December 12, 2012 12:00 AM | Staff
Brighton, UK-based studio Futurlab is living proof that, when it comes to pitching your indie games to big-name publishers, persistence can win out in the end.
Back in 2007, the tiny outfit pitched its first game PRISM to Sony, and it looked like things were going to work out. Unfortunately, a next-to-zero budget and a few false starts later, and the situation was looking a bit more rocky. Sony wasn't so interested in what Futurlab had to show anymore.
That's when James Marsden and his team decided to go for broke, and throw up space puzzler Velocity on the PS Minis service -- a game that Sony had previously rejected multiple times. For a lot of other studios, this may have been the end of the tale -- but not for Marsden, who today signed a deal with Sony to released multiple titles for the PS Vita in 2013.
"We just had to get something out there, and PS Minis was our only option with next to zero budget," says Marsden of the company's tricky past. "We put everything we had into Velocity, keeping our fingers crossed that if we over-delivered for the platform, we'd get noticed. Fortunately that has paid off!"
Indeed, Velocity was well received by critics and gamers alike, and was more than enough to finally garner the full attention of Sony.
"We've built our relationship with PlayStation because they're receptive to indies with good ideas," says Marsden. "I watched [thatgamecompany's] Jenova Chen and his team from afar and thought, 'I'm going to do that!'"
With this new deal, Futurlab keeps control of its IP while Sony provides the studio with the funds to develop PS Vita titles. But how will Sony's involvement change the little company?
"Our plan is to scale up massively, tripling our team from 3 to around 10," laughs Marsden.
"The main difference is that we'll have an elevated level of production value to match up to our ideas," he adds. "I wouldn't go expecting AAA from us just yet, but we've been hiring recently and have found some absolute gems that are going to help us deliver a higher visual fidelity in our products, and there's more good news on that front to announce later this year, which should get our fans very excited indeed."
Futurlab isn't just taking Sony's money -- it will also have PlayStation's marketing team and access to Sony's PR channels, meaning that getting the word out in future will be less of a struggle.
As for what Futurlab is planning as its first release, a teaser website is currently live with some sort of announcement scheduled for later this week -- worth watching out for if Velocity was your cup of tea.
[Mike Rose wrote this article originally for sister site Gamasutra.]