James Marsden, The MD of Futurlab took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some of our questions as we focus on their past works and future projects.
Another week, Another “Crosshairs On”. This time, we set our sights on the brilliant FuturLab.
If you have never heard of FuturLab :-
A) Shame on you &
B) That will be changing very soon.
Futurlab are a developer that is definitely in the ascendancy. Born in sunny Brighton, the studio has been going from strength since its famous pitch to Sony back in 2007.
Their first game was Coconut Dodge. The premise is simple – you play as a crab who needs to avoid falling coconuts while grabbing as many jewels as possible. The game combined addictive and rewarding game play, optimising “Just one more go” gaming. Take a look at the below video to see what we mean.
The game was released to critical acclaim, earning more than a few 10/10 review scores and still sits proudly amongst the top 30 PSP games on Metacritic. It was even awarded “PSN Game of the Year” by PSNStores.com.
Riding the success of Coconut Dodge, the studio moved onto its next game which would prove that FuturLab werent just a 1 trick pony…
Velocity was released in May 2012. Nobody saw it coming, but it blew the socks off everyone that played it.
A testing, top down space shoot ‘em up set in 2212, you play as the pilot of the Quarp Jet, a space ship capable of teleportation, tasked with rescuing stranded ships after a star collapses into a black hole. To top it off, a hostile alien race, the Zetachron, is hell-bent on stopping you.
Intuitive puzzles and tense gameplay combined with FuturLabs immense attention to detail meant that this game blasted its way to hundreds of 9/10 reviews, critical awards and gamers hearts. The game put FuturLab on the map and made them a studio to get excited about.
It was around this time that FuturLab started to heavily interact with its fans. The fact that Velocity was a Playstation Mini and was missing something that many Playstation fans had come to adore – Trophies – but was of such immense quality caused quite a stir in the gaming media. James Marsden, the FuturLab MD, discussed the pro’s and con’s of the Playstation Mini platform at length, but it was not long before FuturLab had moved their focus elsewhere…
FuturLab began to champion the Playstation Mobile platform, releasing 3 terrific games. Beats Slider, a music mastery puzzle game which involves sliding MIDI music data into the correct position to create great tunes, Fuel Tiracas, a frantic challenge of your manual dexterity and response times & Surge, a match 3 game with an epic twist. All 3 of these games are highlights of the Playstation Mobile platform, taking tried and tested game types and adding a unique and ingenious twist, re-inventing their respective genres and setting the bar very high for those who were to follow.
Taking note of what their fans had said about Velocity regarding trophies, and signing a year deal with Sony meant that there was only logical step for FuturLab.
FuturLab announced early this year that they would be releasing a re-mastered version of Velocity, called Velocity Ultra (named via a contest on Twitter), for the Playstation Vita. This Ultra version will feature a new art style, online leaderboards and those all important trophies – including a Platinum.
The game is set to be released on May 15th 2013 and will be joining the Playstation Plus service as a free game for subscribers as part of May’s content. Make sure you have your subscriptions up to date as you wont want to miss this one.
Head on over to page 2 to take a look at our Q&A session with James Marsden, the Managing Director of FuturLab.