The lights are on
After the PlayStation Move press conference, I sat down with Sony Worldwide Studios VP Scott Rohde to talk about his company's game development philosophy, the unsung features of Sony's new technology, and the arduous task of turning cynical hardcore gamers onto motion controls.
When Sony launched the PlayStation 3, the company got a lot of flack for not coming out with the big guns like God of War, a true Gran Turismo, or a SOCOM game. Instead you chose to develop new IPs like Resistance, Infamous, and LittleBigPlanet. As we're moving through this console generation we're seeing a lot games that publishers keep pushing – like Tony Hawk or Guitar Hero – suffering from over-saturation. Was it a conscious decision by Sony to put some of its brands on the back burner to give them breathing room so they don't lose their cachet?
Good question, that's one of the best, unique questions I've heard all day. It's something that we're actually really proud of at Worldwide Studios. There's an element of truth to what you said about building new IP because it does keep some of our existing properties fresh. It's also because we think we have a lot of great, creative teams. Sony has a heritage of introducing new IP all the time, and I think it gets people excited. If a game gets too stale, then it's going to go away. But it also lets us build up excitement for stuff like what's going on next door [the God of War III launch event]. When God of War III comes out it's a big, big deal.Let's jump to the topic on everybody's mind – the PlayStation Move. Reading forums and interacting with our readers, there seems to be an underlying sense of apathy about motion controls. What would you point to as a shining example how the Move may change the core gamer's preconceived notions?I think that the game we're looking at across the street here – SOCOM 4 – the approach that we've taken with that game is that for those hardcore, skeptical, bitter gamers who say “ah, I've seen this already,” they can play this game the way they've always played it, on the DualShock. But on that same disc you're going to get a new control scheme. It's going to allow those people to try it and see if they like it better, and I'm convinced that some percentage of those hardcore gamers may actually like this controller better. You're also going to get a group of new people who perhaps were intimidated by the DualShock. So I think we have the best of both worlds there. We've seen a lot of news about older titles like LittleBigPlanet and Heavy Rain adopting this technology as well. This this going to be handled via patch, a DLC add-on, or perhaps a new retail product?It's something we haven't announced yet, but our teams are definitely looking at titles to see if anything makes sense. But in general, it's more of a forward-looking technology for us to enhance games that are coming out in the future. One of the things I'm curious about is how the changing colors on the controllers. How does that work?You're the first person who's asked me that and that's my favorite feature of the device. There's a bit of magic that's involved with the color. The developer has control over the what and when of the color experience. In addition to just “hey, I've got four people in the room, I need a blue, yellow, green, and red,” it can change. You can come up with game concepts where perhaps four people are standing there with the controller and they all shuffle and land on the color, and you have to react to what's on the screen based on what color lands on you. Or if you're playing a game that gives you the ability to cast spells, before you do so it could flash blue if you're going to cast an ice spell, it could flash red if you're going to case a fire spell. There's a lot of unique opportunities with that color sphere and people are just scratching the surface. Any game where it's being used as a shooting device, it makes sense for it to flash like a muzzle – orange, yellow, red – every time. Not every game is going to do that, but it's out there.During the presentation you announced that there are three ways people can get the controller – standalone, in a bundle with the PlayStation Eye and a game, and packaged with a console. You're also trying to appeal to a very wide spectrum of gamer. Are there going to be different bundles that, say, target the family oriented consumer with a game like Move Party with one SKU, and target the hardcore gamer with something like SOCOM 4 in another?To be determined, but you know how marketing folks work. I'm the product development guy, so I don't make those decisions, but those are all conversations in process. I'm sure there's going to be a wide variety, and closer to launch a lot of that detail will be shared.
Email the author Matt Bertz, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
I'm still not fully conviced that it will be anything more than a Wii mote with a ball on top of it.
Nice To See that Sony won't forget about the hardcore gamers, I also have a Wii and 360, and the Wii has some greatg games (If made by Sega, Square Enix, Capcom, EA, and Nintendo themselves) Others are just LAME. I look forward to seeing this "MOVE" controller playable on Sony's most beloved games, as well as the Microsoft's Natal, and New and Better Wii games this year.
"Year Of The Gamers" right here Ladies and Gentlemen.
I get the same vibe from Sony about the Move as I got from the Republican Party this last election. They KNOW they've got something with potential, but even they're not fully convinced if their own product is worth it.
They need to be more forthcoming with what they're going to do with this thing because right now it looks like the hype is quickly dwindling. Kinda like when everyone SAW Sarah Palin. But as soon as she spoke up, the party was over!
yea its a will knockoff so. I still plan to get one. a games a game.
Looking forward to hear more about it. Hope it keeps looking good and hope it works easily with the hardcore games.
I need to see some serious games before I pay $100 for this.
You know how there's always the "me too" movies that come out during the summer? The "Deep Impact" to "Armageddon?" "Thirteenth Gate" to "The Matrix?" "Transmorphers" to "Transformers?" You know how sucky and shameless those movies always are for riding on the coattails of someone else's original ideas and hard work?
Goodness me, did I say that out loud in an article about the Playstation Move? Where are my manners? Good job Sony with your innovation and hard work. Keep it up.
its about time they came out with a black wii, lol
I think Sony's done a wonderful job with this, and with this announcement, it looks like they're starting to generate the hype for this fall now... =)
i like this but I need to see an rpg use this such as a folklore 2?
All you haters should reserve judgement until you ACTUALLY USE the device. Im not saying its groundbreaking, but give it a chance. Besides, I still think there are more possibilities for the "Move" than Microsofts eyetoy.. err.. uh I mean "Natal".
I know this will appeal to a small percentage of people, but what is it that Sony does not understand that this has already been done before? Sure, they will make it more precise and put a glowing ball on the end that changes color which is a great concept if you like hallucinogenic drugs or stop and look at every shiny object you pass by, but it does not alleviate that fact that you are still playing a game by flailing your arms about like an idiot.
Good interview, glad they are allowing the option to play with the Dualshock controller and not force everyone to use the motion control. I'll get it for the sake of it being a Wii-like motion controller and I am interested in seeing how much better it is then WiiMotion Plus.
We may see a sword game like zelda actually get some good sword fun other than just shaking the remote.
no madder what Ps3 is gunna top the charts with the motion controller against Wii and xbox360. If Wii was selling their consoles like hot cakes because of their motion controller, then the PS3 MOVE will blow out of the waters of consoles selling. If you think Xbox 360 Natal will kill the competition of motion controlling generation, think again. What games can you use the Natal with, only sports and that kid that can talk to you. But can it have shooting games where the real gaming is? NO! How the hell is the Natal computer gunna know where you want to aim the gun and how the hell are you gunna move the character around continuously forward. Also when 3D TV's come out, the PS3 will have an upgrade installation on 3D Blue-ray DVD's.
You will see this commercial in Oct and Nov of 2010:
Mom: What would you like for Christmas this year, Timmy? How bout a Wii? Its fun for the whole family!
Timmy: That's great mom but now the PS3 does the exact same thing as a wii, and has more versatile and better games, is in HD, has a blu-ray player, and provides online play for free. I mean it costs more but you always told me "you get what you pay for" right?
Mom: Well my little Timmy is growing up. Looks like the whole family will be enjoying a PS3 this Christmas.
I really like xbox and wii but the ps3 just offers so much more right now. its gonna take the lead this fall in month to month sales.
The only thing I really liked about this article was Sony talking about how they love cutting their dev teams loose on new IPs. I just wish they would stop trying to push the Vibrator down our throats. (although I'm sure there will be uses for it eventually...)
I'm excited in everything they have in store for this, and I really liked their approach of all the news IPs they brought onto the PS3. If we had just gotten franchise titles, we would not have had all these other great games. Sony seems to have a lot of talent with choosing new IPs (exclusives, that is). Lately, they're doing a lot of things right and I'd like to see them keep it up.