Way back in 2008, God of War: Chains of Olympus developer Ready at Dawn insisted that it had turned its back on Sony's PSP. Photos even began to circulate which showed the firm's PSP development kits packed up and ready to be shipped back to the Sony mothership. Having created what is generally regarded as one of the best games on the platform, Ready at Dawn seemed to be moving on to greener pastures - possibly because back in 2008 the PSP's market share was depressingly slight and Nintendo's DS was king.
Fast forward to the present day and PSP owners all over the globe are popping open the champagne to celebrate the announcement of God of War: Ghost of Sparta, which is being developed by - you guessed it - Ready at Dawn.
"We couldn't help coming back to the PSP and improve on the first game," sayeth the blurb on the company's official website. This epic about-face speaks volumes about the PSP's yo-yo fortunes over the past half decade. Yhe system has gone from being the whipping-boy of the videogame press to the best-selling handheld in Japan for most of 2010 and has managed to confound expectations after the dismal launch of PSPgo.
Consider the facts: This year, PSP owners will be able to enjoy the likes of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and the aforementioned God of War sequel, as well as Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and a platform-exclusive Resident Evil adventure. The DS arguably has nothing as exciting lined up, with the possible exception of some new Pokemon titles.
With the 3DS on the horizon, Sony's mobile marvel certainly needs some quality titles to keep momentum going; the PSPgo was a dreadful stumble by Sony but it seems to have been conveniently forgotten. There can't be much life left in the format and one would expect Sony to announce a successor before 2010 turns irrevocably into 2011, but with Ghost of Sparta leading the charge it looks as if this most unlikely of portable champions is going to go out with a bang rather than the whimper many experts confidently predicted not so long ago.
Pocket Gamer is Europe's leading source of news, opinion and reviews on mobile and handheld gaming.