Whatever your feelings on the specific games included therein, it's hard to deny that Sony's Gamescom presentation was an impressive showing of support for both independent developers and people who just love games.
One company that has been impressed with Sony's level of support for smaller developers and unique experiences is FuturLab, a small outfit based in Brighton, UK. FuturLab brought us the excellent Velocity Ultra for Vita a while back and is currently working on a sequel, known simply as Velocity 2X. The team was also responsible for a number of lesser-known games that are worth your time: Coconut Dodge (which also recently had a Vita upgrade), the neon-colored PlayStation Mobile puzzle game Surge, and numerous others besides.
"PlayStation is one of the few big players that are actually investing in video games as a medium; keeping creative integrity high," says James Marsden, managing director of the studio. "This is evidenced by their commitment to supporting interesting games from all sizes of studio. You just wouldn't see something like Journey on another platform, and there were a handful of games announced during Sony's [Gamescom] show that could be the next Journey. Whilst there's an increasing trend for monetizing 'users' like cattle in other areas of the industry, Sony are helping the medium to mature, and that's why we're working with them."
It's true; although Sony has taken a couple of tentative steps into the murky waters of free-to-play with games like Ecolibrium and the rather peculiar Toro's Friend Network, for the most part it's still obviously a company dedicated to providing good experiences for its users without trying to extract as much cash out of them as possible. And right through the PlayStation 3's lifecycle in particular, Sony has been the one to bring unconventional or artistic experiences to our living room: titles like Flower and Journey are still unique to PlayStation.
"It was thrilling for us to have our new game Velocity 2X announced as part of the show," continues Marsden. "And it was equally exciting to watch Shahid Ahmad present for the first time on stage. He's achieved something of a legendary status among the developers he's worked with, and it's because he has such passion and integrity himself, working tirelessly to source and secure great games. It's reassuring to know that Sony recognizes the great job he's doing, as much as they realize that independent developers are important for maintaining diversity in the games industry."
Well said. Long may it continue.
FuturLab teased another new game besides Velocity 2X earlier today on Twitter, and said that it would reveal what it was if the FuturLab Twitter account reaches 3,000 followers. It's currently at 2,704 at the time of writing, so if you're curious to find out what this highly creative little studio is up to next, you know what to do.
In the meantime, we'll have some impressions on Velocity 2X when Eurogamer Expo rolls around at the end of next month.
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