Sony Interactive Entertainment has confirmed they will be globally publishing two Chinese-developed games, Convallaria and Lost Soul Aside. Both titles are set to be released on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 in 2023 and early 2024 respectively, according to the recent PlayStation China Hero Project launch event (via Superpixel).
China Hero Project is a big initiative by Sony to support small indie developers in China and help expand their games to a global audience. The project went through two phases in 2017 and 2019 and has since supported 17 titles such as Hardcore Mecha, ANNO: Mutantionem, and In Nightmare, all of which are developed by small Chinese teams that have joined Sony's initiative. Sony is now looking to expand its project through a third phase, with larger teams and bigger investments compared to the previous two phases, as reported by Reuters.
"The scale of the third season will far exceed the previous two," said Bao Bo, Sony's director of China game production. Bao revealed that Sony has invested a lot in both Lost Soul Aside and Convallaria in the second phase, and has high hopes for them. Tatsuo Eguchi, the newly assigned president of SIE Shanghai also said that Sony's goal is to sell twice as many PS5 consoles in China as they did with the PS4, and their funding for the third phase will exceed 1 million yuan ($140,079.57) for each game introduced to the initiative.
According to Yang Bing, head of Ultizero Games, which is currently developing Lost Soul Aside, he has been looking at the performance of games such as Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Demon's Souls for inspiration and will be utilizing the PS5 capabilities to bring the best version of the game to players. As for Convallaria, the PVE/PVP online shooter by Loong Force aims to attract players through a combination of aesthetics and fast-paced animations, in addition to a smoother battle gameplay experience.
Reuters reported last month on the fierce competition between Sony and Microsoft regarding the Chinese market, and stated that Genshin Impact was a primary source of revenue for Sony, implying that it might be the driving force behind the third phase of the China Hero Project. Microsoft is also currently building a team to scout for Chinese games and invest in developers with big money offers. The Shanghai-based studio Recreate Games is one of those targeted studios and was reported to have signed a deal with Microsoft for its upcoming multiplayer title "Party Animals" to release exclusively on Xbox.