Clever Beans talks PS Vita, PS4 and the future of the gaming industry

(continued from previous page) ...the problems we may have faced. When we began development on the PS3 and Vita version of the game it was not a difficult job to maintain network compatibility between the two platforms – in fact we can still play the game cross-play between our barebones PC engine that we maintain for ease of testing, the PS3 and the Vita all at the same time (unfortunately for any PC gamers reading this, the PC build of the game will never see the light of day).

On top of this, Sony have done a great job of ensuring that their online infrastructure such as match making, ranking and trophy systems are compatible between the Vita and the PS3 platforms, even though a lot of this only came online while we were the developing the game – in fact, we were one of the first games to feature shared trophies between PS3 and Vita. Cross-platform invites are really the only feature missing at the moment.

5. Will When Vikings Attack remain playable on future Sony platforms?

If you’re asking for information about PS4, I’m afraid we don’t know anything about it. We’re not planning a sequel right now, if that’s what you mean. As to whether PS4 will be backwards-compatible, we can only guess; but I would think that is something that would be very difficult to achieve. Maybe it could be handled using cloud-based streaming.

6. How have you found working with Vita? Sony called it the “easiest PlayStation platform yet to build on”. Would you agree?

From a standing start, it’s probably easier to develop for than PS3, because it’s based on more off-the-shelf hardware. The most challenging thing for us was to produce the game on both PS3 and Vita, and to keep the performance as close as possible on both. While the Vita is a powerful bit of kit, it is still a mobile platform, so it’s no anywhere near as powerful as the PS3. For a game that features a lot of physics, animation and character rendering, this imbalance can be quite tricky to deal with.

7. How do you see Vita’s position in the current gaming landscape in an era where many people are getting their portable thrills through their smartphones and tablets?

Vita has its place – it’s got some interesting control options; in particular the rear touch and of course the twin analogue sticks. Those sticks give it an arcade feel that you just don’t get with a phone; a game like ours would never have worked on something like an iPhone, because of the control scheme. There are a lot of iPhone and android developers doing interesting things with touch and swipe mechanics, which is great, but for certain games, those sticks are essential.

8. How do you see the future of casual games on Vita and next-gen hardware? Do you think we’ll see more games aimed at that specific audience?

Well, mobile phones cover that really casual end of the market pretty well. We think that the Vita is really suited to mobile versions of more core games.

9. What are your hopes for PlayStation’s next-gen console? Do you think there’s anything Sony can learn from the PS3 to make its next console more developer friendly?

There’s always a period of learning with a new console. PS3 has a steep learning curve but is actually pretty good to work on once you know it.

We have no insider info on the ps4 but from what we hear it sounds like its architecture is more like a standard PC so the learning curve may not be too steep.

The PS3 store has been improving but still needs a bit of work to streamline the discovery and purchasing process; hopefully they’ll fix this.

10. What’s your opinion on the rise of cloud-based gaming and its future in the industry? Do you think a time will arrive when there won’t even be the need for videogame hardware?

Not really. It’s difficult to predict where technology is going to take us in the long term, but in the short to medium term, we see little point in this. Internet bandwidth and latency across the world generally are still patchy at best, whilst the technology required for (non cloud-based) gaming is all the time becoming cheaper, more mobile and more ubiquitous. So there doesn’t seem to be a lot of point in streaming games from the cloud.

It could be a ... (continued on next page)

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