You may remember that back in February Activision took an axe to its stable of rhythm franchises. Regrettably, they also laid off a good number of the folks who had previously worked on those games. It's never good when a studio takes a hit like that, but it's definitely nice to hear that some of the those affected have successfully rebounded.
Some of the staff at Freestyle Games, the studio behind DJ Hero, have teamed up with Reactify and London's Metropolis Group to form 8linQ, a mobile games studio with a focus on mobile platforms. First up for the teams is Say What?! for iOS due out July 20.
Freestyle had a definite flair for rhythm games--DJ Hero was viewed as a breath of fresh air by many--and it seems that affinity for unique rhythmic gameplay has carried over in some respects. Say What?! features artists from Sony Music Entertainment, but managing director Chris Lee is adamant that it's much more than that: "Rather than make a game then license the music, this is much more of a partnership."
Where most music games place priority on the gameplay itself, Say What?! intends to focus on the music with the game itself serving as a delivery vessel. With the track playing and lyrics scrolling on top, players will tap objects that correspond with highlighted words from the song. If it seems simple, that's because it's supposed to be. As Lee puts it, "[They're] not trying to be cleverer than that."
This isn't the first instance of a console developer finding their new home on iOS. I don't necessarily subscribe to the belief that mobile games are the future, but it's interesting to see developers getting cozy with that delivery structure.
"Development cycles are so much shorter, and you get that immediacy of feedback too, where you can watch how your consumer is playing, react and develop new features. We have designed this game so that if we get a song at 9am, we can have it for sale by 9am the next day."
DJ Hero developers form part of new mobile studio [gamesindustry.biz]