The PlayStation Vita has fallen on hard times on the sales front, and some are eager to point a finger at the struggling handheld's lack of standout games and small catalog in general. No matter - a new publisher has arrived on the scene, and they're vowing to help turn things around.
Ripstone might be known by the PlayStation hardcore for publishing recent PS3/PS Vita title Pure Chess (a game developed by VooFoo Studios), but the Liverpool, UK-based publisher has way more in store. Speaking with Gamasutra, Ripstone creative director Phil Gaskell gives PS Vita owners hope for the future. "I'm a passionate hardcore gamer, and I love my Vita. I don't see another portable device currently servicing hardcore gamers . . . none of them are dedicated gaming machines as good as this one."
That may be why Gaskell's company is so eager to bring a variety of indie titles to Vita in the coming months and years. Big Sky Infinity, Knytt Underground, and Panic! - all three from different small development studios - are planned to come to Vita before the year is out, and each one will be complete with PS3 Cross-Play (and, presumably, Cross-Buy).
The developers certainly seem happy about what working with Ripstone could do for their business. "My game development is going so well, so I can [make money]!" said Nicklas Nygren, the development lead behind Knytt Underground. "I think it's very silly to have these idealist kind of views that a publisher is always a bad thing . . . If I get the chance to make a game for Vita and PS3 -- why not? It sounds amazing."
James Whitehead - one of the folks behind Big Sky Infinity's Boss Baddie developer - echoed Nygren's sentiment. "I really wanted to work on [Vita], I thought there was a lot of potential . . . it's kinda fulfilling a dream in a way." Ripstone couldn't be happier with Whitehead's enthusiasm: "I loved what I saw [of Big Sky Infinity], and I thought it would make a great Vita game," Gaskell told Gamasutra. "It's really colorful, I thought the colors would pop on the OLED screen."
Nicolas Marinus of Panic! developer Thumbs Up turned down development for iOS to take up the PlayStation flag of loyalty. "PlayStation is this seal of quality," he declared. "Every game that they publish is of a certain standard, and the customers are more loyal. Their fan base is more dedicated, so they're more open to paying for those games as well." He believes that although iOS development is typically an easier affair, you're much less likely to get noticed and customers are less willing to play for quality gaming experiences.
Given the passion of these indie developers, and their excitement for Vita development, I couldn't be more excited to try Big Sky Infinity, Knytt Underground, and Panic! when they launch later this year. Be sure to keep an eye out for these cross-compatible titles from publisher Ripstone, and stay tuned to PSU.com for more on indie development.