The President of SCE Worldwide Studios talks in more detail about the exciting titles coming to PlayStation.
Of the titles shown at E3 2009, which ones will define PlayStation in 2009 and 2010?
There are many titles that will define some areas of what PlayStation represents.
Gran Turismo 5 and Gran Turismo (PSP) will define the ultimate racing experience on home console and portable gaming systems, not just for PlayStation platforms. Uncharted 2 and God of War 3 will define [the] action adventure experience of PlayStation, MAG will define the massive online shooter experience, Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time will define the platform action experience, Heavy Rain will define the new way the interactive story is told, EyePet and Invizimals will define the augmented reality experience for the kids and family, Mod Nation, LittleBigPlanet (PSP) and LittleBigPlanet Game of the Year edition will define the "play, create and share" experience that LBP kick-started last year. For 2010, TRICO:The Last Guardian will define the way the emotional connection is made between the characters in the game and the game players.
What can you tell us about TRICO and Gran Turismo (PSP)?
TRICO:The Last Guardian is the brand new game from team ICO, I used to call them "the Olympic team" as they took four years to make ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, but this time they are taking one more year to develop TRICO. I'm painfully aware fans of the team's work are waiting for the game globally, so it is a shame we have to make them wait for so long. I apologise, but please rest assured once the team feels the game is ready for release, it will make as much of an impact as the last two games did when they came out. Team ICO is developing a new way the digital characters can make an emotional connection to the players, taking full advantage of the PlayStation 3 platform. Please watch out for more info later.
Gran Turismo (PSP) is not a port or a cut-down version of Gran Turismo, but is a brand new, full Gran Turismo experience specifically made for PSP. The game is tuned to play well on both PSP-1000/2000/3000 and PSP Go, and has been specifically designed for playing on the go. It's carefully made to be very accessible to a casual racing gamer, too, so is a perfect title to get introduced to the Gran Turismo series. It will [also] have a connectivity function with Gran Turismo 5.
Additional game downloads such as expansion packs seemed to play an important part for PS3 titles, especially in the last year; do you see this continuing?
Yes, this is continuing and will be accelerating this year and beyond. More and more games will have additional content and features released after the initial release of the title. This content will be based on feedback from users and will introduce improvements over time as well as providing new extended play for the title. Creating and maintaining close contact and communication with our community around our titles is increasingly becoming crucial to the successful expansion of our franchise and our business. All PS3 systems already come equipped with Wireless Internet capability and a Hard Disk Drive out of the box, not to mention easy sign up and lots of free downloads available on PlayStation Network, so exclusive new online content and services will continue to encourage a larger portion of PS3 users to connect to PSN.
In terms of emerging technologies, what are the key trends we should look out for?
The explosive growth of social network and social network gaming. The lifestyle of consumers is rapidly changing; we will be incorporating more and more of this new trend into our titles as well as to platform services. With better integration of this technology, our consumers will become more aware of what their friends are playing, enjoying, recommending and purchasing, become able to compare their accomplishments, exchange opinions, help solve issues, give feedback to the game creators, compete and collaborate with each other.
Also, look out for advanced user interface technology, various sensors, cameras and input devices. With the advancement of both hardware and software technology in this area, we are able to offer a much easier to use, immersive and responsive experiences to a wider group of consumers. We'll look to expand our market beyond our core gamer, male 18-35, by providing ground-breaking and unique ways to let consumers interact and enjoy our games.
Have you already started looking at any new technologies such as 3D gaming?
We have been working closely with Sony Electronics group to showcase a glimpse of 3DTV technology (stereoscopic gaming) at various occasions, including this year's Consumer Electronics Show and Game Developer's Conference. What we have shown at these events only scratches the surface of what the new technology can do, but even a short demonstration has gained a strong reaction from people who saw or experienced the demo. The immersive feel of being in the game is very exhilarating, feels like going on vacation or visiting a theme park with the whole family at home. We are very excited with the possibility of what this technology can offer to gaming and will continue to work with Sony Electronics to explore how best to bring stereoscopic gaming to PlayStation.
What are the plans for supporting the launch of PSP Go?
We have been working to release our UMD titles, old and new, via electronic distribution so consumers who buy PSP Go will have an extensive line-up of games to choose from on day one. We are also working on some titles that take best advantage of the form factor of PSP Go, like games that you can play with the screen closed by using only the L and R buttons for example. We are very excited to see an enhanced portability of PSP Go, which will definitely increase the occasions that our consumers will be able to enjoy our games on the go. We have the biggest and best line up of PSP first party titles this year, all of which will be enjoyed on PSP Go as well as PSP-3000.
Creating things is fun. We were confident that if we could add intuitive and user friendly creation tools to a game like LBP, then our users would really enjoy this. In a way it was pioneering, but in another way it was really obvious. The real secret in making this successful is down to the genius of talented teams like Media Molecule, who have the creativity and discipline to make such a vision work.
What has been really exciting for everyone is the way the community have embraced this, with over 725,000 user generated levels having been created and uploaded already. This experience has taught us much about what our users want, and how to react to the direct feedback we get from consumers. They want more tools to create more variety of types of games; this is where we are hoping Mod Nation could fit very well into.
The real beauty of creating is that it means different things to different people and we can all create different things in different ways. So when you look at games like SingStar and Buzz!, the ability to create videos of your performances or make your own quizzes are very natural and social ways of being creative. When we combine the ability to create with the ability to share over PSN, it creates a very strong community activity and adds more fun to the whole experience. On SingStar, over 100,000 videos have been uploaded, whilst on Buzz over 175,000 user generated quizzes have been created and uploaded.
As the PlayStation audience continues to grow and diversify, how do you decide which games to put into production?
We work with the network of studios and marketers worldwide to discuss and evaluate our line-up of titles and potential new IP development, strategising what new audience groups we'd like to reach on each platform and make sure we match our offering to the strategy. We manage our portfolio of offerings to maximise the value we deliver from our investment. As we continue to expand the audience for PS3, it will become increasingly important that we offer a variety of content to cater to different needs of different audience; we pride ourselves in having delivered something for everyone successfully on our past platforms. We have creative teams who excel at delivering games for a mass audience as well as for core gamers, both of which are very important for the continued success and expansion of our platforms.
How is Heavy Rain progressing?
The game has always been very exciting due to its innovation and ambition. Trying to create something that doesn't fit within the conventional genres is always challenging, but due to Quantic Dream's heritage and passion, we knew they would be able to make this a reality. Prior to E3, we got our hands on the alpha code and could really see how the vision could be realized in a very compelling way. It was great to let others get hands on with the demo at E3 and get all the reactions. It will be great to add that feedback back into the cycle so we can produce a game that is innovative, of broad appeal and the highest quality.