Introducing two new PlayStation First graduates: Rumble Academy and Retro Vision

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Aspiring young student developers tell us what it’s like to see their games on PS4

Ever wanted to make a PlayStation game? Well, get acquainted with PlayStation First – Sony Interactive Entertainment’s global academic program, supporting universities and technical colleges to bring student games to PlayStation platforms. And this year’s PAX Australia played host to two PlayStation First titles on the PlayStation booth:

  • Rumble Academy: A multiplayer brawler for one to four players, set across a variety of dynamic arenas.
  • Retro Vision: A procedurally-generated first-person musical endless runner, where players dodge and weave to avoid oncoming obstacles while the environment pulses in time to the music.

We asked the developers behind these titles what it was like showcasing their games on the PlayStation booth.

Robert Christian, developer at Big Paw Games, showing Rumble Academy

“PAX Australia 2016 was a huge milestone for Rumble Academy. A year ago we were in the same place with a much earlier version of the game. We were barely ready to show it at that point, with only two playable characters and one arena ready. Here we are, a year later, with nine characters and eight arenas (with all nine characters and six of the arenas on demo).

PlayStation First graduates

“I got to the expo hall the day before PAX officially opened to the public, immediately seeing the giant blue PlayStation booth. I didn’t know what to expect, but when I was led to where I would be setting up the game, it really hit me – here I was with my fighting game, made with a team of just four people, in one of the biggest booths at the biggest gaming expo in the country. And it was a good looking booth. We’re so used to working on a shoestring budget, that seeing our game in such an immense and cool area left me awestruck.

“PAX officially opened the next day, and the first wave of players rushed in, looking to try anything new. Suddenly my perspective shifted. Seeing players enjoying the game with their friends is the biggest morale boost that I could have ever got. After working so hard for so long in the office, it was a reminder that the work we were doing was paying off.

PlayStation First graduates

“PAX was a wild experience. When I got there I was terrified of how many things could go wrong. What I got was an insane action-packed three-day weekend where I met great people, saw all of my work in action, and walked away revitalised and motivated to get Rumble Academy out there for people to play at home.”

Kyle McKellar, solo developer, showing Retro Vision

“Showing Retro Vision at PAX Australia this year in the PlayStation booth was a fantastic experience. The game is almost done so it was great seeing people’s reactions playing. Expos and events like PAX are a great motivator for me to finish my game. Looking at the same thing every day makes you start questioning yourself: Is it fun? Am I adding too much stuff? Is this mechanic viable?

PlayStation First graduates

“When people come up to you at an expo genuinely interested in your game, it’s one of the best feelings. Having new people play it and watching their reactions lets me know that I am going in the right direction, and gives me the motivational boost I need.

“Thanks to Nnooo (a PlayStation First publishing partner in Australia) and the PlayStation First program, I am actually able to attend these sorts of events with Retro Vision. Nnooo have been very supportive and helpful, as well as Big Paw Games. Being a solo developer can be tough, but it’s especially tough when you are exhibiting by yourself. Robert from Big Paw Games was always there to step in and give me a helping hand when I needed it.

PlayStation First graduates

“I’d like to thank PlayStation again for these awesome opportunities – PlayStation First gives students who are working on projects like these the ability to get their foot in the door, granting you access to dev kits and valuable support from Sony representatives.”

Both Rumble Academy and Retro vision are expected to be released on PlayStation 4 in the first half of 2017. To find out more about how to get involved with PlayStation First, visit the official site.

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