Seems our first X-Box 360 Live Arcade title is proving very popular in the Microsoft/VMC test circuits prior to it being fully certified (ready for release). Reports coming back from the testing departments include comments that the testing guys are queuing up to play during lunch hours - this is always a great sign that there's something good going on.
We're pretty close to knowing which "Arcade Wednesday" slot it will be released on and when we can start blitzing the press about it all. The name of the release won't come as much of a surprise to many people bearing in mind our history, we've just had a press-embargo until we get dates and stuff sorted.
Digital, digital, let's get into digital...
At the same time, shots of our other first digital-platform (i.e. download only) release have crept out after a Sony gamers day in the USA. The whole digital platform is something we're taking tremendously seriously on 360, PS3 and also PC - more T17 digital titles will be released through 2007 and beyond. It's fantastic working on smaller, more focused titles that don't suffer the same problems as many titles do in what's become a very confused retail space.
The game in question is Lemmings for PS3 and we're super happy with it. Someone in the office describes it as "Disney Lemmings" such is the rich quality of the animation, fx and content - the visuals are super-cute without making any sacrifices to the gameplay. It's really a totally new Lemmings and we hope it'll prove very popular. (Shot grabbed from one of the sites featuring news of it!)
I think the only irony of our PS3 release is that it'll hit the streets before our XBox Live Arcade title, which would have been a launch title had we had the time to do it in 2005.
Still, with many more 360's out there now, we stand a good chance of making more of a splash with it.
Speaking of Lemmings, it was released for the PS2 a week or two back and we did that too - it also features an eye-toy section, which we didn't do ourselves, but that's gotten a lot of interest. One of the cool things about the PS2 version is it's ability to swap levels with those created on the PSP. We still get a few people moaning about the control system but these are pretty unfounded really - and those who grumble that the game should really be on the Nintendo DS forget that the Lemmings franchise is owned by Sony and therefore highly unlikely to feature on that platform (or indeed, any other non Sony platform).
On other things, our first next-generation project (which is still very much under-wraps) progresses very well and we're coming to the final period on a PSP/DS project in what has been a remarkably busy 8-10months for the studio - I'm sure we'll all get chance to relax and chill out at our party next month.
There's plenty still going on and lined up for the rest of the year as well as next-year (and even 2008!) it's great that after somewhat of a transitional period, Team17 is really tearing up trees right now and it's fantastic to be involved with it.
Getting by with a little help from our friends
Another great aspect of stuff we're doing right now is that we're working with a bunch of other smaller developers in order to bring great games and content to digital platforms. It's akin to how we worked in our early days and it's brought a breath of fresh air with it, allowing Team17 to expand it's horizons without taking un-necessary risks in terms of a bloated staff count. The arrangements are seemingly working for everyone and we're delighted to be working with top external talent. Long may it continue.