New PS5 preservation team could make retro Sony games easier to play

A new engineer at PlayStation has confirmed the existence of a ‘Games Preservation’ team within Sony, meaning we could see more classic games on PS5.

Having started as a senior build engineer this month, Garrett Fredley revealed that he’s one of this new team’s initial hires via social media. Fredley made the announcement on Twitter, which was spotted by user Smitch on Resetera.

Fredley calls games preservation “my first career passion” and said that he’s “ecstatic” to go back. Elaborating on LinkedIn, Fredley explained, “it was my first foray into the world of Software Engineering / Dev Ops, and into a world that so many are unaware of.” He ends this by thanking PlayStation Studios’ global QA manager, Mike Bishop, exclaiming “Let’s go and ensure our industry’s history isn’t forgotten!”

Today is my first day as a Senior Build Engineer at @PlayStation, working as one of their initial hires for the newly created Preservation team!Game Preservation was my first career passion, so I’m ecstatic that I get to go back to those roots 😊April 25, 2022

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Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean we should suddenly expect a wide influx of old games returning to PS5. Sure, Sony’s upcoming PS Plus Premium tier includes PS One, PS2, and PSP games but, as VGC points out, Fredley’s previous work at EA between 2016-2019 saw him leading “preservation efforts for the FIFA franchise, resulting in the complete archival of multiple titles.” Considering many FIFA games are delisted, that could simply mean his team’s working to archive source code and other assets.

Still, the announcement times up well with a recent ratings leak, which revealed four classic Syphon Filter games are coming to PS4 and PS5. Starting with two PS1 entries – Syphon Filter and Syphon Filter 2 – we’ve also got two PS2/PSP releases, Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror and Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow. We’re missing two other entries right now, but we wouldn’t be surprised if both eventually arrived at a later date.

Sony’s taking it’s history more seriously

PlayStation 1 console
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony previously came under significant criticism for not preserving its own history, though not without merit. Last year saw Sony trying to shut down the digital stores for PS3, PSP, and Vita, a move widely considered a blow for games preservation, though they later backtracked on this. When Microsoft expanded its backward compatibility program to let you play original Xbox games through Series X, it didn’t compare well.

Backing up this viewpoint, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan was widely quoted from a Time interview in 2017 about Gran Turismo, saying “The PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?” He’s since backtracked on this, telling Axios last year that he was comparing how much better the PS4 entries looked, saying “I certainly wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to our heritage.”

Thankfully, we’ve seen more positive steps from Sony recently, and this preservation team is a good sign. As part of the upcoming PS Plus revamp, PlayStation Plus Premium includes a “catalog of beloved classic games available in both streaming and download options from the original PlayStation, PS2, and PSP generations.” Right now though, it’s unclear if the Preservation Team is connected to this retro push, or whether they’re focusing elsewhere.

Unfortunately, Ubisoft has just shut down online multiplayer support for over 90 games, which shows that game preservation continues to be challenging.

Sony’s PS Plus relaunch arrives this June. It’ll arrive first in Asia, then be available in the Americas, and Europe – with three new tiers: Essential, Extra, and Premium. Essential’s what the service already provides, giving you online multiplayer access, cloud storage, and monthly downloadable games. Extra adds a digital catalog of 400 games, similar to PS Now, while Premium expands this with an additional 340 games.

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