Your company is making a shift from Community Games (now known as Indie Games) to PSN, specifically PSP Minis. Why the departure? Is it a service preference or an ease of development preference?
It's not a departure per se – we make a bunch of games under the Halfbrick Fridays brand, which are smaller, casual games for a variety of different platforms. This includes iPhone, XBLIG, PC, and obviously now PSN with the Minis service. We also work with publishers making games for platforms like DS and PSP, but Halfbrick Fridays allows us to test out ideas and try different games to see what fits and what we can take further. When we settle on a concept, it's just a matter of refining it and polishing it up to release on the most suitable platforms. Which isn't a small matter, but it's a matter nonetheless ...
Some of your games were shown in the Minis video at GamesCom. What games are these? Will they be available on October 1? How much will they cost?
These games were (in order of appearance) Halfbrick Blast Off, Halfbrick Zombies and Halfbrick Echoes. You'll notice our range of smaller games has Halfbrick in the title, and this isn't some bizarrely coincidental typo! This way we can establish ourselves in a digital download marketplace with ease and effectively nab a space in a catalog. Next time you see an addition from Halfbrick, you know it's going to be super sweet!
The games represent a wide variety of genres, including gravity/physics based arcade, puzzle and action, and good old fashioned shootin' 'n' killin! The release dates aren't finalized, and it's likely they won't all come out at once, but we are certainly doing everything we can to get them out there as soon as possible. As for pricing, we haven't settled on specific amounts. As Mini games, it's pretty safe to say that they will be cheaper than, say, full-fledged PSN games.
Our other Halfbrick Fridays game seen on some trailers is Halfbrick Rocket Racing, which I believe Joystiq posted about a short while back. This is something which will be released on XBLIG [Xbox Live Indie Games] within the next week or so, but we're thinking it could be more. Stay tuned. Keep updated. Watch the skies.
Has Sony revealed anything about where Minis are going to be on PSN? Do you feel your product will be easier to find on Sony's service than on Xbox Live?
Unfortunately no details have been revealed yet. Will it be easier to find? Well, Xbox Live focuses on high-rated and popular content with its tab system and box art; with the general library of games a bit more difficult to access. On the flip side, Sony has a different way of cataloging content with more of a list view from the very front page of the PlayStation Store. There are advantages with both approaches, but without seeing what the Minis section will look like, I can't say for sure.
Nintendo has already established a service of its own on its handheld: DSiWare. Why not develop for that platform?
Why not indeed! It's not something we've ruled out at all. We've been developing for the DS (and GBA before that) for years, but just recently we've branched out and tried some new projects. So many ideas, so little time!
Can you talk about the financial incentives for creating Minis on PSN? What are the royalties? Do programs like the Pub Fund extend to PSP Minis?
Money! Let's talk about it.
"Raskulls is our flagship movie whereas Minis are our indie flicks."
Has Sony set up a patch structure for Minis that will allow for ongoing, free updates like those for iPhone apps? Are there demos?
There's no word yet on how this will work. I also don't know if the Minis will have some kind of demo or trial period. Sorry chaps!
It definitely won't be a Mini – Raskulls is a massive project that should be one of the biggest titles on XBLA. It's kind of like a movie studio which starts up a smaller production company to make cheap yet effective movies. Raskulls is our flagship movie whereas Minis are our indie flicks. Raskulls is a new IP which hopefully becomes an ongoing license, so there's no reason we couldn't have a spin-off mini game with the Raskulls name at some point. Then there's a whole bunch of sweet merchandise that could come out. Would you like to see King on your boxer shorts? We can do that for you.
Will Minis development be kind of a stepping stone for the company to get in on PSN as a whole? Will we see traditional PSN titles from Halfbrick in the future?
This is an interesting idea for our games themselves. There's shouldn't be many barriers for us getting on PSN as a company, we just need to have the right game for it. The right idea could come from one of our Fridays games, and therefore it would "graduate" with a massive overhaul to reflect the quality standards on PSN. On the other hand, our next big downloadable game could be something entirely different and new. Or it could be Raskulls 2: The Smashening (not an actual game ... or is it?). We hope to release some pretty cool stuff over the next few months and keep the updates coming.
Thanks for your time!
You are more than welcome! Just remember -- when winds of despair are blowing, soar above them -- like an eagle.
Um, thanks for your time!