Features: Move's First Year - Part One
Posted by Jamie O'Neill
Its first four months
As PlayStation Move celebrates its first birthday this month, it is an apt time to look back at our year of content and share with you the news and reviews that were a highlight of Move’s year. Starting with Part One of this ‘Year in Review’, we look at the months from its September launch release through to Christmas 2010. If you consider in September 2011 the importance of Sony targeting core gamers with Move titles, the debate that Move’s full potential has not been fulfilled, the prevalence of PSN titles utilising Move and the role of Wii ports or patches for older PS3 games, it may be of interest to reflect that these issues were already being articulated within the first four months of the peripheral’s release.
News, September 2010
The PS Move express train left the station in full force, not just with its EU release date of Wednesday 15th September 2010, but as Movemodo reported that a multitude of Move demos had hit the PlayStation Store on the same day. Two days later, on Friday 17th September, Move was available in the shops for UK gamers and a few North American stores began to release the peripheral early, even though it was not officially due in NA until Sunday 19th September. Sony’s marketing machine was gifted publicity from a surprising source as a video for Lily Allen’s new shop also included a brief glimpse of the playful popstar wafting around a Move wand. On the games front, patches started to land for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, MAG and the critically acclaimed Heavy Rain. Movemodo also interviewed VooFoo Studios regarding their snooker/pool title Hustle Kings and the ball started rolling for gun accessories as Icon’s Battle Rifle and double-pack of pistols were announced.
Arguably the most exciting piece of news was that a Move conversion of the wonderful on-rails Wii shooter, Dead Space: Extraction, would be included with the forthcoming Dead Space 2 and a rumour that the hotly anticipated Fumito Ueda designed game The Last Guardian may include Move support. This rumour gained a smidgen more credence in July 2011, but has not been confirmed, as of yet.
Best Games, September 2010
Things quickly became busy reviewing PS Move’s launch line-up; our first review — Sports Champions — awarded a 7/10 to Zindagi's game, noting that it did “a nice job of showing off the capabilities of Sony's new Move controller.” Both Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition and Heavy Rain scored an 8/10 and demonstrated that Move controls could be well incorporated into a game that was originally designed for DualShock 3. Another two 8/10 scores were awarded for World War II game R.U.S.E. and virtual pet simulator EyePet: Move Edition. Satisfyingly, R.U.S.E. highlighted that Move controls were a great fit for the RTS genre and EyePet demonstrated an “impressive grasp of the technology behind Move and a friendly, open challenge-based structure that can appeal to all.”
PlayStation Network (PSN) games also got off to a fine start, with three of the PSN reviews scoring 8/10, including the aforementioned Hustle Kings, the “refreshing puzzle game” Flight Control HD and the tower building puzzler Tumble.
News, October 2010
October began with the news that LittleBigPlanet 2 would not have Move support from day one on its Blu-ray, but a downloadable content option would be available later on to implement motion controls. Killzone 3 was prominent this month, firstly as Guerrilla Games’ producer, Steven Ter Heide, anticipated that DualShock 3 players would “run rings” around Move players as fans of Sony’s wand acclimatised to FPS motion controls, and secondly as it was set to receive a gloriously extravagant special Helghast Edition on its release in February 2011. Another gun attachment was announced, CTA Digital’s submachine gun, which managed to look mean, despite a slightly blocky Lego exterior. As Halloween loomed, Sports Champions received a DLC "Haunted Pack" of spooky characters and items, but unfortunately David Jaffe was clear that Move support was not a “good fit” for Twisted Metal, so any killer clowns with a sweet tooth racing towards PS3 would not be motion controlled.
In ‘don’t fix it, if it ain’t broke’ news, the perfectly fine titled game Heroes on the Move was renamed PlayStation Move Heroes and the ‘potentially awesome’ news of the month was that ex-SEGA legend Yuji Naka told a UK newspaper he was “already working on a few different projects on Move and Kinect.” We also interviewed Seed Studios about their forthcoming fantasy RTS game, Under Siege, a game which did not surface on PlayStation Store until June 2011, but was ultimately worth the wait.
Best Games, October 2010
Movemodo dished out its first ever 9/10 score in October and even though NBA 2K11’s Move controls were “not great”, we still recognised it as “one of the finest representations of any sport seen on a console.” The second standout game for this month was the FPS Massive Action Game (MAG), which scored 8/10 as the review carefully analysed the motion controls, noting that “Move support is yet another way for players to refine their skills in MAG”. A number of 7/10 scoring games filled up our review rota, with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 and John Daly’s ProStroke Golf simultaneously teeing off and Toy Story 3 proving that a licensed Disney movie title can provide heaps of family gaming fun, even if it only provided one short Move minigame.
Although there was only one PSN review in October, the chance to spin your way to a turkey in High Velocity Bowling was welcomed, especially as bowling has grown to become a sport that is well suited to motion controlled gaming.
News, November 2010
As the launch window was underway talk began to focus upon the sales potential of PS Move as Michael Pachter, the gaming research analyst for Wedbush Securities, indicated that the peripheral had the potential to sell over 10 million units before the end of 2011. Meanwhile M2 Research’s senior analyst, Billy Pidgeon, pinpointed that Sony’s best approach would be to target core gamers with PS Move (roll on Killzone 3). Sony’s technical wizards were also vocal this month, as a retrospective video showed Dr Richard Marks and Sony’s team assess the legacy of the EyeToy and Sony’s engineer, Anton Mikhailov, noted that Move could be even more accurate, but acknowledged that many studios were not yet utilising it to its full potential, a debate which is still relevant a year after Move’s launch.
Mikhailov also recognised that PS Move would work brilliantly in a Star Wars game, a point that we wholeheartedly agree with: after all, the orb is perfectly coloured for either a Sith or a Jedi lightsaber. Just as PS Move won Popular Science magazine’s ‘Best of What’s New 2010’ award, Capcom not only predicted that an evolved PS Move controller may feature with PlayStation 4, but that its Move-enabled version of Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition was the “Best Move game out there.” The only disappointing news of the month was that Sorcery magically disappeared off Sony’s coming soon list, and it had still not shook off its invisibility cloak at the time of writing.
Best Games, November 2010
November was our busiest review month out of all of Move’s first year, with twelve retail titles and three PSN games being scrutinised. The Sly Collection bagged our second ever 9/10, as alongside the quality of “a series that is not to be missed”, there were four Move controlled multiplayer minigames. November was a great time to be active and shed some pounds, ready to put them all back on again at Christmas, as Get Fit with Mel B, SingStar Dance and The Fight: Lights Out all received 7/10 (the latter in particular was commended for pushing to deliver 1:1 motion tracking gameplay). In a showdown of the arcade on-rails shooters, Time Crisis: Razing Storm's 7/10 shot down The Shoot’s 6/10 in a content-packed blaze of glory. It takes a brave developer to duel against the years of experience of Namco’s light-gun expertise.
News, December 2010
As Wii gamers were enjoying painting their way through a Disney wasteland in Disney Epic Mickey, Michael Pachter was predicting that Warren Spector’s game may eventually head to PS3, presumably with Move controls taking the place of the Wii Remote. The latest gun attachment for PS Move, the Sharp Shooter, was deservedly gaining attention as a “Serious Bit of Kit” in our news section, just as Insomniac was deciding whether or not to include motion controls in anticipated 2011 FPS game, Resistance 3.
Elsewhere in the news, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe head Andrew House acknowledged that it was the games that define Move’s success, remarking that while marketing was important during launch, ultimately content would determine if gamers embraced the peripheral. After Beat Sketcher impressed Movemodo in our November review, the game’s audio director, Ichiro Ebisu, raised a smile by releasing a video in which he performed a rendition of Joy to the World, while bopping up-and-down to the music, wearing a party hat.
Best Games, December 2010
It was not the greatest month for retail games, with only the hunting game Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2011 being able to manage a score of 7/10.
However, PSN releases were far stronger during December, as the tower defence game Swords & Soldiers blitzed its way to a 9/10 score, with our reviewer noting that “while Move is completely optional in this title it's highly recommended as it becomes much easier to control your troops and cast spells.” At the end of the month, another PSN game was awarded an esteemed 9/10, with the MC-Escher inspired puzzle game echochrome ii being praised because “it makes great use of the Move controller, and never feels gimmicky.” Finally, for any gamers who fancied slinging a few arrows towards the bullseye’s hummer spot, without the pressure of rebounding off the wiring, Top Darts scored 8/10 and was described as being “enjoyable, polished and best played with a group of friends.”
All that was crammed into just the first three months of Move's availability. Check back in the coming days for our recap of the start of 2011 and beyond.