Q&A with Creat Studios
PlayStation fans are accustomed with the work of Creat Studios. With an expansive library of PSN-exclusive downloadable titles, such as Mushroom Wars and Labyrinth Legends, the studio has developed a reputation for releasing fun, addicting titles. We spoke to Creat’s Scott Hyman, VP of Publishing about their 21st title, Germinator, and the team’s future with the PlayStation Network.
With such a diverse group of well-rounded individuals making up your team, what is Creat Studios’ overall mission?
Scott Hyman: I can’t say that we have an official mission. Unofficially, it’s to make the best games we can with the resources we have. If the opportunity came to us to make a FPS MMO platformer fighting game, we’d do it. But let’s just hope nobody ever asks for such a monstrosity.
The team has developed and published quite a diverse gaming portfolio on the PSN. How do you decide which genre you want to tackle next?
SH: 90% inspiration, 10% market research. We’re always discussing what to do next, what would be fun to play and fun to make. The best ideas seem to rise to the top. But everyone at our studio contributes. We often like to find a way to tweak existing genres– the RTS with Mushroom Wars, the platformer with TerRover, the bubble popper with Germinator– and then alter them in a way to make them accessible and refreshing.
Your 21st release, Germinator is a great variation to the typical 3-match puzzle genre. How did the idea behind Germinator come to exist?
SH: Germinator was the brainchild of our VP of Development, Jason Benham. A while back, Jason made a PSP Mini called Bubble Trubble that featured similar gameplay, but he never had the resources to push his vision all the way. The team liked the idea of building on a game that Creat had already done, since we could learn a lot from that experience.
Was there any particular reason why you opted to only include local multiplayer instead of online?
SH: We get asked that a lot. Truth is, we’ve found that there isn’t as much demand for it as you would think, and it ends up not being cost-effective. That doesn’t mean we won’t do it. We put online play into Magic Orbz and Smash Cars at launch and players didn’t embrace it. But they frequently requested it for Mushroom Wars, so we made a DLC update that included it.
So, if there’s enough demand for online play for Germinator, we’ll build it.
Will the Vita version of Germinator contain any exclusive content or take advantage of the Vita touch screens?
SH: We debated that a lot. But in the end, we decided that having cross-save, where players can play on either PS3 or Vita and continue their experience on either platform, was the most important feature. So the Vita experience is extremely close to the PS3 one, without anything added.
You’ve provided DLC for past titles like Magic Orbz, Smash Cars, Mushroom Wars and Pinballistik. Should we expect you guys to continue that tradition with Germinator?
SH:We have no plans for it right now, but as I said, that can change at any time. We go out of our way to listen to our customers, and really appreciate their input. If the demand is there, we’ll do it.
Of the titles you currently have available for download on PSN, which one would you like to do a sequel for?
SH: I can’t speak for the team. For me, it’s TerRover. I *LOVE* TerRover… just adore it. I think it’s the most underrated title we’ve made, and we just didn’t put enough effort into making players understand to expect to keep blowing up. But those that get it usually embrace it. I would love to add new locations, physics, puzzles and mechanics for our favorite, brave little Rover.
With a new round of next-generation systems set to be announced, what direction or feature would you like to see included in the next PlayStation or Xbox?
SH: Well, I’m answering this the day after the PS4 announcement, so some of this is anti-climactic, I suppose. The two elements that I really wanted Sony has seemed to embrace: the ability for developers to easily update games without players having to wait for anything, and the multi-screen experience with Vita, smartphones and tablets.
Also, discoverability is key. I want to see Sony and Microsoft go out of their way to make every game easy to find, easy to promote and easy to embrace, without first-party support. I’m not sure yet if PS4 or the next X-Box will do that well. I fear that if they don’t, players will find their hidden gems elsewhere.
Pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible is always fun. But to me, it’s about how gameplay can be enhanced and how much easier it becomes to enjoy the experience for everyone.
Is there a particular reason why you prefer to release your titles on the PSN and not on XBLA? Any future plans on treating 360 fans to a version of Labyrinth Legends or Germinator?
SH: We’ve always been interested in bringing our titles to XBLA, but the reality has been that Sony has simply been an exceptional partner. They’ve been incredibly supportive of us since 2008, when we agreed to develop titles for PSN.
Microsoft’s deck placement and our development just haven’t worked out thus far. But never say never.
You guys have a great style and some of the most addictive titles. What should we expect from Creat Studios with their inevitable 22nd release?
SH: Wanna know what we’re up to next? Check out our blog! We just announced our newest game there: Party With Zombies. It’s either a gallery shooter or a tower defense… or both. I like to think of it as what happens once the Zombies work their way through all the plants in the yard and get past the front door.