This time last year, early adopters of the Playstation Vita found themselves in the wake of the launch lineup with much uncertainty about the future of the platform. Heading into E3, few titles due out later in the year were known to the public. And E3, unfortunately, failed to alleviate this; the Vita was barely mentioned at the conference. Playstation did manage to release a few exclusive games in 2012, some, like Littlebigplanet Vita, were better than others. But ultimately, the showing was underwhelming due to a severe lack of first party support.
Fast-forward to 2013, and the tune is quite a bit different. E3 is still two months away, and Sony has already has their cannons roaring, showing the Playstation 4 early. They have already confirmed release dates for several big, first-party PS3 titles, including The Last of Us and Puppeteer. Aiming to rectify their mistakes from last year, Playstation has already begun to reveal major third and first party titles for Vita due out this year, with many of them being exclusives.
First up is the previously announced Killzone: Mercenary. Back in January, this game was slated for a September 17th release, much earlier than many expected. There is a lot of anticipation surrounding this game; the Vita is ripe for a great first-person shooter, but has yet to get one that really hits the mark. Last year’s Resistance: Burning Skies and Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified, both farmed out to a small developer, left many with a sour taste in their mouths (though we had a soft spot for both games). Killzone: Mercenary, on the other hand, is being developed by Guerrilla Cambridge, sister studio to Killzone creators Guerrilla Games. Formerly known as SCE Cambridge, this studio has a great track record with the likes of the MediEvil franchise, as well as Littlebigplanet’s outing on the PSP. Hopes are high for Killzone: Mercenary to break the mold and be the first must-have FPS for the Playstation Vita.
Killzone: Mercenary – Gameplay Trailer
Following close behind is the Littlebigplanet creator’s next project, Tearaway, due out October 22nd. Last August, Tearaway was shown as the next big exclusive coming to a Playstation platform from Media Molecule. In a move that surprised many, the game was revealed to be for the Vita, not the PS3. The clue as to why is in the hardware; a major gameplay mechanic for Tearaway involves input on he rear touchscreen. Players manipulate the paper in environment with their fingers, and can even puncture the ground and have “their” fingers appear on-screen. The charm that Media Molecule is known for is ever-present in Tearaway, and it is sure to be a game that their fans will love.
Tearaway – Developer Interview
Finally, there is latest in the Batman: Arkham franchise. Batman: Arkham Origins is hitting all three current consoles and PC on October 25th, and is to be accompanied by Blackgate, a spin-off for the Vita and 3DS. While companion games do not have the greatest track record on the Vita (see Declassified and Assassin’s Creed: Liberation), it is encouraging that the game is being developed by Armature Studios. Armature is credited for the Vita’s great port of Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection , but is perhaps best known for being an independent game studio founded by “key developers” of the acclaimed Metroid Prime franchise. Armature describes Blackgate as being a “2.5D Metroid-style exploration game”. Yes, please.
These three titles are sure to bolster the Vita lineup this fall, and ensure that the Vita has some moderate or better success going into the holiday season. Until then, there are only a couple significant games to keep Vita owners busy; Soul Sacrifice from Megaman creator Keiji Inafune launches on April 30th, and the port of Vanillaware’s cult Wii hit, Muramasa: Rebirth, releases June 25th. Keep in mind that E3 will hopefully herald additional titles and release dates for the system. Games like Disney Epic Mickey 2, Final Fantasy X/X-2, Hotline Miami, Limbo, Phantasy Star Online 2, Stealth Bastard, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Terraria, and Zone of the Enders HD Collection are still without confirmed release dates.
Soul Sacrifice – TGS Trailer