Monday, March 11, 2013

The Vita third-party desert, no sign of life

I was looking through this blog and other sources to find the last major third-party Vita title announced. Can you guess how long ago that was, outside of Japan? Aside from indies, for whom there is proof that they can make a decent living off the Vita with the right product, and Sony first-party and affiliated developers, the third party well is pretty dry.

Zen Studios have supported the Vita pretty well and the new Star Wars Pinball series was announced and released in short order last month. We await KickBeat from them too, but while Star Wars is one of the Galaxy's biggest brands, and with all due respect to Zen, this isn't exactly triple-A stuff.

So, I keep flipping back through the posts, plenty of Indie stuff; Deathmatch Island, Frozen Synapse, Rocketbirds and many more (which will all help the Vita along), but you have to go back some way until you find something with "system seller" stamped on it from a western developer.

Early in the New Year was news of LEGO Marvel Heroes, but the Vita version will likely be another mobile effort, cut-off at the knees, then there was Spy Hunter from Warner, back in August 2012. But you really have to go way back to find anything vaguely packing some "wow" factor, Need for Speed was announced in June (over 600 stories ago), and then you have to go back to the launch when we were promised Bioshock and a proper Call of Duty title, and look how that turded out.

Now, we know new games are coming, Ubisoft has all but promised more Assassin's Creed, and Sony Bend are working on something plus there are other Sony studios. But the lack of anything from a big player like Activision or EA that can help sell the system is both crippling for sales and alarming for fans of the machine. Are Sony really asking third-parties to hold back on news until some unspecified event oe E3?

Has RockStar really got a Vita GTA Stories tucked away? One that it'll reveal through one of the protagonists on the PS3 version of GTA V playing it in the full game... that'd be cool. Will Square (since western devs seem to have given up) bring another FF: Crisis Core or Dissidia to the party? Where else can you turn for something that will sell a million consoles these days? I'm dying to know, and the longer this goes on the more I suspect it'll be bad news.

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