Can Indie Games Save The Vita?


We’re on the verge of some big announcements out of the Sony camp regarding the future of the PlayStation, most of which will hopefully shake things up a little to revitalise an ailing brand. There’s no doubt that Sony hit a few brick walls over the last two years, such as the poor performance of the Move peripheral and a lack of support for the Vita, but there seems to be some indie light at the end of the tunnel.

tominplayIn the past week alone we’ve heard of a number of planned changes to the Vita brand in Japan, including a welcomed discount and a number of JRPG’s headed our way. But it’s the news of two indie titles that will soon make their debut on the handheld that could play an even more important role.

Hotline Miami was rumoured to make a jump to Sony’s handheld late last year, but now it has been officially confirmed. Dennaton Games will be working together with Abstraction Games to port the neo-bloody romp to Sony’s handheld (as well as the PS3). A Virus Named Tom will also be spreading its way across the pond, having made a name for itself on PC. Both titles are expected within the next six months or so

Sure two games may not change the landscape completely, but it’s a small step in the right direction. Considering some of the best titles on the system stem from the indie market as well (Mutant Blob Attacks, Frobisher Says) proves that the platform is a credible fit for indie studios, especially when coupled with Sony’s rather affordable SDK, a move they made late last year to increase awareness and support of the program.

hotlinemiamiSo with that in mind, what else could possibly make the jump to the handheld? Clearly a majority of iOS and Android titles would fit in nicely given the Vita’s dual touch screen options, but what of a few non-handheld games? Let’s take FTL for example. Given the specifics of its mouse/keyboard control scheme, could it work on a handheld device? Maybe something more tailored to a portable, Mark of the Ninja perhaps? We’ve also heard rumours that Fez could make its way to other platforms in the future…

Okay, so I’m just pulling at imaginary threads here, but why not? If Sony are serious about supporting the indie scene it needs to pull on those loose ends, even the most outlandish ones, otherwise the Vita will crash and burn even more so than it already has. Hotline Miami and A Virus Named Tom can be taken as a sign that the support and interest in the platform from a developer’s perspective is still alive, but will the audience still be there when they arrive?

Who knows, maybe Sony’s announcements today will bridge the divide just enough for the Vita to not only survive, but to also remain a factor within the Indie landscape. A landscape that could stand to be its saviour.

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