The PlayStation Vita is only about 6 weeks from release in Japan (and about four months from release worldwide), and Sony and it’s third-party partners have already prepared an impressive list of launch titles and games that are in development. Huge console-scale games such as Uncharted, Killzone, Bioshock, and Call of Duty are all set for release or confirmed to be in the works, and there are plenty of other smaller yet equally promising games as well — games such as Hot Shots Golf, WipEout, Little Deviants, and Gravity Rush are all on people’s radar.
Living in an age of excess as we do, though, it’s no surprise that we want more. And not just more: we want what the other guy can’t have. That’s where this list comes in. While I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent with my Nintendo 3DS in the last seven months, there are some obvious hardware limitations — limitations that make the following games a great place for the PS Vita to swoop in to provide them with a loving home.
I’ve already donned my flame suit, just in case. Let’s do this.
Infinity Blade 2
Chair’s Infinity Blade is a ringing endorsement for the argument that gaming on your mobile phone can not only cater to the hardcore, but can also be wildly successful. Games such as Infinity Blade, as well as more casual fare such as Words With Friends, Angry Birds, and Cut the Rope, have shifted the handheld marketplace in such a way that Sony and Nintendo have to adapt if they want their dedicated gaming portables to survive.
The original Infinity Blade was also only ever possible on the iOS platform. It was graphically ahead of anything that the PSP or DS could ever hope to put out, and both systems lacked the proper touch interface to handle the game’s control scheme. The PSP obviously lacked touch controls completely, but the DS’s stylus-reliant resistive touchscreen was also a hindrance.
With the announcement of Infinity Blade 2 alongside the new iPhone 4S a few weeks ago, we have two new handhelds to consider as well. However, the 3DS hasn’t done much to improve it’s chances of having a game like Infinity Blade. While it’s slightly more capable than the original PSP on a graphical level, it still kept the resistive touchscreen as seen on its predecessor. The Vita, meanwhile, packs a hell of a punch under the hood and has a multitouch capacitive display, a more responsive kind of touch display as seen on today’s smartphones and tablets, making it a natural fit for Infinity Blade 2.
In fact, the system’s brilliant OLED touchscreen makes it a great home for many of the Apple App Store’s best games. Hopefully Sony have the foresight to not only attract the smaller developers that would make this possible, but also have the sense to sell the games at a fair price. $4 for Angry Birds as a PSP Mini when the game is available for $1 on iOS isn’t the way to go about it.
Grand Theft Auto V
Aside from a nifty new logo, we won’t know jack about Rockstar’s upcoming Grand Theft Auto V until the debut trailer hits on Wednesday. Rather than think of that as a setback, though, I’ll look at it as an opportunity for wild, hopeful speculation — why the hell shouldn’t GTA V be on the PS Vita?
There are several factors in play that make this a distinct possibility. The most obvious is that GTA has had tremendous success on the PSP platform. Maybe Chinatown Wars could have sold a little better (OK, a lot better), but both Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories were runaway hits. Perhaps the ground-level presentation introduced in GTA III was hard for people to abandon to play Chinatown Wars, but the point is that the other two games sold well into the millions.
Another factor in favor of a Vita GTA V release is timing. Rockstar is set to release Max Payne 3 this March, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see it pushed into May, if recent Rockstar releases are anything to go buy. Keeping that in mind, the absolute earliest that GTA V would ship would be before Christmas of 2012. However, the last time they published more than one console game in one calendar year was in 2008, when Midnight Club: LA launched a few months after GTA IV. It stands to reason, then, that GTA V could see a release in 2013 — well over a year after the Vita is available worldwide. This allows Rockstar and Take-Two to sell the game to a decent install base, rather than resting all of their sales hopes on hardware sales picking up alongside the game.
As for differences between Vita and 3DS, a game like GTA V really brings them out. There are obvious ones such as the raw power needed to run a console-level GTA game, even if it were just GTA IV, and the dual analog sticks make shooting in the game much, much easier. There’s also a matter of storage; I’ll go out on a limb and say that GTA V, whatever it ends up being, wouldn’t fit on a 2 GB 3DS Game Card. While the Vita will launch with game cards going up to 4 GB, Sony have left the door open to increasing that capacity in the future, and I’m sure they’d be more than willing to facilitate that process for Rockstar if they bring a GTA game over.