Chalk up more serious support for PlayStation Vita - Sega's opening a brand new studio to work on a Vita exclusive based on "entirely new IP".
Gary Dunn, MD of Sega's European development, told Eurogamer that the new game "is not a racing game". But he wouldn't clarify anything else. The new studio doesn't even have a name yet.
"I'll tell you the story," began Dunn. "Sega Racing studio we closed three years ago. What people probably don't know is we retained half a dozen of the brightest minds and set up the Sega Technology Group. We used them across the Sega Corporation in America, Japan and Europe as a product support group - going in at the end of games and making sure everything was working as best it could.
"As people got familiar with PS3 and Xbox 360 their need for support was diminished, but then we started to see opportunities open up on other platforms. We changed their focus to start looking at prototypes: doing innovative concepts on new platforms which really stretched the new technology. Get the first kits from the hardware manufacturers and say, 'Go and play with it, see what it does, and from that give us a pitch.' That's what they've been doing for the last year or so. They've worked on 3DS, Vita and Wii U. They had all that kit through very early doors.
"One of the concepts - that I can't announce in the interview - we were so blown away with that it has gone through our green-light process and we wanted to make. And we thought what better place to make it than to set up a studio? We're very keen to start and grow a production facility adjacent to that Sega Technology Group, and that's the studio we're starting up today."
The new game is "currently" a Vita exclusive. "We're not precluding it from going on to other platforms," clarified Dunn. The game "really does stretch the technology and facets [of Vita]". Quite a boast, considering Sony's new handheld has a touch panel on the back, a gyroscope, cameras, dual analogue sticks and a touch screen.
Dunn hopes to launch the new game "early in the Vita lifecycle". But Sony hasn't committed to a Vita launch date yet, and Sega hasn't yet hired the 15 core staff it wants for the new studio. "It's too early to say," shrugged Dunn, "and depends on when they say Vita is going to launch."
We should see the game "sometime after Christmas", reckons Dunn.
The existence of a Sega think-tank studio to prototype new ideas for new platforms begs the question of whether the Sonic maker has gotten to grips with new Xbox hardware yet (we've heard Microsoft will unveil the console next E3)?
"No they're not at the moment," stated Dunn.
What about new PlayStation hardware - is Sega's Technology Group working with that?
"No, they're not," answered Dunn.
The think-tank studio has, as Dunn mentioned, been working on Wii U. The first fruits of that involvement may be Aliens: Colonial Marines, which was shown on an showreel video during Nintendo's Wii U reveal E3 conference.
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