December 13, 2012

FuturLab Talks PS Vita, PS Mobile And Sony

Indie developer FuturLab discusses what its like developing for the PS Vita, more details inside........

Yesterday, Velocity and Surge developer FuturLab signed an exclusive deal with Sony to produce exclusive content for the PS Vita in 2013, while still keeping the IP rights. We caught up with Managing Director James Marsden to discuss the deal, PS minis, PS Mobile, the Vita and more.

Hi James, congratulations on the deal! How do you feel?

Hey! I’m excited, relieved and pretty damned happy

 Can you tell me about some of the struggles you’ve had to go through – from failed pitches to rejected titles – to get to the enviable stage where now you have access to Sony’s funds, but get to keep your IP rights?

We’ve just paid our dues I think. I had the naive enthusiasm to pitch to Sony without any experience, and whilst we managed to dazzle them with our creative thinking back then, there was no meat on the bones. Over the last few years we’ve proven that we can deliver quality products, and now we’re building a solid team of professionals to carry our ideas forward.

Do you think this financial stability will change your approach to game development?

It’ll allow us to focus more. All of our games to date have been produced under very stressful circumstances keeping bills paid with work for hire.However, we’re going to keep our lean approach to game design; we’ll still prioritize quality ideas and game play over every other aspect.

The press release says that you’ll be working on games for the PS Vita. I assume this means PlayStation Mobile, or am I wrong?

It means native PlayStation Vita titles, fully PSN integrated with trophies, leaderboards, near etc. All that good stuff.

PSN and XBL developers have been highly critical over the costs involved in patching their games, something that can cost tens of thousands. Sony pub-funded titles have free patching, but what about minis and PSM?

I think it’s free to patch the first few times on minis, not sure about PSM – I assume it’ll be free.

I always felt the name ‘PS Minis’ gave the wrong impression – that the games were small and of less importance – but titles like Velocity proved otherwise. Do you think that the name limited the potential impact and success of titles?

My personal opinion is that I don’t think the name was the problem. The technical limitations of the platform were the problem, and minis, rather than being known for quick gaming on the move with online high scores, it became the label for titles that were crippled by limitation. That should be a different story with PlayStation Mobile.

How would you compare PlayStation Mobile to PS minis – both from a development and a business perspective?

PlayStation Mobile is a breeze compared to PS minis. The SDK is better, the tools and documentation is better, the submission process is not only quicker but also easier to get your head around –easier than iOS actually. On the whole I think PSM is a vast improvement over minis.

Let us know if you have ever bought a PS Mobile title on your PS Vita in the comments below!

Full interview over at:

PS Vita Hub ®