PlayStation Vita God of War idea was "floated" by Ready at Dawn

The studio shares its love of the Vita with us and talks all about preparing for next-gen gaming

PlayStation Vita has sold over 1.2 million units worldwide so far, and the key to the platform's long-term success will be software, of course. Unfortunately, Vita won't be receiving any titles from God of War PSP developer Ready at Dawn, who confirmed to GamesIndustry International recently that the chance to make a Vita God of War game was considered.

Ru Weerasuriya, co-founder and CEO of Ready at Dawn, acknowledged, "It's an idea that was floated as far as what could happen on the Vita. And especially with a platform like that, we were enticed I think by the prospect of doing something on that platform, but it just didn't align with what we wanted, so I'm hoping that they do something on that because I definitely think that they should. There's so much potential for it. But it's something we toyed with for a little while."

With Nintendo's 3DS faring quite well now, following early stumbles, and the portables market feeling the pressure overall from the smartphones and tablets sector, Sony certainly has a challenge on its hands, but Weerasuriya believes in Vita's long-term prospects.

When we asked him whether he thought Vita would do well over the long haul, he quickly responded, "I do, actually. You know, I'm really proud of the way they handled this one because I know how the development of the PSP went, and it was a great first handheld to put out there. But the one thing that they totally nailed with Vita is that it is a handheld gaming console for our time."

"We know what we feel next generation games should be like... And we have very specific goals that we want to hit that I don't think are being hit right now in the market"

Ru Weerasuriya

He continued, observing Vita's advantage over 3DS and iPhone: "I love my 3DS. I play with my 3DS. I used to play with my Game Boy a long time before. I love my Nintendo platforms, but the Nintendo platforms were almost a different kind of gaming experience. The one thing that the Vita does that I think that no other platform still can do - and I know that people argue that iPhones and iPads do - but you still cannot create the kind of content that you could create for a home console on a handheld outside Vita."

"I mean there is some stuff on there that just amazed me and made me almost want to go like, 'Wow, maybe we should have done this, maybe we should have split into two teams.' I don't know, but I think it's got a bright future. It just needs the content."

For Ready at Dawn, splitting into two teams is simply not an option. "I think one doctrine we've followed since the beginning is one game at a time... We want to get everybody's heads on the same thing," said Weerasuriya.

So now Ready at Dawn is taking its one team and applying it to work on an unannounced next-gen project. According to Weerasuriya, it's what his team has always wanted to do.

"When it came to really decide what we wanted to do next, I think most of the guys internally just wanted to do something that, in some ways, we had built this company for. It's taken us time to get there and we've wanted to do new IP, we've been working on it for a while, and we felt the time was right and it was just the perfect alignment of everything that was happening," he said.

"And I think the big thing for us was just that we took the decision early to just skip a generation. I know that most people would have jumped on the current generation... most people ask us that, how do you go from a handheld to a next generation console? I think it's the right thing to do. Sometimes you've just got to make your bets and live by them."

Ready at Dawn currently employes about 60 people, but the goal is to grow "dramatically" as the company gears up for next-gen. "We're actually talking internally about 100 people and that's not counting what we'll need probably outside as well," Weerasuriya said.

So what's the studio working on? What platforms? Needless to say, Weerasuriya wouldn't divulge any specifics, but he did tell us this: "What I can tell you is that it's going to follow the lines of the type of games we make. It's going to be an action/adventure game, single player driven mainly, and there might be other components to it, but really, our goal is to tell a story where we want to be a story telling kind of team the way we built ourselves."

He also explained Ready at Dawn's desire to be prepared for next-gen from the start.

"I think it's in some ways a bigger scale of what we've tried to achieve in the past when we've tackled PSP. The cool thing is that it's a new platform and we're targeting everything that we're doing towards working on those platforms because when those are going to be out you almost kind of [have to be there at launch]. The thought behind PSP, when PSP was out, the thought behind being at the forefront allowed us to really maximize what we could do over its lifetime. So our goal for this game and this IP is really to do that," he said.

"We know what we want to do out of the gate. We know what we feel next generation games should be like, as far as on the graphic side, on the design side, on many fronts. And we have very specific goals that we want to hit that I don't think are being hit right now in the market. And I can't say much. We've achieved some of them already in our development. We know the path ahead of us, and we've made some good decisions on what we wanted to do."

Even with next-gen on the horizon, Weerasuriya admitted that the first titles we see probably won't represent a massive leap forward. "The funny thing is that usually the last titles on the previous generations are very comparable to the new titles on the new generation," he said. "So it's going to be a matter of time before people really take advantage of the new console... but I think out of the gate, because we've actually jumped a generation, we've been a lot more focused on doing something without having to think about the current generation, which might be a benefit I think for us."

Finally, we tried to press Weerasuriya on whether he already has a PS4 or next Xbox dev kit or if he's working with estimated PC specs. He wouldn't comment on whether he has a dev kit, but he did note that Ready at Dawn always works from a PC engine, "so we always know that our PC engine works regardless of what happens with other platforms."

"That does allow us to have some freedom when we want to test things, where we don't have to either wait for dev kits or do stuff. And sometimes, like I said, you have to make bets. It might not be the right bet when the dev kit comes out, but at least it allows us to always have something working. And that's something we've kept alive now for nine years."

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By James Brightman

Latest comments (21)

Private Industry 10 years ago
The PSP GoW games where great and good luck to them for their next project. I would have loved to see a GoW game from them on the Vita but it makes sense that they want to get into the home console market.

The smaller graphic leap between final current gen games and launch next gen makes also sense because unlike last gen there isn`t that jump from SD to HD.

Given they are not that huge of a studio and working already on next gen I wouldn`t be surprised if they are backed by Sony given their previous cooperation that went very well and he usually talkes singular instead of plural :D
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 10 years ago
Someone the other day described the Vita to me as Luddite, which was not unfair.

The iPad 3 overtook the Vita on total sales after just 2 days in the market. Says it all.
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Doug Paras10 years ago
Bruce you are so blind it makes me sad, if I bought a iPad which I won't it would be for Internet and movie watching abilities. I would never buy an ipad for playing games, cause it just doesn't have the tools for a true gaming experience. Acting all superior cause the Ipad which has a vast larger Target Audience then the Vita is so foolish. Bruce you remind me of those who talked about how Written print would die cause of the Internet, well the Internet is over 50 years old now and I still buy newspapers.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Doug Paras on 21st March 2012 8:28am

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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 10 years ago
@ Doug. False analogy.
The WWW as a mass consumer service is not 50 years old. And newspaper sales are plummeting. And Amazon sell more electronic books than paper books.

The Vita is closer to the Sam Coupe. Old technology brought too late to a market that had moved on.

I would suggest that you are a games enthusiast and thus in no way representative of the wider mass market. The 700 million Angry Birds players are mostly not games enthusiasts.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 10 years ago
@ Bruce - "The 700 million Angry Birds players are mostly not games enthusiasts."

Precisely; the majority are unlikely to ever want a games system which has been very clearly targeted at core gamers, so I don't understand why you insist on continually making this comparison. You seem to believe that the iPad/iOS is cannibalising the handheld video game system without exception, and that they absolutely cannot co-exist. Surely the sales of the 3DS prove that there is an audience for a proper portable console (even if it is dwarfed by the number of people who want tablets or smartphones), and further I would question whether you can show me any iOS or Android games which have the content, depth or complexity of something like Mario Land 3DS or Wipeout 2048.
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Private Industry 10 years ago
Old technology? The Vita has a better CPU than the iPad 3 and doesnt waste resources on a too high resolution. Like it or not but iPad is not for core games. Its shape is a problem for once you cant hold it in your hand and play yoi habe to put it on a table and who cares about 600 million angry bird players, the vita just needs to sell more than the psp to be a success. There are not 600 million core gamers but that doesnt mean its not a viable market.
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Charlie White Software Support Analyst 10 years ago
@Bruce Go play a Vita and get familiar with its games and OS.

I dare you ;-)

It's only then you can make a more coherent argument.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 10 years ago
@ Charlie.
I am not a hard core gamer, so I may just as well buy a house brick and carry it around with me.
The CPU doesn't matter. More people play Angry Birds on ARM processors than there are Xboxes, Wiis, and Playstation PS3s put together in the world.

Consoles were a blind alley. They were a walled garden forced on the market to act as an anti piracy dongle. Now publishers have found other business models and other platforms they are allocating their resources accordingly.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bruce Everiss on 21st March 2012 11:10am

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Private Industry 10 years ago
iOS apps are great, its a starting point for people to the world of gaming. Especially younger people who grow up then wanting larger gaming experiences and go to pc, consoles or handhelds but it doesnt work the other way around that gamers say that skyrim, batman, uncharted, cod or any other game gives them too much and they would rather play angry birds and stop playing those games.

You can buy a normal car or a Ferrari, 99.9% buy a normal car and 0.1% a Ferrari, but that doesnt stop them producing and selling them and making money out of it just because its not aimed at several hundreds of million people doesnt mean its not a viable market.
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Private Industry 10 years ago
The business model is better if you dont make core games. Apple lacks the support given to core games that you have on consoles. You make games for the platform where your audience is, you wont see EA going to switch to iOS and bring their core games out there and give more priority to that than to consoles. If you think that you dont understand the core games market.

The 600 million angry birds players who play only iOS are not the customers who will buy your core games. The core gamers will not migrate to iOS.

The Japanese market has a huge mobile gaming business for over 10 years and neither thit that kill consoles or handhelds nore did it kill core games. Its not black and white, either or. There is viable market for both and you fail to understamd this. Because you are not into core games doesnt mean that nobody else is.
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@ Bruce

I tend to walk around with my IOS for reading mags, books and productivity. There are a few casual games on the IOS, but it does not garner as much game time as the hand held 3DS or Vita, which is where all the gaming can get done during travel time.

As Werner put it eloquently, horses for courses - please be a grown up and accept that not everyone will have the same view, but please feel free to contribute to good healthy games discussion and debate.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 10 years ago
On topic though, I do love Ready At Dawn and look forward to their next project. I was under the impression from stories on Eurogamer that it was likely to be a PS3 project, although they seem a little evasive on the issue so I wonder if it is going multi-format, or they've transferred development to next gen.

I feel it's good that they're not going back to GoW for the time being; give them space to creatively stretch their wings and create their own IP. That being said, if they want to make a GoW Vita in the future, they're more than welcome to :)
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 10 years ago
EA paid $300+ million to buy Playfish so as to get a leg up into social gaming.
Madden NFL 12 is on iOS, as are FIFA, The Sims, Tiger Woods etc etc.
In fact just look here to see what EA are doing:

And core gamers are migrating to iOS. Mobile is taking lots of sales away from console. It is the main reason the console market has been shrinking for the last 4 years. The world is moving on. Console development studios are being closed down all over the place. Mobile development studios are being set up at an incredible pace.

I am sure that there is room for a set top or built into the TV device to play cloud and app games. But consoles as we know them in this generation are rapidly on the way out.
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Private Industry 10 years ago
Shrinking? 360, PS3 and Wii sold more combined units than the last gen consoles thats an increase not decrease. If you add DS and PSP you look at 500+ million units this gen. 3 years in a row a game beats all sales records and outperforms the best crossing movies of all time with ease and all 3 console makers make profit compared to last where only Sony made a profit. This gen is doing a lot better than last gen and console sales for MS and Sony are still increasing year to year.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 21st March 2012 12:15pm

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Terence Gage Freelance writer 10 years ago
Guys, please. We've had this conversation many times, and there's obviously no shifting Bruce's viewpoint on the matter. Clearly there are few of us who wholly agree with him, but he is of course entitled to his opinion.
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NO doubt, setup boxes will feature prominently in the near future and I suspect Sony will always be wanting to push the envelope in terms of technology.

What is getting pretty annoying is having every single piece of thread related to consoles being hijacked by inane one track "the end is nigh" please bring your tinfoil hats.

Can we just celebrate that Ready at Dawn want to make something for Next Gen.
For that mass core game appeal, (it doesnt matter what platform its made on) as long as it has great production values and entertainment.

At some point, a USB controller will probably be the universal controller for input.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam10 years ago
This site needs an "ignore poster" option...
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Robert Barrow Information Security Analyst 10 years ago
I play Angry Birds on my iPad (my kids love it) and also Infinity Blade. They are the pinnacle of the iOS gaming experience and fall so far short of the big screen console experience it's almost embarrassing. The Vita has already managed to transfer that experience to a hand held one which is nothing short of incredible (Uncharted).

The thing with the pick up and play games is that they lack any depth of experience. They are the Macdonalds of the gaming world.

As for core gamers migrating to mobile!? What are they migrating to? There is nothing. And seriously for the price of an iPad you could get a Xbox and a PS3 or a Wii. Or a PS3 an Vita and transfer your big screen experience to a mobile experience as and when you need.

The whole mobile market has a long, long way to go yet if it is to make a serious challenge to any of the core experiences offered by their peers. In the meantime Sony, MS, and Nintendo are all evolving their spheres to engage the simpler tastes and expectations of the throwaway market.
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Matthew Eakins Technical Lead, HB-Studios10 years ago
@ Bruce

I don’t mean to be disrespectful but I think you might be trying to delude yourself. I think you have made a bet on the mobile market and rather than take a really hard look at the business model you are trying to convince yourself on the idea that somehow the hard core game market will magically collapse and move to the mobile market.

"Consoles were a blind alley. They were a walled garden forced on the market to act as an anti piracy dongle."
This statement is just false. Piracy wasn't really an issue when the first consoles came out. When consoles came out their primary purpose was a (relatively) cheap consumer product when PC's were too expensive. Even as modern PC's came down in price consoles were still viable because they offered a consistent development environment. It wasn't until about the Playstation One era that anti-piracy became an important consideration.

"Now publishers have found other business models and other platforms they are allocating their resources accordingly."
I don't dispute that there is a games market on mobile devices but you seem to be suggesting that somehow they are cannibalizing the rest of the industry. Publishers are *expanding* in to mobile and social markets not migrating. EA is still publishing titles for the 360, the PS3. They are publishing games for the iPad, but they are also publishing titles for the 3DS and, yes, even the Vita.

"It is the main reason the console market has been shrinking for the last 4 years."
All of the marketing data out there says that he console market has not been shrinking, it is still expanding. It's not expanding as fast as it was a couple of years ago but that could easily be explained by the PS3/360/Wii all ready have massive market penetration and those consoles are nearing the end of their life cycle. Basically almost everyone who wants one all ready has one and those that don't are waiting for the next generation of consoles.

"The CPU doesn't matter."
No but gameplay does. The iPad is not an ideal platform for first person shooters. I think it's fair to say that there is a significant market for FPS's.

"And core gamers are migrating to iOS."
You have all ready stated you are not a core game. I am. I may have a limited sample set to work with but I don't know anyone who would describe themselves as a core gamer who has suggested that they would give up their consoles for their iPads. They have both, and they expect different experiences on both.

"Mobile is taking lots of sales away from console"
Oh, I'm sure there are some conversions, but a significant portion? I doubt it. Unfortunately I don’t think there is any way to empirically figure out which of us is right. But to use an analogy, does it really make sense that selling a copy of Angry Birds on an iPhone meant someone didn’t buy a copy of Call of Duty on their 360? It’s apples vs. oranges. It could be argued if we were talking about the same game on both platforms but then you are only ‘stealing’ from yourself. And in that case you would need to do a market analysis to see if the lost sales were justified by the additional sales on the new platform.

"Mobile development studios are being set up at an incredible pace."
This is my favorite one of them all, do you remember the .com boom? Same thing. There is a significant market for mobile but unless you hit a Tipping Point (, like Angry Birds, or you have significant brand awareness, like EA, then you have better odds at a craps table in Vegas. The proliferation of free apps on mobile devices has created a user culture where users spend very little on mobile apps. Granted a very little piece of an enormous pie is still significant but unless you have a truly outstanding product and a way to really effectively market it then you have a good chance of falling in to obscurity like 99% of the apps that are all ready out there.

To finish I would like to say that I honestly and truly wish you nothing but success in your endeavors. But I beg your indulgence on this: please stop trolling these forums. You are entitled to your opinion but repeatedly making unsubstantiated and inflammatory statements is fairly unprofessional.
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Private Industry 10 years ago
To expand on Matthews comments some issues that Apple needs to overcome before there is any chance of them competing with handhelds or even consoles and getting core gamers on board. I know Bruce you wont change your mind and view but I like those conversations and to make a final comment for the last time on this so to not further hijack anymore any other articles with this here we go.

The app store doesnt offer good visibility. I would reckon they would need to improve the approval process because right now you can put everything on the app store even almost 1:1 copies of other games. What do you think how happy will publishers be if anybody can make a bad cheap almost 1:1 copie of their game and just give it a slightly different name and apple leaves it up there? Compare that to the console submission process that for once makes sure you cant just copy another game and release it on the console and for the most part makes sure the games are not completely useless junk. That doesn`t mean there are no bad games on consoles but there are no fart games where you just press one button to make a fart noise that sits next in the store between CoD and Skyrim, while there are 50 other similar usefull “games” in the shelve while you have only 2 core games among plenty of not very good stuff. The console manufacturer care about the publishers and the games the consumers get because they need to care about both of them in order to make money. Does Apple need games to make a huge amount of money every year? I doubt it so they don`t need to care about other companies so why make the submission process strickter to get a higher quality or help promote games that would maybe even decrease their profit because it blocks out profit from the smaller apps that sell more versions? The console manufacturers need the developers and publisher hence they give them visbility and support them by promoting them. Apple doesn`t sell more iPads by giving Fifa visbility and promoting the game. It`s the same reason Steam is doing great and has plenty of games they give games the visibility they need and promote the games because they need them. There is a clear symbiosis between the device(service) and software(dev/publisher) that is not present with apple products because they dont depend on core games and they are not willing to give them what they need.

The controlls would are an issue because a touchscreen doesn`t give you precise feedback. As example the iPad isn`t good to hold if you want to play, you need to put it on the table you can`t just hold it in your hands like a controller for more complex games. Apple would need to make a compromise with their designs to make it functional for gaming (see Wii U controller or Vita) and the same point as the submission process why would Apple care and adapt their designs just so games can be played properly on it? That wouldn`t make them enough money and upset the Apple fanboys/fangirls. Apple doesn`t even care if their iPhone is good to hold in the hand or not because the flat back is really bad to hold compared to all other phones with a curved back. It just needs to look fancy.

The hardware and its pricing is another thing. Apple products are overpriced for the hardware you get and they fragment the space by releasing every year a new version with upgraded specs that make newer apps not playable on older devices. I got my PS3 5 years ago for 600 euro and it still plays all games new and old and looking at games like Uncharted 3 it still holds up very well technicaly with current graphics. You got your iPad1 2 years ago for at least 500 and probably if you want to be able to use all apps need to upgrade to iPad3 jsut like many new apps for the iPhone work only on the 3G and 4G. That strategy is fatal for core gamers even PC gamers can play in 3 years all games when they make a PC now, not with the highest settings but they can play them. Apple only upgrades just enough to varant being able to sell the device for the same price as last year that is a little bit better. That kind of strategy doesn`t go down well with core gamers.

It might come to a simple TV box at some point, but it won`t be Apple who is challenging consoles unless MS, Sony and Nintendo went bankrupt because they have a huge amount of the big IP`s that people can only get on their devices and without those IP`s any competition has it more than difficult to challenge consoles. The market is in constant shift and nobody can predict if consoles still exist or how consoles will look like in 8-10 years when the next generation comes out. Nobody knew how consoles will be in 2010 when the PS2 came out because there is always that constant shift and progress in tech that it can`t be pridcted how things turn out. Who knows maybe in 10 years Apple is in a crisis and can hardly shift units. If there is one thing thats for sure it is that nothing will be a success forever and that every company will at some point have problems. Sony did amazingly well in the best in every area they where making devices and now the struggle making a profit.

Lets just all enjoy the games we like on the devices we like without trying to force what we like on others. The Sony E3 show in 2010 with Kevin Butler was actually very fitting for what is going on recently.

Good luck to Ready at Dawn again for the future and it doesn`t matter what business model they go after and what platform they are on, ALL are viable options may it be iOS/Anroid, facebook, home consoles or handhelds depending on the game you make and they are great at what they are doing. :)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Private on 22nd March 2012 2:04am

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Terence Gage Freelance writer 10 years ago
This is why we could do with a forum :)
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