Buzz! maker Relentless' three-and-a-half new games

Plus: Microsoft needs to get gamers on board with Kinect.

Buzz! inventor Relentless Software is making three-and-a-half new games, co-founder Andrew Eades told me this afternoon - including a new game in the successful Blue Toad murder mystery series.

"It's the same world, same characters," he said. "It's a different use of the Blue Toad idea. I won't go into too many details ... it's less than two months old right now. But it's really cool and we really like it."

Another new game was started at the same time. It's a new IP also in the adventure-puzzle genre.

The half is yet another new game "in very early concept" stage. Eades wouldn't say what it was but when I asked if it was similar to the others, he replied: "What do you think Rob?" Similar, in other words.

jason

I wonder how Jason Donovan's doing now he's not voicing Buzz...

All three will be self-published.

The fourth and final game is a bizarre but potentially lucrative Furby Boom! app, which interacts with an actual Furby toy. It's all dreamt up and paid for by Hasbro.

Relentless was in a very different place this time last generation, riding high on Buzz!'s PS2 success and making a PS3 version Sony hoped would sell the console to a family audience. But Buzz! PS3 wouldn't have the same impact.

Relentless has been in a period of change ever since, culminating recently in co-founder David Amor leaving the company, and the studio shrinking to a three-team set-up of around 30 people.

But now PS4 is on our doorstep, could Buzz! make a comeback? "I don't own that series so I don't know, but I would imagine so - it's a really good game." But Sony hasn't asked his studio to do it. "No," he said, "nor would we do it.

"We've got better ideas and we've moved on a bit, and Buzz! is - we can't just be defined as the Buzz! guys and not own it. If we owned the property I feel that that would be possible, but we don't, so we'd rather put our effort into something we own."

Eades is, however, talking to both Sony and Microsoft about making games for PS4 and Xbox One. The idea is to have Relentless games on everything, as long as there's an audience to sell to - a caveat that rules Wii U out, even though Eades is very fond of it as a machine.

"I'd like to look at the PlayStation Camera, but Sony have not made that appealing because they're not shipping it with every box."

Andrew Eades

It's Kinect that seems to excite Eades most, unsurprising given the Kinect Nat Geo TV game Relentless made recently for Microsoft.

"The dream of Kinect wasn't quite there in Kinect 1," Eades said. "I don't think anyone at Microsoft would try and tell you anything different. But it doesn't mean the idea of having this hands-free controller is a bad idea: it's still a good idea. I love it.

"We founded the company to make games for everybody, and we did that by introducing our own bespoke controller because the DualShock was too complicated for everyone. I love the idea that you can just have a room of people, they all walk into the living room, they're all having fun and they can just join in the game - they don't have to learn a new controller.

"Yeah, I'm a big fan of Kinect, and I'd like to look at the PlayStation Camera, but Sony have not made that appealing because they're not shipping it with every box."

He knows that hardcore gamers don't necessarily want to pay extra to have Kinect with their Xbox One, but as a developer he needs to know how many people have a camera if he's making a game for it - something far harder to calculate with PS4.

Even so, Microsoft has a hell of a PR job to change gamers' minds about Kinect, he reckons.

"It'll need a really really good title to show it off and to make gamers see its positive sides as well as its negative sides, and it's important to get the hardcore gamer audience, including me, on board, because we're the advocates of these machines, and it's important for us to be respected as the advocates that Sony and Microsoft want us to be," he said.

"Without a core experience that gamers say, 'You know what, I'm going to switch the Kinect on and it's going to be good for this reason...' [Microsoft's] got quite a lot of ground to make up. And the hyper-inflated claims of what Kinect 1 could do and the disappointment of games not quite hitting the mark with Kinect - that's maybe not helping right now."

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