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PS2 Launch - MCV / CTW

Press cutting added by Ste Pickford on Sun, 22 Aug 2004
Subject: Aquaqua

Ste Pickford

This was a real big deal for us at the time. Along with Rage (now departed), our studio Zed Two (gone too!) managed to become one of the only developers in Europe working on the pre-launch PlayStation 2, thanks to our Japanese publisher, Imagineer. This was at the time when Sony were making all that fuss about the PS2 being military level technology, and it couldn't be exported outside of Japan without a munitions permit, or some such nonsense.

We wanted to make a bigger story about this coup than we actually did, but it was all a little bit naughty because as a UK developer we were only officially supposed to work on devkits supplied by Sony Europe (who didn't have any themselves at the time), and by sending a dev team to work on the hardware in Japan we were kind of sneaking around Sony's rules. All we wanted to do was make a good game and make some money, but us console developers live in fear of incurring the wrath of the manufacturers, who can withdraw your developer license any time they like, taking away your ability to work.

We had a scary meeting when we finally came to ask for concept approval from Sony Europe for AquaAqua, where instead of producing the usual concept document we gave them a master disk of the finished game, before we'd even applied for PS2 developer status (which you couldn't apply for until you had your concept approved), and therefore before we could officially have had even a sniff of a dev kit or manual. Thankfully they needed launch products, so they just gave us a stern telling off before accepting the game and giving us a dev license, but our life was on the line that day!

Its funny looking back how many platform firsts we've been involved with, in Europe at least. We worked on the first SNES devkit outside of Japan when developing Equinox, which was ironically supplied, against all the rules, by our publisher Sony. We even gave some Nintendo of America visitors their first glimps of the SNES in action on a visit to Software Creations Manchester offices, as they didn't have one in the US at that time.

Going back even further we started development of the first Gameboy game in Europe through Rare, before the machine was launched (although the actual game was eventually canned). But we didn't have a big hit with any of these early titles, so maybe we should wait around in future (not that I expect anyone will let us near their pre-launch hardware these days)...


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