Game designer Brian Provinciano enjoyed working with Sony, but had some difficulties with Microsoft.
When a console debate flares up, it’s not just ordinary gamers that take sides. Developers can be just as passionate when supporting preferred systems, perhaps more so, since they intimately understand each one’s limits and capabilities. Super Meat Boy‘s Edmund McMillen, for example, has openly shared his frustrations about working on certain gaming platforms in the past. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Retro City Rampage‘s creator Brian Provinciano met with IGN to list which consoles he enjoyed working on. Since the game has launched for most modern systems, Provinciano felt confident naming the PlayStation Vita as an ideal platform, despite the fact that it hasn’t really gained traction among gamers.
“As a developer, someone who’s done development on every platform under the sun, the Vita SDK [was] just super well-put-together and easy to use,” Provinciano told IGN. “Deployment on the Vita dev kit was as fast as PC. That’s something that I’ve never seen before in a dev kit. That in itself made it such a pleasant experience.”
Provinciano ranks the PC, PS3, and Vita as the easiest systems to develop and publish for. In particular, Provinciano was impressed with Sony’s cross-buy and cross-save features, which are still rare in the industry. “If you were to do your game on, say, Wii U and 3DS, you’d be doing everything twice,” he explained. “They’re completely different systems. With Vita and PS3, there’s a lot of similarities.”
Unfortunately, Provinciano wasn’t quite as generous when it came to his relationship with Microsoft. “With Microsoft especially, it’s like I’m dealing with a corporation,” he says of the publisher. “It’s hard to plan things. You have very little control … It was over a year of work and I don’t know how many man-months just to deal with the Xbox side of the business things and all that other stuff. Whereas Steam was just three days, and then Steam is 100 percent feature-identical to the Xbox version.”
The Vita hasn’t had the best track record lately, despite its impressive system specifications. One of its biggest issues appears to be a high price point, considering that a discount in Japan immediately quadrupled its sales. It’s very likely that a price drop in North America would have a similar effect, especially if the Vita continues to draw developers like Provinciano.