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From Jumping Cops to NGP – 10 Years Behind the Scenes at Bigbig Studios

Simon Bursey's Avatar + Posted by Simon Bursey on Jun 03, 2011 // Art Director, Bigbig Studios

This year’s E3 is going to be cool! Especially for a games fan like me, as I’ll be jetting over to LA to help tell the world about the incredible NGP and our flagship game Little Deviants. It’s a game that’s been a decade in the making – Bigbig Studios is a proud 10 years old and we’re celebrating with a new logo and new website. Today I’d like to give you all an insight into how Bigbig Studios began and the story so far.

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Back in 1998, while I was still a student, my boss asked me what I wanted to be doing in 10 years. I said: “help to run a games studio” and my boss laughed, spurring me on to prove him wrong. I was just a naive youngster but I fell in with the right crowd and just three years later, I was ready to try it for real with a heap of enthusiasm and three talented and experienced friends. As the four of us quit our stable jobs, we held on to the thought – we love games; how hard can it be to make games the way we think they should be made?

During a wild spring break vacation in Cancun, we dreamed up the foundations of the studio. A place where real gamers could use their talent to make ‘proper games’ that everyone would enjoy. A month later we showed our first demo to Evolution Studios. Somehow, they saw potential in a bright blue car driving around a plain grey square, and Bigbig Studios was born. Before long we were hard at work on a series of demos including a prototype F1 game, a streetwise car-modding racer and a free-roaming action secret agent game where players could jump between vehicles and kick out the enemy drivers.

Our first game began with one of those “Eureka!” moments in the pub – wouldn’t it be cool to fight on a moving vehicle like Indiana Jones, and as far as we could tell, it had never been done before; something that’s incredibly rare in the games industry. After a lot of hard work, we had a great looking demo, but the marketing guys needed a new twist to make it stand out from the crowd. Sony was looking for teams to create games for its new handheld console, the PSP, and loved the idea of an action movie-styled cop chase game, so Pursuit Force was born. We worked like crazy, hired a load of talented new artists, coders and designers and in what seemed like a flash, our first game was released and selling very well.

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When you work in a small team making ambitious games, there are always tonnes of ideas that you can’t fit in the first game, so when it came to the sequel we wanted to make it bigger, better and more explosive in every way. The team pulled out the stops and created what’s still one of my favourite action games, Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice. Cheesy Hollywood script, massive bosses and even better vehicle-jumping-car-chase gameplay. You know your studio is in a good place when you’re making games the entire team wants to play!

On our next game we had to rethink our strategy. We decided to create a PSP version of the PS3 classic, MotorStorm. With Motorstorm: Arctic Edge, we were determined to make a true sequel, and so we evolved the gameplay and came up with a sub-zero setting, adding a splash of retro ‘80s style. We also took a more streamlined approach to the way we worked and, thankfully, released a great game with the minimum amount of pizza fuelled all-nighters.

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While we were adding the finishing touches to MS:AE, we had our second “Eureka!” moment behind closed doors. A secret team within Sony was looking for cool things they could do with their new handheld – codenamed NGP. We pride ourselves on originality and, while dual analog sticks were the obvious choice, we took up the challenge of creating something cool for the console’s unique Rear Touch pad. The original concept was called “Cloth Ball” where the idea was to push up the landscape and roll a ball around. Our tech demo showed off this Rear Touch pad control innovation, and we buffed up the demo with some real character and next-gen graphics, resulting in PlayStation legend Shuhei Yoshida giving us to go-ahead for Little Deviants.

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As the game progressed we found that NGP offered huge potential through its extensive control inputs. So we set out to use every input and Little Deviants became a series of action packed mini-games, each showing off the NGP hardware in cool ways, and telling the story of the mischievous Little Deviants. You may have seen our tech demo at the NGP announcement, and we’re due to show off even more as we reveal four of our mini-games at E3.

So that’s what we’ve been up to these past 10 years. We’ve been so busy making games that we only recently realised that the studio needed a revamp. We’ve got a new logo, upgraded our offices and have relaunched our website, www.bigbigstudios.com. The new website is now in a blog style which is ideal for sharing quick, friendly updates and hearing what you guys have to say. If there’s time at E3 we’ll be doing a live Twitter feed, but NGP is going to be big, so we’ll be spending most of our time talking the talk to journalists on the show floor.

So, enjoy what Sony has to offer at E3, and I’m sure you’ll hear more from us soon as the launch date for Little Deviants and NGP draws near.

//Add Your Own

58 Comments

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1

+ NinjaNabs on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:03 am said:

where is the black ops escalation map pack?come on sony if your not gonna release it today then at least update us on when it will come out.give us a timeline for once!


2

+ Frejim on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:18 am said:

stop calling it NGP!!!!!


3

+ Ejsponge61 on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:20 am said:

I LOVE PURSUIT FORCE, even if the end was too hard for me to finish. And thanks BigBig for making quality PSP, and soon NGP, games!


4

+ alexrule4 on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:22 am said:

I agree whers the Black ops escalation map pack. I reay can’t wait to play the new zombies map. I waited yesterday and i waited for the update today and still nothing plz hurry or alot of people are gonna be mad.


5

+ CRiCkET_81 on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:25 am said:

I’m with comment 1 and 4. Where’s the Escalation map pack already?


6

+ letherclad on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:26 am said:

I’m glad to hear from u guys, u have made some high quality games, can’t wait to hear more about lttle deviants


7

+ GeneralChaz9 on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:30 am said:

Man, makes me want to pick up Motorstorm Arctic Edge lol


8

+ MarinoBrea on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:30 am said:

@Frejim

I completely agree…what a bunch of nonsense to keep calling a product that is finished and getting game previewed by its codename. It’s like waiting for the birth of your child to reveal his/her name to everybody…”hey I know he/she is due next week but meanwhile let’s call him/her NGB!”


9

+ midknight24 on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:32 am said:

@8 yeah but the name SONY “VITA” soundy pretty queer


10

+ Ejsponge61 on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:36 am said:

Activision’s Social Media Manager has this to say about Escalation on PS3. http://twitter.com/#!/OneOfSwords/status/76617045185269760


11

+ doodooshorts on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:38 am said:

was black ops supposed to come out for ps3 already? no. just cuz they got the store up doesnt mean the will release the map packs early…….want want want. im beginning it is impossible for any of ya to be pleased…..ever


12

+ doodooshorts on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:39 am said:

*beginning to think


13

+ marlyt on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:40 am said:

Simon,
Is there anywhere, now, we can see some movin g pictures or trailer for Little Deviants? And why not call it Little Devilsand put horns on the little guys? That would maybe be neato. Cheers on your upcoming release and can’t wait to see more next week.


14

+ usedtoiletpaper on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:41 am said:

So is there a Call Of Duty being developed for this handheld?


15

+ CaribouLou on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:47 am said:

So annoying when people post “When is ‘insert title here’ coming out on the store?” How about actually commenting on what the article is about. Nice job BigBig, looking forward to Little Deviants!


16

+ NinjaNabs on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:49 am said:

@doodooshorts ill be pleased when they release the black ops map pack in time.ill be pleased when they give us a timeline or deadline and actually meet it and respect it.


17

+ NinjaNabs on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:51 am said:

@CaribouLou we’ll stop that when sony actually update us on whats going and when we’re likely to see those things come out.


18

+ A_Belmont on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:51 am said:

Sweet! Very fun update, I haven’t played Pursuit Force but I’ve heard great things about the game, and it looks like an arcade love-fest. The new NGP game looks very amusing and I can’t wait to hear more about it from you guys – this looks like a great family-fun oriented title! Hope some of the Mini games you’ve been making really emphasize passing the device around from friend to friend! Games are best when they can be shared =)


19

+ A_Belmont on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:51 am said:

Also – someone should go poke valve and ask them very very nicely to put portal on the NGP – pleeeeeease!


20

+ doodooshorts on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:56 am said:

its up to the game developers….not sony. try whining over at treyarc/activision genious


21

+ doodooshorts on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:57 am said:

genius lmfao!


22

+ marlyt on June 3rd, 2011 at 8:03 am said:

If anyone wants to see Little Deviants in motion you can do so at this link at around 14 minutes in: http://www.playstation.com/psmeeting2011/chapter4.html its pretty darn cool.


23

+ marlyt on June 3rd, 2011 at 8:09 am said:

@ Ninjajabs

Just use google. You’ll get a timely response and anything that is known, or leaked will be there. Also I get most early info on releases at ps3trophies and I think that is a .org page. Use those avenues or go to treyarch or activision to complain. They set the date. Not Grace or sony or anybody listening here. I’m positive Simon Bursey the art director of BigBig Studios doesn’t know or care.


24

+ TomHoang on June 3rd, 2011 at 8:10 am said:

Wow, I had no idea these guys did Motorstorm AA. I was actually going to DL Pursuit Force from the Welcome Back package.


25

+ NinjaNabs on June 3rd, 2011 at 8:22 am said:

@marlyt I DONT WANT RUMORS,I WANT FACTS!i want sony to update their blog on map pack for black ops TODAY if it doesnt come out.


26

+ korgon117 on June 3rd, 2011 at 8:35 am said:

I’m confused on the name of the device. The blog is still calling it the NGP, but everywhere else I look it’s called the PS Vita. Which is it? PS little deviants looks interesting.


27

+ jazzyrider on June 3rd, 2011 at 8:38 am said:

Looks like Bigbig is still Rollingrolling! :)


28

+ ChaseHammerJ on June 3rd, 2011 at 8:42 am said:

the name “VITA” has got to be the worst name in HISTORY! I would have just stayed with NGP


29

+ megamixer on June 3rd, 2011 at 8:44 am said:

Aw, I liked your old logo better. It was uneven and big. New ones to symmetrical!

“We decided to create a PSP version of the PS3 classic, MotorStorm. With Motorstorm: Arctic Edge,”

No mention of the PS2 Arctic Edge? Did a different developer make that version?

“a series of action packed mini-games, each showing off the NGP hardware in cool ways”

No offense but a line like that screams tech demo. Of course I’ll reserve judgement until seeing the game, but wording like that can be off-putting.


30

+ daxter1100 on June 3rd, 2011 at 8:47 am said:

any word on the welcome back program yet


31

+ A_Belmont on June 3rd, 2011 at 8:59 am said:

@daxter1100
Yes in fact, much word on it.
http://blog.us.playstation.com/2011/05/16/details-for-playstation-network-and-qriocity-customer-appreciation-program-in-north-america/

Sit tight, or you’ll look like an addict. :\


32

+ BlackIceJoe on June 3rd, 2011 at 9:03 am said:

Will Little Deviants be a pack in with the NGP? The reason I bring that up is because the Wii came with a game & so did the 3DS. LD looks like it could be an interesting game. So I can’t wait to try it out. Also any chance for a Pursuit Force 3?


33

+ primesuperman7 on June 3rd, 2011 at 9:04 am said:

the welcome back program is a scam becuase you have to buy the so called playstation plus just to even get any of the games for free i rate this a thumbs down and where is the free stuff i dont see anything for free in playstation home


34

+ XavierStar on June 3rd, 2011 at 9:09 am said:

Bet the map pack for black ops would be updated @ June 7th the latest.


35

+ Cloud_of_Anubis on June 3rd, 2011 at 9:09 am said:

Man stop talking about call of duty DLC in here, Nice job BigBig :)


36

+ Sonic42 on June 3rd, 2011 at 9:12 am said:

Yeah, but can I download my Welcome Back package?


37

+ SolduNuts on June 3rd, 2011 at 9:13 am said:

Sony is really pulling out all the stops for the NGP. There sounds like there is going to be a great deal of launch titles along side this new handheld, and Sony has already said that the NGP is backwards compatible to all download only psp games. The NGP could up having the biggest launch line up of any handheld ever.

Congrats Big Big Studios, for your ten years in business, hopefully the next ten will be just of a great partnership between you guys and sony as it has been for the last ten.


38

+ butcherknife on June 3rd, 2011 at 9:15 am said:

Cool. And Congrats on 10 years!


39

+ SolduNuts on June 3rd, 2011 at 9:16 am said:

Everybody asking about the WELCOME BACK PACKAGE, IT WILL COME OUT SOON, SO QUIT CRYING ABOUT IT.

This blog post is to celebrate Big Big’s ten years in business, not complain to Sony about free stuff.


40

+ primesuperman7 on June 3rd, 2011 at 9:18 am said:

@SolduNuts im not crying about it im just pissed if they are lying about it plus they did promise to release it when the store was back up and its back up and nothing


41

+ zombiekiller2468 on June 3rd, 2011 at 9:22 am said:

wheres the escalation map pack :C


42

+ FriedConsole on June 3rd, 2011 at 9:25 am said:

Loved Pursuit Force. It was stupid dumb fun. Was waiting for the sequel to get cheaper on PSN. I need to check it out. People should get this game if they don’t have it already with the Welcome Back package.

Arctic Edge is my favorite PSP racer and there a lot of racers for PSP that I played.


43

+ primesuperman7 on June 3rd, 2011 at 9:50 am said:

lets hope sony isint scamming us about the welcome back package just like microsoft scammed xbox users about avator kinect that never came out last month


44

+ dosedzac on June 3rd, 2011 at 10:35 am said:

@primesuperman7 well since part of the welcome back package includes a free month of playstation plus i dont see as to where you have to buy it to get the freebies…and they have yet to give a specific date for the package to be available…if you read correctly they said shortly after the store is up the package will be available….if you think you are getting scammed then stop buying their products and stop whining like a little girl with a skinned knee on a thread for something that has nothing to do with an update or the store…..as for little deviants it looks as it could be a very interesting game with the mix of controls using both touch pads…congrats to bigbig for 10 years…keep up the good work guys and gals!!!


45

+ Kirkpad on June 3rd, 2011 at 12:03 pm said:

Hey, I guess I’ll be playing your first game today. I just downloaded it through the Welcome Back program. Little Deviants looks like a great title, so good luck with the launch!


46

+ Elvick_ on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:44 pm said:

I haven’t played any of your games yet, but Pursuit Force is one of the two games I didn’t already have for PSP so I’m looking forward to trying it out now.


47

+ Elvick_ on June 3rd, 2011 at 7:50 pm said:

@NinjaNabs; Maybe you can use this as a learning experience to have some damn patience. You whine like a big baby and the information you want is posted a few hours later. Had you just waited, you could have gotten the info and not made yourself look infantile in the process.


48

+ fredster90 on June 3rd, 2011 at 10:51 pm said:

ngp is better than ps via as a name for the upcoming handheld from sony


49

+ remanutd5 on June 4th, 2011 at 5:31 am said:

congratulations Big Big , im gonna be honest with you guys , the only game i have played from you is Motorstorm Arctic Edge but i already picked up Pursuit Force and i will definitely try Little Deviants , i hope you guys bring Motorstorm to NGP and with it the ability to play with our psn friends online , congrats on your success , love Arctic Edge will tell you about the others after i play them


50

+ usmanshafiq55 on June 4th, 2011 at 10:24 am said:

i have a question, what if you have UMD’s but then you get the ngp, if we give you the UMD, will you give us the memory stick for the game( i saw some pics that the games are in memory stick form or something like that) what will i do with the UMD’s when i get the NGP!?!?!?!?


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