This is part of our ongoing series about games and trends of the upcoming next generation.
NEW YORK CITY — Indie developers making games for the PlayStation 4 crowded into New York’s Standard Hotel this week to showcase their wares at Sony’s launch event.
Unsurprisingly, all of them had nice things to say about Sony and its new next-generation console.
GamesBeat stopped by Sony’s shindig to chat with the designers, programmers, and producers behind the next wave of PlayStation indie games. Here’s what we learned.
Sony is scouting for indie talent
Sony isn’t waiting to hear from indie developers. Take Secret Ponchos, the online combat game from independent developer Switchblade Monkeys. The studio was showing Secret Ponchos at PAX East last year, and two folks came up and started playing the game. After 20 minutes, they turned away from the television, introduced themselves as Sony employees, and asked, “How do we get this game on PS4?”
Sony isn’t just searching at trade events, either. PlayStation Network representatives regularly swing by indie meetups to teach developers about self-publishing on the PS4.
And the company’s still receptive to pitches. Honeyslug, the U.K.-based studio behind the adventure game Hohokum, approached Sony Santa Monica because of its reputation for publishing experimental things such as Journey and The Unfinished Swan. After looking into Hohokum, Sony Santa Monica greenlit the trippy, unconventional project for the PS4, PS3, and PS Vita.
Developing for the PS4 is ‘quite painless’
Developing for the PlayStation 3 at launch was a headache. When it debuted in 2006, the console’s multicore “Cell” processor was top-of-the-line tech, but its foreign architecture led to bungled ports, delays, and even canceled projects for big and small studios alike.
Thanks to the PS4’s PC-like architecture, developers haven’t had much trouble bringing their games to Sony’s new console, even if they were originally developed for another platform.
Vancouver-based Klei Entertainment is currently porting the open world action-adventure game Don’t Starve from the PC to the PS4. The game’s audio design, Matthew Marteinsson, said he didn’t have to do much to get the game’s audio working smoothly on the PS4 version.
“It just worked,” he told GamesBeat. “The port over was quite painless. And I think that’s pretty accurate for the rest of the team.”
Switchblade Monkeys originally built Secret Ponchos in Unity, a popular game engine among indie developers, but decided to rebuild it in Sony’s PhyreEngine after signing the PS4 deal back in March. (At that time, it wasn’t clear how well Unity would work with the next-generation consoles.) It hasn’t proved too much of a hassle for the studio, though.
“It’s a good testament to the ease of development on the PS4 that we were able to get it up and running in such a short time,” said Yousuf Mapara, the creative director on Secret Ponchos. “We never had to fight the hardware.”
Stay tuned for more PlayStation 4 coverage here on GamesBeat.