Playerthree talks Chronovolt, PS Mobile and PS Vita
Founded over ten years ago, London-based developer Playerthree has worked on more projects than we can ever hope to count. In October, the studio released puzzle game Loot the Land as part of the PlayStation Mobile launch, and last week saw the arrival of their first full PSN game, Chronovolt, exclusively on PS Vita. Luigi Fumero, Development Director at Playerthree, recently took some time to talk to PS3 Attitude about their games, PSM, PS Vita, and a hint at what’s to come.
[PS3 Attitude] How would you pitch Loot the Land to someone who has never heard of it?
[Luigi Fumero] Loot The Land is a casual puzzle game. The aim is to help your Viking army conquer new territories and pillage castles and towns. The way you do it is via a simple puzzle game mechanic: trace your finger over objects of the same kind to link them. If you link more than three, they will disappear and be replaced by new ones. Depending on which objects you destroy, you either gain gold, mana or send more troops to battle. You need to constantly push your army forward or you will lose the battle. Mana is used to cast spells (you can equip two at the beginning of a level).
Your Viking army will be hindered by various events on the way to victory; they will get drunk, seasick, be attacked by big spiders etc. These events will make it harder for you to play the puzzle game and will require you to do different things like tap the screen or shake the device.
[PS3A] What was it about PlayStation Mobile that made you decide it was the right platform for Loot the Land?
[LF] Loot The Land started life on another platform but when Sony talked to us about PSM we decided to release it for that platform. The game was a perfect match as it required touch only input and it could work on PS Vita as well as all the other mobile devices that support PSM.
[PS3A] Has developing for PS Mobile been a mostly pain-free experience?
[LF] Yes, very painless. The SDK is very simple to use. Unfortunately the game had to be rewritten in C#, but that was not a difficult task.
[PS3A] Sony recently announced that full PSN integration for PSM is on the way, including features such as online leaderboards and Trophies. Will these be coming to Loot the Land?
[LF] It would be nice to have Trophies and PSN leaderboards in PSM games but I doubt it will ever happen without Sony ramping up their QA effort on PSM games. Trophies are too important for PSN users to let games spoil the balance by giving away trophies too easily.
[PS3A] Since 2001, Playerthree has worked on countless projects across multiple platforms, but recently you’ve been concentrating mainly on smartphone titles. Was this a conscious decision, or is it just the way the market is heading?
[LF] It is the way the market is going. We do a lot of games for clients and more and more they ask us for games that run on as many platforms as possible. We do games for web and mobile that talk to each other, games you can play on different platforms and sync your progress. Multiplatform is the way to go.
[PS3A] We also need to congratulate you on the launch of your first full PSN game, Chronovolt, for PS Vita. You clearly put a lot of work into its steampunk presentation, so please tell us a bit about the design process of the game.
[LF] Thanks. Yes, we are very proud of our little baby. It has been in development for quite a long time as the game started a long time ago as a PS minis game. It used to be just a ball rolling game but when we were given access to the first PS Vita prototype dev kits we decided to change the design and aim for a full PS Vita title. We changed the art style completely, added a storyline and most of all changed the game’s mechanics by adding the time-control powers.
[PS3A] You must feel very proud that Chronovolt is among the first PS Vita games to be released for free as part of PlayStation Plus. How did that opportunity arise?
[LF] We have quite a good relationship with Sony and we have been showing them the game on various occasions. As our minis have always done well when part of the Plus offering we have been asking about Plus on Vita for a while and we happened to ask the right question at the right time with the right game.
[PS3A] Chronovolt is currently only available in Europe, and will be arriving in North America later this year. Can you reveal anything more about the NA release, such as whether it will be free with PS+?
[LF] It is unfortunate we did not get Chronovolt released in NA at the same time as in Europe; we would have avoided having people complain about getting Chronovolt when the Americans got Jet Set Radio. It is not our fault!
Chronovolt will be out soon in NA, we are aiming for mid-December and we are working with SCEA to release it on PS+ there too. Unfortunately nothing is set in stone yet.
[PS3A] And finally, can fans of PSM and PS Vita expect to see more games from Playerthree in the future?
[LF] We are not working on any PSM title right now. We are waiting to see where that platform is going. I hope it will get a lot of cool little indie games.
We are in pre-production on our next PS Vita title, I cannot reveal anything, but it is a very ambitious title and we are quite excited about it. As soon as we can reveal something we will let you know.
Thanks for the interest shown in our games. It is really appreciated. A big hello to all your readers.
[PS3A] Thank you very much for chatting with us!