If you looked below the super-shiny, AAA surface, this year’s E3 was positively teeming with smaller titles. For Sony, a bunch of these were collated by the external development team – XDev Studios. Based out of Liverpool, XDev looks after studios like Media Molecule, Quantic Dream, Magenta, Relentless Software, Eurocom and Sumo Digital, and counts both Evolution Studios and Guerrilla Games among its former colleagues.
Keeping his fingers in a number of pies is producer John McLaughlin, who we caught up with at last year’s E3, representing Reality Fighters. This year, he’s branched out a little, working with all manner of studios and focussing his attentions on augmented reality, with a handful of great little PSN games headed your way real soon.
PulzAR is actually out right now for PlayStation Vita, for a tiny US$1.99 – we’ve had a quick chance to check it out, and it’s well worth John’s enthusiasm. Simply put: There are five huge asteroids on a collision course with Earth – and it’s up to you to fend them off, using things in your real-world environment.
As lead designer Neall Jones explains:
The first Play Card placed is used as the Arena card and draws the level out, then the puzzles use up to 5 Play Cards to place the three types of objects in the game; Reflectors, Splitters and Color Filters. There have been other laser and light based games before, but none of them have let you see the game world and play it on your table top, something that can only be done with the PS Vita.
Even though Big Name, AAA titles may not have fully embraced AR elements just yet (we’re hoping it’s on the way), it’s refreshing to see that these smaller games are taking advantage of the futuristic functionality that’s been built into the Vita. Who knows what the next 12 months will bring!