PSU Staff Writer Will Robinson and Managing Editor Kyle Prahl have been friends for years. They talk about stuff. Mostly video games. Sometimes life and girls enter that equation.
This is their series.
What a way to celebrate the inaugural episode of 'Kyle and Will chat about stuff'! This morning [yesterday morning; we talked about this yesterday], PlayStation gamers the world over were distraught to hear about the cancellation of... a game that most of us forgot even existed. Warrior's Lair, the PS Vita action-RPG announced alongside Vita back in 2011, is no more, and despite my early faith and excitement in this game, I can't find many tears to shed. How about you, Will?
I cried more when I was cutting up an onion about an hour ago. I didn't even know that the name had been changed from Ruin to Warrior's Lair (which to me was a dumb decision). It looked like a cool idea when first shown at E3 back in 2011, but I don't remember ever hearing about the game since then until today.
That's exactly it--word on the game fell off the map after its re-reveal as Warrior's Lair. And I think it's telling that we all sort of forgot about in the meantime. This was one of Vita's earliest announced titles; it definitely showed promise. It was one of the first games to demonstrate Cross-Play functionality, and a lot of the stuff we heard about later--things like attacking the home dungeons of your friends while they were away, looting their stuff, and decking out a base of your own were cool ideas, and definitely helped set this seeming Diablo clone apart.
I think some of Warrior's Lair's "irrelevance" is owed to the fact that different types of gamers are finding the experiences they want on Vita. Fans of triple-A blockbusters have Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, Killzone Mercenary, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, and more. Those who are tied in to the digital ecosystem are finding their jollies with stuff like Guacamelee, Hotline Miami, Thomas Was Alone, Jacob Jones, etc. And if you think about the coming months, Diablo III will be playable on Vita when it hits PS4. I think we forgot about Warrior's Lair because we don't need it. And maybe Sony realized we don't need it either.
I completely agree, especially when you consider Idol Minds closing and the game needing to be picked up by a different developer to finish it. The Sony rep who said that Warrior's Lair was cancelled specifically talked about the fact that even without it the Vita still has more than 85 games coming out for it BEFORE the end of 2013. With such huge titles already out and planned to come out, like the ones you mentioned, Warrior's Lair would've just made a little splash in an ocean of games. It would've been completely overshadowed, especially with Diablo III coming like you said.
It's kind of weird, though. I can't remember the last time a first-party title was just outright cancelled--especially one that was presumably far along in development--at least enough to be shown to the press. There are some mainstream consumers, who don't follow gaming news closely, who might see this news and think, 'Even Sony's giving up on Vita.' Obviously that's not the case, but their E3 2013 messaging didn't exactly help dissuade that notion. The event was given over to PS4 (and rightfully so). What do you think Sony needs to do to push back at Gamescom?
Interesting... You're right about Sony basically abandoning the Vita during the press conference to the PS4, but the show floor had a super strong showing of Vita games. Heck, you were there, you know that. But that still falls directly in line with what you're saying. Apart from the press conferences, E3 is closed to the public, so the average consumer has no idea how strongly Sony is supporting the Vita unless they follow gaming news sites (like PSU!!!!!). To let the consumer know that Sony is heavily invested in the Vita, they need to show it. Gamescom needs to focus mainly on the Vita and the huge backing it has, internally by Sony and externally by developers.
Obviously the PS4 will have a strong presence, because they want a successful launch later this year, but basically all questions held about the PS4 were answered at E3 so there is no reason that they need to spend a lot of time on it. At the same time, it will be very difficult for Sony not to come out guns blazing with the PS4 because Microsoft really only has the Xbox One to focus on, where Sony has the PS4 and Vita. I know, I know, there's still the PS3 and Xbox 360, but those systems are starting to become an afterthought. We know that they will continue to be supported for the next few years, but those systems are practically done with sales. I can see them getting a boost after the next-gen arrives and their prices drop, but hardly anyone is interested in them at the moment, especially when most of their future games will also come to the next-gen consoles.
And every single one of those future games coming to your PS4 will also be playable on Vita. When it comes down to it, wouldn't you rather play Diablo III on the go, where you can bop in for quick bursts of mindless action whenever you've got a few free minutes? Although frankly, the thought of playing that button-masher on Vita scares me a little bit. I can't imagine what havoc a single playthrough would wreak upon my face buttons.
I'll have faith in the Vita/PS4 crossplay when I see it in action. The fact that they were developed alongside each other is promising, but how it is currrently with PS3 and PSP/PS Vita is painful. A great way to show their dedication to Vita and the PS4 would be to have them bundled together in one package. Several people, including IGN's Colin Moriarty, have raised this idea before, and I think it's a good one.
I'm not sure they'll even need to do that, though they definitely will. I think we'll see a notable uptick in Vita sales around holiday season--a greater surge than is typical for the holidays--in response to the PS4's release, especially if retailers show promo footage of the two being used together. After that point, with every PS4 game being compatible on Vita, developers should feel less need to develop separate ports for the two. Ultimately, we'll get more and more Vita games that are built FOR Vita, emphasizing its portability and unique control features. Sadly, Warrior's Lair won't be one of them, though with current levels of interest hardly boiling over, maybe it's smarter that Sony pulled the plug. The San Diego studio must have another task with greater importance...
They would be on track for releasing another MLB: The Show game. I know those games traditionally sell well, but I have absolutely no interest in sports games anymore, especially baseball. Hopefully they've got something new and unique in the works. Their pedigree is solid, but they seem to just do the same games over and over. (MLB: The Show, NBA, ModNation Racers, a couple of PS Move games, and other generic sports titles.)
So you won't be playing Warrior's Lair this year. What Vita game on the horizon has you too excited to care?
Right now I'm working on the Guacamelee! platinum and then going back to Persona 4 Golden to polish off that trophy list too. I really want to get my hands on Muramasa Rebirth, but that already came out, so that's more like looking down than to the horizon. Haha. I think Killzone Mercenary has a lot of potential and I would love a solid FPS to play on Vita, but I'm cautiously optimistic until I see the reviews start rolling out. One title that's hardly been talked about at all that has really peaked my interest is Panopticon. I remember seeing a trailer for it about two months ago and instantly wanted to know more. All I know right now is that its a highly stylistic JRPG from Japan Studio with great-looking cinematics.
From what you can see in the trailer, the game setting is a totalitarian world were everyone has an ID number, with Final Fantasy-like creatures. The name itself apparently is a reference to a prison design from English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, where a single guard can watch every prisoner from a single position without them knowing.
In short, I like JRPGs, I like philosophy, and I like totalitarian lore, so this game is right up my alley.
I'm typing from my phone now.
My vote goes to Pixeljunk Monsters Ultimate HD. I played ten minutes of the original Pixeljunk Monsters with Remote Play the other day. It was fun as hell. I want more.
You can follow Will on Twitter.