Horn, an action adventure for mobiles developed by self-professed ‘triple-A developer’ Phosphor Games will be one of the first console-style experiences to come out of publisher Zynga since the company’s recent strategic-shifting.
Before we go any further you should watch this.
Pretty, right? It’s clear that Zynga, best known for its Facebook games FarmVille and CityVille, is looking to replicate something of Chair Entertainment’s resounding success with Infinity Blade, one of the few blockbuster-esque games on iOS.
Indeed, Horn is a game built upon different values to Zynga’s social games. Its art direction takes cues from Fumito Ueda’s respected oeuvre, while its action/ reaction based play and focus on technological showboating takes the publisher into new creative territory.
It’s an interesting move for Zynga and Phosphor is an interesting developer, whose previous title Dark Meadow has a significant following. Nevertheless, a number of comments made by the the studio’s co-founder Chip Sineni in the announcement trailer grate.
“Mobile and tablet systems are quickly becoming the main way people play games…” he says, pausing for effect before delivering the punchline: “…replacing consoles.”
Not true, say we. Mobile games can be an enriching part of an interactive diet, but they’re just one element. When it comes to the relationship between console/ PC and mobile it’s not one or the other.
We don’t want to play Dark Souls on an iPod Touch. That would be awful! Imagine trying to best Ornstein and Smough using nothing but pudgy finger swipes. And who wants to use tilt controls to cast a pyromancy spell?
Likewise, New Star Soccer should never harbour ambitions to become an Xbox 360 game. In this game drawing the angle and power of passes and plotting lines of defense with your finger is the optimum way to interact with the game. It would lose something if played with an analogue stick on the medium screen.
These are games suited to their hardware. One cannot replace the other because they are tailored to different types of host object. They may share an ultimate purpose but they differ pleasingly in application.
Multi-platform development offers a multitude of benefits to both developers and consumers, but not all hardware is manufactured equal. A game that works well within one configuration of plastic and glass may be ill-suited to another. One game benefits from having buttons and sticks that can be pushed and prodded. Another is far better enjoyed without such clutter.
Suggest otherwise and you end up with Kinect Samba De Amigo, which is the sort of nightmare that’s just plausible enough to haunt our waking hours.
“The problem is that people aren’t finding the kind of games they like to play on mobile,” Sineni continues.
Such combative language! Such sweeping generalization!
Horn will hopefully be an amazing experience, filled with delightful ideas and evocative art. Men and women have given a significant slice of their lives and energy to creating this game and everything in Hookshot’s heart wants it to be wonderful.
But to suggest the game will answer the problem of people not finding games on their mobiles they want to play? That’s unnecessarily setting everyone involved up for a great fall.