The news that the superlative sandbox game Minecraft will be available for PS3, PS4 and Vita in a matter of weeks means that a whole new crop of gamers could soon become minecrack addicts.
But, Minecraft’s creators Mojang and 4J Studios, who are creating the port, need to be aware that PS owners are a fastidious bunch, and only prime minecrack will satisfy their needs. So, if the PS version of Minecraft only provides a short hit, or worse still is seen to be a cut product, then many addicts might choose to go cold turkey rather than continue with their Minecraft habit.
So what exactly does Minecraft need to make it a success when it is launched on PlayStation systems?
First, some background. Minecraft is an open world sandbox game that was first released on the PC in 2009. It quickly gained massive success accompanied by boatloads of awards and for many players became not just a game but a way of life. The reason for Minecraft's success is that there are so many ways to play the game, plus many clever add-ons that expand its lifespan, meaning the only limit to how you play it is your imagination. However, will this unparalleled success and innovation translate successfully to the PS? I believe it can as long as the port is handled correctly. Here are three suggestions that I believe will make Minecraft for the PS and Vita a superior 8-bit hit.
Firstly, despite the fantastic graphical abilities of the PS4, Minecraft’s graphics should remain totally 8-bit blocktacular. Why ? Well, Minecraft has a defined look and that is the retro-pixelated style; any attempts to update the graphics to a smoother modern look risks making the game less “minecrafty”. Minecraft has been both lambasted and praised for its "LEGO" look and the first time you play it you can’t help but feel like you’ve fallen through a gaming wormhole. But, it’s a game where at its most basic level you build using blocks, so therefore surely its graphics should reflect this and not need updating ?
Some critics say that because Minecraft launched the 8-bit graphic trend it’s time the game acted its age and dressed in a more appropriate fashion. Minecraft however set graphical trends as the forerunner of block fashion; many later games would emulate its style such as the indie platform antics of Thomas Was Alone or Terraria, the 2D open world side-scroller. To update the look of Minecraft would be like giving a child’s building blocks a makeover into more trendy shapes like polygons. Yes they would look cool, but what use is this if you can’t build? Like your dad at a school reunion disco, Minecraft would feel undressed without its retro fashion sense. So leave the blockly look in Minecraft, please.
Turn the page to see my second idea.