Friday Double Eleven, the studio behind the successful Little Big Planet PS Vita release issued a statement on their website stating they are going to venture into video game publishing.
In their statement they talk about how independent studios focus largely on the PC, iPhone and Android markets, however see very little presents on the PSN store. It is indeed true that the PSN has not seen a great deal of indie titles over the years and has somewhat lost that market to Microsoft, making this is a rather interesting move to say the least.
Double Eleven however are hoping to change this in the hope of bringing some of the best indie developers to the PSN. They state in their blog that indies are “…missing out on the huge 100 million strong PSN membership.” and claim they can greatly increase the audience size by bringing their titles to the PSN.
It’s very interesting to see Double Eleven looking to bring more indies over to PlayStation and begs the question; are they are working on behalf of Sony. It is of course no surprise to anyone that Sony have over the past year have been trying to improve their PSN service in an attempt to draw more people away from competition, and in my opinion it has been working well.
With the amount of free game giveaways and goodies Sony already offer on the PSN is it really much of a surprise they are making a move on the indie market. This feels like a pre-emptive strike from the Sony camp in-line with the next generation of consoles, no doubt Sony has seen how lucrative the indie market is becoming and wants in.
This revelation from Double Eleven is an interesting one and does raise a whole host of new questions about this new publishing venture. For me the most prominent question is have Double Eleven struck up a deal with Sony to do this?
With 2013 promising to be another huge year for indie developers how will this move to bring indies on to the PSN effect the indie market? And can they compete with the likes of Microsoft and Valve for this heavily contested market? Be sure to leave your comments below.
Earlier today Re-Logic published their first video of the new Terraria port coming to consoles. The video has been put up exclusively for the fans who are following them on Facebook but will be published more publicly as the day goes on.
Terraria is a 2D side scrolling adventure game with construction elements that resemble Minecraft on a very basic level, but deviate much more. Terraria is more focused on exploring and adventuring then Minecraft with the ability to fight a whole host of monsters along with many unique and difficult bosses. The 2D side scrolling elements do resemble the classic Castlevania games, always a good game to model any game on.
Terraria has already been a massive sensation on the PC selling over 1.6 million units and after only playing the game for a short time it is easy to see why. The lure of exploration and RPG esque elements allowing you to better equip yourself via random drops to improve your chances to actually beating the increasingly more difficult bosses that you will encounter.
Re-Logic really did hit a gold mine crossing the creative elements of Minecraft with the adventure state found in classic 2D side scrollers making this hybrid, which is just great fun. With the ability to play co-op with your friends it really makes Terraria a fantastic game, soon to be available on your favourite consoles.
The Video shows a lot of the gameplay that has already been established within Terraria after the numerous updates, however at the end it does indeed hint that the console versions will include new content that has yet to be released on the PC version. The video released on the Facebook group page can be found here, so judge for yourself. I am greatly anticipating the wave of new players for this awesome little title from a fantastic studio.
For all the latest news as it breaks be sure to check back to The Indie Game Magazine or follow us on twitter @indiegamemag
Over the weekend Eurogamer Expo hosted tens of thousands of gaming fanatics in the UK’s biggest gaming exhibition. Eurogamer this year hosted many new up and coming titles, both from the AAA market and the indie scene, with the Rezzed indie booth. The Rezzed indie booth allowed the public to get a hands on preview with many new titles from great indie developers such as Muse game’s Guns Of Icarus.
The whole show was a great experience with many competitions, exclusives and great developer conferences to fill up the 36 hours the Expo was open. Over the total four days at the Expo I was able to talk to many indie developers to find out a little more about their games and their studios overall, providing a very interesting insight into their current works. So expect to see many exclusive interviews going up on IGM over the next weeks along side previews and reviews for the latest indie titles shown.
Like any Expo it had a whole wealth of characters with the Cosplay fanatics, some highly intricate whilst others being a last minute attempt, but all entertaining. There was even a Resident Evil zombie make-up section to allow people to become zombified and shamble around the Expo floor, nothing completes a gaming event like zombies after all.
Not all the fun however happened on the floor area, with conferences held with developers and panels ranging across many different fields. The conferences not only created a podium for big publishers but they also opened their doors to Dean Hall the creator of DayZ, giving a very informative talk about his ambition to create the full stand alone game. As well as Introversion Software talking about their long history and the development so far on Prison Architect.
Along side the developer conferences Eurogamer Expo hosted the Games Industry Fair. The fair had a lot of interesting booths to check out about the gaming industry, with Friday hosting the highly informative career sessions covering how to make indie games to video game journalism. The VOD’s for the Games Industry career sessions can be found here.
Now with things slowly getting back to normal expect to see a great deal more information from Eurogamer Expo come to the site. Be sure to stay tuned to The Indie Game Magazine for the scoop on the Expo.
Since being announced at last year’s E3 show, Papo & Yo has become an increasingly interesting game for an assortment of reasons. First off is its weird and wonderful world; a quasi-Columbian slum with colorful favelas to meander through, used as part of the game’s environment-based puzzle design. Though the manipulation of the surroundings can be impressive, it’s actually quite a simple concept we’ve seen many times before in a different skin. As far as spectacle goes though, it’s pretty great stuff.
Behind all of this arbitrary gameplay design is something much more painful. Papo & Yo is a personal tale of childhood abuse; derived from creator Vander Caballero’s early years with an alcoholic father. This is realized in the game through Vander as the protagonist Quico and his monster-friend who, upon eating too many frogs, turns into a frightful force of destruction. Quico has other friends who help him too, as part of the puzzles but also in healing this worrying childhood.
That’s the kind of auteurism that pangs a game with some bite, though it’s not made known to the player unless they research the game and discover interviews that bring up the subject. In-game, this serves merely as inspiration, given the game a metaphor hidden from the player. Hopefully they will feel the pain and fear though.
Then we have this latest E3 trailer, displayed before us a whole year after the game’s initial introduction to us. What it seems to add is less of this painful back story and, surprisingly, less focus on the game’s puzzles. Instead, we have a rich culture imbued into the game – that of the game’s setting and its protagonist. The beginning of the trailer showcases Quico’s other-worldly trip around the favelas as nothing more than a school boy but by the trailer’s end we see him made up as a tribesman. Our presumptions are that his journey has led him to become a warrior, bearing in mind the abusive childhood lingering in the background.
Well that’s our reading of it any way but it’s definitely a fresh feeling that we’re being offered. A rarely seen injection of culture into a puzzle game. Papo & Yo is increasingly layered with plenty of of good stuff, meaning that if the puzzles remain only as spectacle there should be plenty of other things to get our teeth into.
Papo & Yo is a PSN exlusive and will release sometime in 2012.
Our marvellous leader, Mike Gnade, has been pining and winging and moaning about Snapshot for ages (you wouldn’t believe). “When is it coming out?” “When can I play it?” “It looks amazing, doesn’t it?” So he will be happy to find out that it’s coming to PS Vita and PS3 this Fall, thus joining the ever increasing line up of rather good looking indie games on Sony’s new handheld gizmo.
Snapshot, by the way, is a 2D puzzle platformer by Retro Affect whose lead designer is none other than Kyle Pulver of Offspring Fling fame. You play as a robot called Pic who has a rather special camera. With it he can take pictures, or rather you will be, of the environment to remove it and then paste it back in at a different position. Slightly hard to grasp that without seeing it though isn’t it? By any means, you can read a hands-on preview from Mike himself (prepare for a gushing) right here if you’re so inclined.
This is the first commercial game from the studio but it’s been looking rather polished in our eyes (or at least Mike’s) for a few years now. The main mechanic certainly appears to be unique, even for a puzzle platformer, and we’re told that this evolves and is used in many different ways as the game goes on as you might have already guessed.
We can only presume that Snapshot will still be landing on PCs as well as the PlayStation gadgets when it hits this Fall. Check out the new trailer below:
More information on Snapshot can be found on the developer’s official website.
This one is hard to really classify as indie. But it doesn’t really fall under the heading of mainstream either, or retro, for that matter. It’s a bizarre, obscure grey area… so why not write about it anyway? Prolific Japanese devhouse FromSoftware have been darlings of game critics worldwide these past few years, thanks to the Souls series (Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls) re-igniting people’s passions for old-school, hardcore dungeon crawling through strange and hostile lands. But it’s not like those games came out of nowhere. In fact, right up until 2003, FromSoftware were still making that same brand of uncompromising action-RPGs.
Shadow Tower Abyss (2003) was the last they released, before mothballing the concept until the release of Demon’s Souls on the PS3, years later. It was due to be released stateside, published by Agetec, but Sony turned the game away at the last minute, despite a full translation already being complete. As such, the game was quickly forgotten outside of Japan until a few months ago. Thanks to a heroic (albeit belated) effort by the Sword Of Moonlight community, Shadow Tower Abyss is now available to play fully in English. So long as you don’t mind bending the rules a little. And have either a modded PS2 or a respectably beefy PC so that you can emulate it.
Okay, this is a niche story, but it’s worth a mention anyway. STA is an interesting game; a sequel to Shadow Tower on the original Playstation, which in turn was a spinoff from the venerable King’s Field franchise, which in turn were the origin of the Souls series. Complex family tree aside, it’s a pretty odd blend of styles. It’s a first-person survival action RPG with an unusually Lovecraftian setting and a mix of medieval, modern and mystical combat styles. The controls are very clunky, deliberately limiting your maneuverability and attack precision, and the graphics certainly aren’t great for their time, but it’s a highly atmospheric experience nonetheless.
Playing as a young, unnamed explorer, you’re on a quest to discover the origins of a supposedly mystical spear once wielded by a long-forgotten king. Your trusty old jungle guide leads you to a cavern in the middle of nowhere, and armed with nothing but a crackling old torch and an M1911 pistol you step inside. The entrance quickly seals shut behind you, and you drop your torch, which fizzles out. So, you’re trapped underground in the dark with only a handful of bullets, and there’s something vaguely humanoid in the distance, clutching a spear, staring at you with glowing yellow eyes. Not the best way to start the day, really. There’s a definite Cthulhu-esque vibe going on here, starting with a jungle full of hostile creatures, then a descent into an ancient alien ruin that links into strange otherworldly dimensions with their own hazards and even weirder inhabitants.
Loot, gear and stats aplenty. This is an RPG, alright.
If you’ve ever played a King’s Field game, the formula is going to be familiar. This is an old-school hostile mega-dungeon, filled with monsters that want you dead, loot that will barely keep you alive, shops that barely stock anything worth using, and a deliberately limited view-distance to keep you guessing what’s down the next tunnel. The twist here is that it drops the traditional RPG progression of the King’s Field series in favor of slowly improving your stats passively through killing monsters, and the occasional sharp boost being offered by finding consumable ‘soul’ items. In addition to your standard RPG range of swords, axes, maces and other medieval death-dealers, there’s a basic magic system and a range of firearms from throughout time, from flintlock pistols to 1960s Russian machineguns, although ammo is in scarce supply.
There’s no doubt that the game is pretty badly dated now – it was clunky when it first came out – but it’s still an atmospheric and satisfying experience that shares a lot of concepts and themes with the new wave of hardcore dungeon-crawlers. If you’ve got the means to play it (a modded PS2 or CPU-heavy PC), and the willingness to put up with an awkward control layout (although Control Preset 4 gives you something akin to modern FPS controls), it’s well worth a look. Oddly, the translation patch itself is a hard to find download, with the Sword of Moonlight community instead opting to just host the full pre-patched ISO. You can find the download in this forum thread here. Given that the game is almost a decade old and was never released outside of Japan, there’s no harm in grabbing it, but I’d love to see an official release one day via PSN.
NPCs in STA come in three flavours: Hostile, Dead or Dying
As an interesting aside, the community that produced this translation have been sitting on a little gem for quite some time as well. Any fan of FromSoftware will recognize the name of the Sword of Moonlight – the magical (or hyper-high-tech) superweapon that appears in almost every game they produce – but not too many know that it’s also the title of a ‘Make your own sadistic dungeon crawl’ studio package they released on the PC, many moons ago. You can find the SoM RPG maker, as well as several full-length freeware games created with it at the Sword Of Moonlight site here, and even a translated version of the original PSX King’s Field. Nifty!
After becoming quite the hit on PCs and Xbox 360s, block-breaking triumph, WizOrb, will be making its way to new platforms as a PlayStation Minis title. There’s not too many games that of recent release that take the classic Breakout formula as a base for gameplay, but Tribute Games have managed to do it with style. The story is a classic one involving the invasion of evil and the defending of the population performed by a wizard by the name of Cyrus trained in the art of WizOrb.
As Cyrus is a wizard, there are plenty of magic spells with which to spice up the otherwise fairly typical gameplay of the genre – lots of block breaking – and it is the upgrades that will keep you hooked. Teleporting the orb, controlling it indirectly and sending it off towards those pesky blocks while ignited are just some of the variations. The effects made all the more sweeter due the game’s low-pixel count colorful aesthetic.
As a PlayStation Minis title, WizOrb will be available on PSP, PS Vita and PS3 when it’s released some time in June for $3.99. Until then, you can pick it up for PC, Mac and Linux on the official store or on the Xbox Live Marketplace if that takes your fancy.
More information on WizOrb can be found over on the game’s official website.
Sony have announced that an open beta for their PlayStation Suite SDK is to arrive in April with the full version coming later in the year, shockingly, it’s only going to cost $99!
Since November 2011, the PlayStation Suite SDK has been in closed beta, with testers from Japan, the US and the UK giving it a go and providing feedback. Sony has announced today that the open beta for the SDK, which incorporates all of the feedback from the testers, will be available next month. It will be a “phased rollout”, expanding to other countries besides the original three that were used during the closed beta phase.
“Through the introduction of these SDKs, SCE will offer a more streamlined content development environment for content developers — from large game development companies to small, independent shops”, it reads in the press release.
Additionally, Sony will rollout an update to the Suite for Japan, Canada, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Australia. This will include “improving the PlayStation Suite presence on PlayStation Store for users who want to enjoy a variety of content with ease and convenience on their PlayStation Certified devices”.
PlayStation Suite is to allow PlayStation Store products to operate on portable devices, essentially crossing the gap that previously existed. Developers will also be able to conduct performance verification of their content developed with the open beta version on the PlayStation Vita. The Suite also enables developers to have their content distributed through the PlayStation Store, essentially hitting PS3, PSP and Sony’s Xperia range too.
The best news of the lot is that the the PlayStation Suite SDK will only cost $99, whereas back in November 2011 the rumors were touting figures nearer the $1000 mark. Not too bad after all then.
You can read the full press release regarding this news over here.
Well, for those of you without Windows-based PCs we’ve got some good news. It looks like popular first person puzzler Q.U.B.E. is set to land a few other places before it complete’s its developmental life. In a conversation with Joystiq, co-founder Daniel Da Rocha said that a Mac version was two months into development and that an OnLive version was also on the way. They’re also prototyping an iOS version although there’s no guarantee with that.
Stickmen Studios’ invent and adventure game Doc Clock: The Toasted Sandwich of Time is heading to the Playstation Network sometime soon, so says the New Zealand-based developer. The port will receive Move motion control support, a sandbox level to tinker around in, and new in-game abilities.