Sony London reveals new IP; Getaway 3, Eight Days 'not abandoned'

While discussing EyePet, art director Nicolas Doucet mentions all-new project, says two presumed-canceled PS3 games are still alive, but "on hold."

Though born in France, Nicolas Doucet is currently a producer and creative art director at Sony Computer Entertainment's London Studio, which is one of the Japanese publisher's core development teams. After passing through the QA and localisation teams of various studios and working on Lego Star Wars at Traveller's Tales, he started at Sony, where he was responsible for EyeToy: Play until 2006.

London Studio's Nicolas Doucet.

He is currently completing EyePet, which is the London Studio's first entry into a new franchise for the PlayStation 3. Though delayed until 2010 in the US, the PlayStation Eye camera-enabled domesticated animal sim is still set ship in the EU on October 23, according to SCEE.

To learn more about the project, reporters at GameSpot's French sister site GameKult.com recently spoke with their countryman about his work on EyePet and two London Studio projects thought to be canceled: Eight Days and The Getaway 3.

EYEPET

GameKult: Where did the idea for EyePet--of combining EyeToy with a kind of Nintendogs--come from?

Nicolas Doucet: With EyeToy Play on PS2, we had a great opportunity. For the first time, we had a camera in the player's living room, which was effectively an invitation to a virtual world. However, today we can't just rely on this surprise to differentiate the product. So we reversed the concept; this time, we have brought a virtual object in the real world. Of all the technologies, augmented reality was the only one large enough to lay the foundations for an entire game. We then grafted a lot of technologies on top, like drawing or fur, but it's augmented reality that's at EyePet's core.

GK: Why have you created "your" animal, rather than using existing creatures, such as cats or dogs?

ND: There were several concepts, not only involving animals. We wanted to pull players in, and it was also natural enough--when your see yourself with the camera--to have a companion next to you. The design of the creature itself has changed enormously. At the start, we wanted the creature to have the face of his master, to inject it with the player's DNA somehow. But we soon realised that it ended up being a little scary. We failed to design a creature that looks like his master and is cute. We preferred the cute side.

GK: What animal is EyePet based on? A cat, a monkey…?

ND: Exactly. First, there is a believable side, with animals such as cats, dogs, monkeys, which we can play with. Then the EyePet can sing, play, and draw, so it needs an element of fantasy. The creature you see is an amalgamation of all those traits. And there is a certain ambivalence with EyePet, which has no sex: It may appear male or female, depending on how it's dressed. We're very happy with the end product, which was the result of a lot of testing.

GK: What will you do with your EyePet? Will it need attention every day? Or will one be able to play with it more casually?

ND: Well, it is a casual game first. I would say that you'll need to spend 15 minutes a day to ensure everything's OK with your pet. But there are also things, such as drawing, where you can lose hours at a time. What happens if I put square wheels on my car? If I put three, five, six wheels? What if I add a spoiler? You can also take and use pictures with personal touches: your home, your family, your EyePet, your games. Once you put it all online, it becomes a bit like Little Big Planet. Those who love it will get lost.

GK: It's easy to imagine postlaunch downloadable content. What can we expect?

ND: There's a store directly integrated into the game, which will be regularly updated with objects and costumes. [The game] will also work using the new motion controller for the PS3. That's part of our plan to support the EyePet brand…and welcome this new way of playing. Subsequently, one can think of new breeds, and other things like that. Everything is possible. But we're still going to ask people what they want before we launch.

GK: Isn't it a shame that you're releasing a game like this just before the arrival of Sony's new motion controller that's being sold as a casual gaming accessory? You're using cards, as in Eye of Judgment to create objects in-game. With the new device, you wouldn't need cards…

ND: The accessory has been in development for a very long time, which is why there's a gap. The cards aren't necessarily obsolete since we developed our toys and objects in line with the fact we knew they would based on cards. For example, the trampoline, which is a flat object, would work less well with the motion controller than the cards would, as they are themselves flat. So while not everything can be replaced, the new controller will allow us to think about new solutions once it's on the market.

GK: So what new breeds could there be?

ND: There's nothing on the way at the moment, but one thing we're thinking about adding fairly quickly is the ability to have multiple EyePets onscreen at the same time. It would be an important point.

GK: Is EyePet a gateway for female players to the PS3?

ND: More than that, it's a family game. According to the tests we did with children, girls may well be interested for a little longer. I would especially like to say that there is a secondary audience, with you, or young parents using the PS3 as a way to socialise with friends and family. It is really the realisation of a vision.

GK: For the future of EyePet, can you imagine the development of follow-ups or expansion packs?

ND: Obviously, this is a franchise that has a future and is here to stay.

GK: Could you see it spreading to other platforms or other media, such as toys or cartoons?

ND: The same technology is used for a PSP game, InVizimals. It is interesting to see how they have managed everything, and we've exchanged a few tips. We're also talking a lot to manufacturers of toys and other things. And we're looking at the mobile phone side of things with Sony Ericsson. We're looking at a little of everything.

EIGHT DAYS AND THE GETAWAY 3

GK: Before EyePet, the teams at Sony London were working on two projects that have since fallen by the wayside: Eight Days and The Getaway 3. Can you confirm that both of these have indeed been abandoned?

ND: I would not say they have been abandoned, just put to one side. Much work had been done. The studio just wanted to focus on its strengths, EyeToy and SingStar. Given the potential of EyePet, priorities have been changed, but the other projects aren't dead yet. Ultimately, the decision [to put those games to one side] has benefited everyone.

GK: How far through production were they?

ND: It depends. I think they were just over halfway through. They had a plan, everything was ready…

GK: How have you dealt internally with these strategic decisions from Sony?

ND: Many recruits to the EyePet team came from these projects, and contrary to popular belief, they are rather popular. First, because it was a much smaller team, they were able to integrate differently, but also with a different challenge.

Most importantly, The Getaway and Eight Days are still there. So, no, there haven't really been any regrets. This decision was welcome. And then everyone likes change, as is the culture of this community. There were no bad feelings.

GK: I guess you have another game currently under development…

ND: (Smiling) Yes.

GK: Is it linked to EyePet or is it unrelated to this franchise?

ND: No, it's a different concept, in addition to EyePet.

GK: So will you continue to be Sony's brand ambassador for social and casual gaming?

ND: While the whole studio won't, our group will, I think. There is a lot of interest around augmented reality. It surprised me to come to the Festival du Jeu Video (a gaming show held Paris in September) and see the number of magazines that want to do an article on this subject, as I thought it was too geeky. It is now very much part of the casual gaming space.

MOTION-SENSING TECH

GK: Microsoft is also readying its own technology: Project Natal. From what you've been able to see, how similar is it to your work?

ND: In spirit, it's pretty close. But it made me very happy to see them announce something like that. Previously, we were the only ones--the pioneers--working on this technology. Inspiring lots of others will benefit everyone. It is the responsibility of platform holders to move the industry as a whole forward.

GK: You have already made a game that works without controllers--or almost. I guess that you subscribe to the idea that one day consoles will move on from needing traditional controllers…

ND: It's a big debate. Technology will play a big role there. What effect does the camera have on the debate? Will it be just a camera or something else? It's weird, because for EyeToy Play, we got rid of the controller and then brought it back in EyePet to drive vehicles. The controllers have a role to play, but perhaps it's going to be simplified. I just hope the cameras will develop to the point where people stop saying that games of this type lack depth.

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Discussion

90 comments
Dima_06
Dima_06

Getaway 3 would probably be released in 2012 or 2013. After reading this article, I don't see the dev's working on this title as much as the others. I am not patiently waiting or anticipating this title that much anymore, due to the fact that I have grown up and now don't play that many video games anymore.

progamemania
progamemania

i am happy and wish someday we get to play them both, 8 days and the getaway.

tatu2004
tatu2004

just bring back the getaway 3 plz sony..

razgriz_101
razgriz_101

Eyepet looks like a lot of fun,although i wont be buying as i would most likely neglect it xD. But getaway 3 and Eight days prays for a Christmas 2010 early 2011 release.I cannot wait especially cause the Getaway is always awesome.

akiwak
akiwak

Anything to get more use out of my PS3 EYE. If it can hold my sons attention for at least some time to think, I welcome the idea and will buy the product.

ShadowJake
ShadowJake

why would they put eight days on hold for that? if it makes sense to someone, please enlighten me

SabryChan
SabryChan

"Is EyePet a gateway for female players to the PS3?" :P Eight Days looks pretty good. I want to see more of it!

Raad78
Raad78

I was so but so disappointed with Sony when I read that these two games were canceled last year or so. But Sony really changed its gaming polyce, and changed it for good! Now we just need this sites not to bash the PS3 anymore. Sure that some games deserve their critics, but many many times, they are just bashing it. I am glad Sony is delivering so great games again! I can't wait to see though, what MotorStorm's studio is going to show in a near future...

Raad78
Raad78

I was so but so disappointed with Sony when I read that these two games were canceled last year or so. But Sony really changed its gaming polyce, and changed it for good! Now we just need this sites not to bash the PS3 anymore. Sure that some games deserve their critics, but many many times, they are just bashing it. I am glad Sony is delivering so great games again! I can't wait to see though, what MoorStorm

Lemonbits629
Lemonbits629

The Eyepet thing looks pretty cool. It will be great for kids i am sure.

robertwarnes91
robertwarnes91

Great to see Getaway return! The only decent GTA clone out there.

KingT614
KingT614

get away 3 looks good, but who would wanna play wit a virtual pet, cuz its mostly adults that have the ps3's anyways

TWilliamz
TWilliamz

LOL So Eight Days got put on hold to make another American Idol video game and to create Milo as a cat, dog, monkey looking creature? Great move Sony. Eight Days was another reason for me wanting a PS3, but guess I'm stuck with playing with this pet and singing to myself. Can't wait

trace88
trace88

sony is back!!!!!I noticed all ps3 exclusives are always great!8 days ill still wait for this!

chrisg88wb
chrisg88wb

I wouldn't mind to see another Getaway.

hooch0423
hooch0423

WHATS THIS OMG theres still hope yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cjasko94
cjasko94

Anyone is The Getaway exclusive to Playstation? :P And sooo they're actually using the EyeToy? LOL

Doolum
Doolum

man,i had almost forgotten about 8 Days!!

acsam12304
acsam12304

i hope this time they make this game of getaway game free world unlike the 1st game where you cant do what u want even tho thay make the world great. you have to follow the path they face u to do or you fail the mission and you only get like 10 seconds to get back on track till you have to reload

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

The Getaway games have always sucked.... this eyepet game should sell pretty well, but that doesn't mean it's going to be a great game either. It'll be played on for all of 5 minutes on christmas day before people move on to the decent games they got from Santa

rikhan_z
rikhan_z

I'm happy they placed Getaway 3 aside, the getaway wasn't that bad, however Black Monday was a sh!t bomb when it was released.

xra897
xra897

8 days looks like it plays a lot like uncharted and gta

kamizuka
kamizuka

they were working on them for a long time, just like killzone, i bit it is gnna be a great game

MOBS
MOBS

Yes!!!!! Now please tell me Heavenly Sword 2 is not cancelled . We can't afford to lose more exclusives. Give us Getaway 3 , and put Tanks and Parachutes in it to make up for our lack of GTA4 downloadable content. Even though Uncharted 2 overshadows that. The demo is SICK!!!

gnrlstuart
gnrlstuart

i dont want eyepet, want getaway 3 for christs sake, not a fake peice of crap animal.

phil-_-meh
phil-_-meh

awesome =D now give us some awesome gameplay

NuKkU
NuKkU

dont really care about Getaway 3 but come on i want too see Eight Days

3D3
3D3

Sweet, 2 more exclusives still alive.

MAG--256
MAG--256

E3 2010 i can't waite for

Yojimbo25
Yojimbo25

Its awesome to see The Getaway 3 resurface.

kcpp2b
kcpp2b

Kewl 8 days isn't dead... I was interested in the game before but I fear of it being or looking better then it'll be (btw I know that's not actual in game footage)

KittyHeart
KittyHeart

the getwaway is one of the worts gmes out, getway 1, 2 and the gangs of london game were all mediocire. the gameplay was difficult and fristrating. mostly trial and error is it possible for getaway to actually be good?

MAG--256
MAG--256

please let this be true i think we will see something at E3 next year eight days look so good when i saw the trailer a while ago getway 3 please this could be the next best exclusive besides AGENT

firedrakes
firedrakes

still not the best way to do dev for games

Lateraliss
Lateraliss

I remember seeing the trailer for Eight Days the day it was released, and immediately wanted it. Ans then I found out that they abandoned it, and my plans to buy a PS3 were abandoned as well. I just bought a PS3 a few months ago for MGS4 and Infamous, and I'm glad I did, but I still want Eight Days.

edub272
edub272

that video of 8 days made it look like gameplay footage but i dont think it was if i had to guess. though that would be siiiick. Getaway 3 is what im more interested in

DJFMBEN
DJFMBEN

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

stevkh5
stevkh5

First time i actually saw the Eight Days trailer. I'm actually interested, but that semi thing is like something out of a michael bay movie. Totally reminded me of the imaginationland south park.

okassar
okassar

Lmao,Eyepet looks hilarious. rev8691 said "project natal already exists, its called playstation eye." ok,dude I love my Eyetoy and all,but Natal has a 3d sensor,and trust me that makes a lot of difference. maybe Sony is trying to get that into the Eyetoy,I'm not sure,let's see.I'm definitely not buying that stupid Wand thing though,reminds me of the Wii (lol).

D4NZEL-709
D4NZEL-709

voidheart777 Posted Oct 6, 2009 4:25 pm GMT -2 delay it,,, but please make it as cool and casual as ever... so my lil sisters coul also enjoy PS3 ------------------------------------- Dude then all of us would be pissed i want a bloody brutal gang life in getaway 3 and if they want to capture that their will be blood and swearing believe me the first 2 were like f this f that sh!t. But eight days their is a chance. and if she wants to enjoy the ps3 get here ipet