November 9, 2012 1:00 AM | Staff
"Love takes time, Frank. Marriage takes time."
That's Doug Wilson, explaining to me on a brief phone call why Johann Sebastian Joust (above) -- the "digitally-enabled playground game" he designed specifically for use with Sony's motion-sensing PlayStation Move controller -- took so long to actually become an official PlayStation game.
Prototype versions of the game have been a mainstay on the conference circuit going all the way back to the Nordic Game Jam in 2011. To many, it is the Move game, despite never actually being commercially available.
Now, an official PlayStation version of JSJ is finally within reach, and it's not alone. Wilson is putting together a competitive compilation of similar Move-controlled spectator sports by other independent developers into one big Summer Games-inspired party games package called Sportsfriends.
As Wilson himself is the first to admit, it's a weird game. You have to play it with other players, and they have to be the same room. It doesn't really involve looking at the screen -- heck, it doesn't even have graphics (yet). But it had its fans, including Sony, who had "been literally talking to Doug for years about this."
The game has been approved by Sony already, but Wilson needs funds to make it happen. Sony's supporting it officially with Pub Fund, though as with other Pub Fund projects, Sony will provide an advance on royalties once the game is delivered. Wilson needs more than that -- for extra programmers, essentially -- to actually develop the game.
So in what is probably an industry first, Sportsfriends will be funded by both the Pub Fund and -- should he find enough backers -- a Kickstarter campaign.
"I'm not a super serious programmer," Wilson explains. He says he needs to hire extra programmers to tweak JSJ and re-imagine it for a commercial audience. The core game will stay the same, but Wilson wants "to allow players to tweak the base game system in a whole bunch of ways, so that each player community can find their own preferred ruleset."
The Spotsfriends Kickstarter campaign just went live and seems to be picking up some early traction.
[Frank Cifaldi wrote this piece, which originally appeared on Gamasutra.]