Working with PlayStation Move
The launch of Sony's newest venture, the PlayStation Move, is looming ever closer and with rumours circulating that it could be here as soon as July we figured now would be as good a time as any to find out what it is all about.
We caught up with the CEO of Cohort Studios, Lol Scragg, at Game in Scotland to talk about their Move launch title, The Shoot and find out a bit more about how Sony's motion controller compares to the Wii.
You have been working on one of the launch titles for the Move, how has the hardware been to work with?
It has been fine to be honest with you. In terms of working with the hardware, which is pre-beta, we've had no real issues. We've had some tremendous support from Sony, as you'd expect them to. We've built up a good relationship with their hardware guys so we've been able to feedback on the hardware whenever they've updated it and they've been able to come out and address some of the issues we've had in the past with the hardware as well.
The Move has been compared a lot with the Wii. How does it measure up compared with Nintendo's motion controls?
I think because it is a motion controller there is always going to be a comparison. The main difference that we're finding is the level of accuracy is so much greater than we found on the Wii mainly in the z-depth area where we've been able to track the controllers to within fractions of a millimetre. The really quick refresh is also really helpful.
I think one of the problems that it's had in the media and especially in the forums is that people have thought that 'Oh God, it's another motion controller - a different motion controller aimed at the social/casual market'. I think that has happened because the Wii has used that way in the past. There's been a lot of good Wii games that have used it but there's also a lot of poor Wii games, but they've all been targeted at the non-hardcore end of the market.
What the Move can do is open up the motion control style of gaming to a more hardcore market - the more traditional PlayStation/Xbox style market.
What made you choose a rail-shooter as your first Move title?
It was basically a synergy. We were working on a title prior to the controller being announced and when we knew that Sony had plans to create this hardware it was an obvious step.
How did The Shoot evolve into what we've seen in the GDC footage?
The evolution of any game is the same. No matter who you talk to, if they will show you an initial vertical slice of a title's development, compared to the end product there's just no similarity at all. The core game mechanic might be the same but that's about it really.
There has been has a lot of evolutionary steps with The Shoot. We've tried things that don't work. With it being a new piece of hardware and a new method of control there has been a lot of instances where there were great ideas that we thought would work, the hardware copes with them but when we tried them out they just weren't fun.
Not only are we trying to make sure that everything works well with the hardware but at the same time we want to make sure that it's fun as well.
I think that's a problem that the Wii has. A lot of people used the motion controller as a gimmick. There wasn't really a core mechanic and probably could have made the game using a traditional gamepad. One thing that we've tried to do with The Shoot is make sure that it takes full advantage of the hardware and the control method that we have available so we're not using it as a gimmick. You wouldn't be able to play our game without the PlayStation Move.
How does The Shoot compare to other rail shooters out there, especially on the Wii?
What we're trying to do is add an extra rail effect to what the player experiences. We've added a lot of secondary mechanics, which take advantage of the controller - primarily gestures for carrying out specific tasks in the game.
The premise of the game is that it's a shooting game based in a movie set. It opens up a whole load of different ways to make the game interesting and fun for the player. It's quite a simple concept but at the same time it's quite difficult to explain in all the different pieces of the game. One of the reasons is we're only showing off one of the levels at the moment so we can't talk about the other things that we've put in. Hopefully that'll all get shown off at E3.
Sony is putting a lot of emphasis on 3D at the minute. Is that something that you're building into The Shoot or is that something that we might see at a later stage perhaps?It's always something that we can do potentially but we aren't considering at the moment. It's probably something that would work very well with the game because there's a lot of movement within the z-plane.
I'm not a fan of what I call pointy 3D - the kind of 3D you get at Universal Studios where the Terminator points at you out of the screen.
If we use the TV screen as the front plane and have the 3D vectors behind and all that works much better, certainly for me.
What else have you got in the works?
We're always doing something else. We're looking at the different markets. We're looking at social gaming and we have a PSP Mini title, which is our own IP that we may expand on in the future. We have quite a number of prototypes that we will be showing to interested parties at E3.
Anything more for PlayStation Move?
Yes. Again we have some more Move concepts that we're showing to interested parties at E3.