony shifted its focus to more cinematic single-player adventures. And Guerrilla’s Horizon is the epitome of that strategy. Now, Hulst can bring the experience of building that game to all other Sony teams.

“I have worked closely with PlayStation and the entire Worldwide Studios family since 2001,” Hulst said in a statement. “And I have the utmost respect and admiration for the creative talent and ambitious ideas within the network of studios across the U.S., Europe, and Japan. 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.”

Hulst is taking over this job from Shawn Layden. In September, Layden suddenly left the role he had since 2016.

Hulst was already acting as a leader for PlayStation Worldwide Studios

Hulst’s promotion comes as SIE is launching Death Stranding around the world. That is the new open-world delivery simulator from renowned Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima. But Hulst was key in the realization of Death Stranding. He enabled Kojima’s team to use Guerrilla’s Decima game-development tools to build his project from scratch. Hulst even has a cameo in Death Stranding.

That leadership is a huge part of what earned him his new role.

“Hermen is one of the most effective and well-respected leaders in the video game industry,” SIE president and chief executive Jim Ryan said. “He is a passionate advocate for the teams he leads. And he understands how to empower creative talent to build great experiences. Worldwide Studios is a critical part of the future success of the company, and we must deliver on the promise we have made to gamers to create imaginative and exciting content that is truly unique to PlayStation. I have no doubt Hermen can lead our teams to deliver compelling and diverse experiences at a steady cadence.”

This means that Hulst is leaving his position at Guerrilla. Studio veterans Angie Smets, Jan-Bart van Beek and Michiel van der Leeuw are taking over that job.

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