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Sony’s New VR Studio Still in Early Pre-Production, Using Unreal Engine 4

Last year it was revealed that Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) – then known as Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) – was building a new UK-based videogame developer that was to work exclusively with virtual reality (VR) technology. The company began a first round of job listings for what’s called North West Studio, which will be working on content for the company’s PlayStation VR head-mounted display (HMD) for the PlayStation 4. Months on, and the studio’s first project is still in ‘early pre-production’, but looks to be using a popular development engine.

PlayStation VR headset

Fresh listings for North West Studio repeatedly note that successful applicants “will join the team early in pre-production so will have ample opportunity to make your mark on the title.” Not only that, but the seven listings currently on offer all note that experience with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine would be a bonus. A listing for an ‘Experienced Game Designer‘ also notes that it is looking for someone with experience in ‘Unreal Engine 4 BluePrints’ or similar software. It certainly seems as if the studio will be using Epic Games’ middleware for its first project, then.

This shouldn’t come as any surprise given that Epic Games has spent much of the past few years making Unreal Engine 4 more and more compatible with VR HMDs. The company has even been developing its own tech demos for the Oculus Rift PC-based kit – the latest example being Bullet Train – though is yet to reveal if it will create its very own VR videogame. Likewise, it’s likely going to be some time before VR fans see anything of North West Studio’s debut project. PlayStation VR itself hasn’t got an official release date or price but is expected to launch in the first half of 2016.

For the latest on North West Studio and all other VR developers stay tuned to VRFocus.