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.
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.
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.
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.
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.