Lone Survivor for PS3 + PSVita

Where is this, huh?
 
Hi everyone.  It’s my great pleasure to be here today to announce the details of the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita ports of Lone Survivor. I’ve been so exited to tell you guys about it for the last few weeks, but I had to hold it in until it was finalised! Anyone who knows me or follows my twitter feed will be aware that I’m a massive Sony fan and literally play 95% of the games I play on my PS3.  It’s the console that fits me the best, and it’s the controller I imagine when I’m designing my games: so this really is a dream come true!
 
Where is this, huh?
 
But for those who missed it the first time round, and what with it having been out almost a year now (my goodness!) … what is Lone Survivor?  It’s a game very personal to me that took almost seven years to get right.  I guess you could call it a blend of ‘Lynchian’ psychological horror, point’n'click adventure mechanics and a virtual pet-like ‘physical and mental survival simulation’ – the idea being that how you choose to survive is up to you. It’s the last record of a nameless, masked protagonist, holed-up in a city full of diseased monsters, starving and exhausted. When we join him on his quest, he has already begun to question whether all of what he sees is even real.
 
My hope is that you can play through the game in the style that suits you best – I wanted to try and make a role-playing game with meaningful choices. It’s an experiment in making every insignificant fact in the game having an invisible, or murkily visible effect on your outcome, however small. And also to try and get away from showing statistics so that people ‘feel’ their way around… perhaps people are more inclined to role-play when that’s the case?  There’s no longer a need to ‘min-max’ everything? And I think it sort of came together? It’s certainly an area I’m interested in exploring in my future games.
 
To my amazement, Lone Survivor has turned into something of a phenomenon over the last year. Since its release, it’s been nominated for a Golden Joystick, picked by many blogs and magazines as Horror Game Of The Year, and has received many glowing reviews. Sales have been beyond anything I could have imagined: I only wanted to be able to fund the next game, and that bas been done several times over, probably. Its story seems to provoke heated debate amongst fans and critics – I never get tired of reading people’s different interpretations, that has definitely been the highlight of sharing it with so many people. People seem to love the music, the weird mechanics, fans write to me about the ‘depth’, ‘realistic treatment of adult themes’ and ‘warm humour’ in the writing etc.
 
As a brief personal aside… my late papa, Johnny Byrne, who the game is dedicated to, was a writer. And Lone Survivor actually contains at least a brief novel’s worth of text. I found this out when I hacked it out of the game ready for translation! It’s the first large piece of writing I’ve ever released into the world, and it did take far longer than I imagined, and it didn’t click with everybody… And to get a bit deep for a second, a large theme was his own illness, and me dealing with that… But, basically, what I’m trying to say is, for people to get what I’m trying to go for, and maybe even to take something away from it… Well, I’m completely floored and humbled. I really could never have expected or hoped for this to happen. I just needed to make this game, even though I had no idea if it would connect with anyone else. More than anything, I wanted Lone Survivor to be a game that approaches issues rarely touched on in games – the effects of grief, mental health issues, the examination of drug use and abuse. And, somehow, the stars aligned and the good news is I’m able to keep making games for the foreseeable future, because I really do love it!
 
I have the utmost confidence in London studio, Curve, who are handling the conversion duties, to produce the ultimate version of the game. They are moving into publishing with such excellent titles as Thomas Was Alone, and I’m proud to be joining their stable! It is still important for very small development teams, such as myself, to have help in publishing on console platforms. And, while Sony are doing great work to reduce the amount of bureaucracy needed to make it possible, and I applaud them for this, it is still impractical for a one-man team to self-publish (go through certification, age ratings, translations etc.) As I said, this has been a life-long dream for me, to release a game on a great console with a bespoke controller, and this shows just how far things have come that a one-man team can do that with minimal help from a publisher. Whether that still makes this an indie release or not is up to you to decide (see Spelunky’s Derek Yu’s great article that deals with this subject.) To me it’s just a word that’s occasionally useful to give context, not something I give much weight – I consider myself a maker of games first and foremost! The main thing is that all the content is being made by me, with my own funding, without any external input.  Besides which, Curve are an entirely independent entity, so this is a very grey area and again shows me how easy it can be to get hung up on the word. Anyway, the important thing is that their excellent track record speaks for itself, and that their own games have a really good sense of feel (something that’s very important to me personally.) I’m positive that they’ll only improve the game with their years of console development experience, and are just the right people for the job. And of course I’m overseeing it closely at every stage to make sure it looks, sounds and plays exactly right!
 

Extra secret bonus stuff And stuff… 

One exciting aspect of this announcement for me is that I’ve secretly been devoting a lot time and resources into adding additional content into the game, initially exclusive to the PS3 / Vita. I even disappeared to another country for two weeks to work on it in complete isolation, to get back into the right vibe (making sure to eat and sleep poorly!) Of course, there will be Trophies, Cross-Buy and Cross-Play support, but I’ve also been working on (amongst one or two other surprises) more than twenty new items, new dialogue with all NPC’s, two extensive new side quests, two new locations, and a brand new ‘Yellow’ ending, featuring a new piece of music for the ending.  I’m looking into touch control for movement and inventory use.  The idea is that this version really will be enhanced in every way, smoother, nicer to control, with a lot of little extras that don’t change the game itself, just add to it (in fact, almost all of the content is only accessible in … wait for it … NEW GAME+!).
 
I hope you enjoy the game. And for those who’ve already supported it, thankyou so much. I can’t wait to share the new content with all of you in the summer!
 
I don’t have anything to announce at this point regarding bringing the additional content to PC / Mac / Linux, at least until I can focus my resources on it after the release.  But it’s something I hope to do, so I’ll keep you posted about that!
 
I’ll leave you with a link to the new trailer, which you can also find on the Sony EU blog… Just click on the image at the top!
 
Cheers,
 
Jasper
 
PS More NEW GAME+ news to follow soon, it’s had a short break while I’ve been doing this, but I’m constantly testing and tweaking it!  I took it to the Local Multiplayer Picnic in Utrecht while I was in Holland last month, and it was a fantastic day.  Thanks to JW, Rami & friends for that! Be sure to pick up their Super Crate Box on your Vita if you have one!
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  • Comments (13)
  1. avatar

    AS a “very newbie” in the art of creating simple games, I must say that I admire your work, dedication and skills. I must say it gives me confidence to stay on this road and hope that with time I will became more skilled.

  2. avatar
    • Justin
    • March 19th, 2013

    Very Awesome, Really looking forward to seeing the new content, and re-experiencing the game again on my television! You are without a doubt my favorite indie developer. Keep it up bro.

  3. avatar

    Hi Phobos, the content is far from minor. It is a whole new side story as I replied to you, that’s taken several months of hard work. It is a much bigger piece of work than the original ‘Codename Red’ update. The point is, it is a side story, and the game is still a complete experience without it, in my opinion. The PS3 / Vita version, for the first game, is identical. It’s only on New Game+ that the new content is introduced. I didn’t want to touch the original game, for purists, and because I felt it was already complete as it was. I have also never said that this content won’t reach the PC / Mac / Linux, just that all my efforts are currently focussed on the Sony releases, whose release dates are set in stone, and being a one man team I wouldn’t like to promise anything that I will not be able to deliver, hence erring on the side of caution regarding the promising of the new content on PC / Mac / Linux. It is not as simple as it sounds, for one thing, without wanting to spoil the new stuff for those who plan to play on PlayStation, there is one location that’s not even technically possible currently on PC, without an engine rewrite. I hope you can understand why it’s hard for me to make any promises at this point.

    I should add that I do personally want to see it happen, and I totally understand where you’re coming from. I’d just hope that you can be patient until I have a concrete announcement after the PS3 / Vita releases.

  4. avatar
    • Phobos
    • March 17th, 2013

    I just find it interesting that the community that invested in your idea first (PC/Mac/Linux) is now being told that they may never get the complete version of the game (all endings and side stories). And if the new content is truly so minor, what is the harm in bringing it to us eventually?

  5. avatar

    I should get this for the PS3, One of my favourite games of 2012! congrats and keep making amazing games!

  6. avatar

    Hi there, and thanks for the support as always!

    @Karu I think more translations should follow if the game does well on PS3 / Vita. I’d personally love to see Spanish, Japanese, Chinese & Russian (although that’s just my preference, not an actual plan!)

    @coop It’s something I’m looking into! No promises, but I’d personally like to do it.

    @Ian, Thankyou so much for your kind words. ‘Initially exclusive’ doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed on any other version at this point. It could mean that is will feature on other consoles… It’s too early to say, I’m afraid. I’m sorry if my wording was unclear.

    @Hervé I am only one person and to coordinate a PC update (which is far from a simple patch, unfortunately) is a big and expensive task… The content itself has taken a long time and lot of investment, and to get it working and tested on three more platforms is a big, big thing. As I mentioned to the others who asked, I really can’t guarantee there will be a PC / Mac / Linux port of the new content at this point. However, I hope to have more news on this soon, with a definite answer.

    @Phobos – I did say I may possibly add another ending to the PC version, with the emphasis on ‘possibly.’ But I never claimed it would be before this year. It’s still early in the year, and I haven’t finished making the PS versions yet, so I can’t promise anything for PC at all at this point. In fact, I’m trying very hard not to promise anything I can’t deliver in general – I have tried to keep all my statements regarding the ‘Yellow ending’ to that effect. I hope you enjoy the game in its current form – it’s really a complete work without the new content, which is more of a ‘side-story’, if you like?

  7. avatar
    • Phobos
    • March 16th, 2013

    I just want to add my voice to those that are asking for this content on PC. I remember when the ‘yellow’ update was mentioned in early 2012 and have been patiently waiting for it since then. Again, kudos for creating such a great game, but PLEASE give us the new features once this ‘exclusivity’ ends.

  8. avatar
    • Hervé
    • March 15th, 2013

    Hi Jasper,

    I hope there will be an update for the PC version too as a patch.

  9. avatar

    I’m really looking forward to this version of the game, especially since it has some new content. Keep up the good work!

  10. avatar
    • coop
    • March 15th, 2013

    Why no 3DS version?

  11. avatar
    • Ian Longiaru
    • March 14th, 2013

    Huge fan of the game Jasper, my favorite indie title of all time and definitely my favorite game of 2012. Emotional, meaningful, riveting, ‘deep’, critical, all that jazz – I love the thing to death. So you can imagine this news has made my week, maybe even my month.
    Sadly, I can’t say I own any Sony products, so that’s a bit of a bummer… so here’s hoping that either the “initially exclusive” isn’t just developer trickery, or the Let’s Plays start coming out quickly.
    Whatever the case, keep right on it Jasper. If there ever was a god, you’d be doin’ his work right there.

  12. avatar
    • nl
    • March 14th, 2013

    Looking forward to the extra content hopefully reaching PC at some point, I’d love another couple playthroughs of this outstanding game!

  13. avatar
    • Karu
    • March 13th, 2013

    Can you translate this version in spanish too? Please, that’d be great.

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