Lone Survivor

Inside Sony's indie initiative: How the hardware giant is courting small-team talent

"It's not just about our policies, it's about our people."

The two-man developer Vlambeer knew it was on to something with its 2D dogfighting retro throwback Luftrausers. Its snappy pace and minimalist visuals seemed well suited for on-the-go gaming, but Vlambeer worried its control scheme would be compromised on mobile. Instead, the Netherlands-based developer decided it would be a perfect fit for the PlayStation Vita's widescreen and button input. So it did what any small studio would do - it worked on a pitch.

Lone Survivor's PS3 and Vita port due this summer

UPDATE: Release date narrowed to July. Adds new locations, sidequests, items and an additional ending.

Update: The Lone Survivor PS3 and Vita port's release date has been narrowed down to July, according to a post on the EU PlayStation Blog.

Game of the Week: Lone Survivor

Alone in the dark.

I've just ordered the parts for a new PC. I'm very excited. My current computer, while it can still just about play new games, has passed the point where the experience is any fun at all. A hand-me-down graphics card from Rich Leadbetter which won't fit in my current case was all the excuse I needed to start from scratch.

Lone Survivor Review

Lone Survivor Review

You can tell from the pixels.

There's a section in Lone Survivor where you find yourself in an old arcade, shrouded in darkness, a series of cabinets against the wall. As you pass each one, your character comments on the game on-screen. It's a game about guilt," he says. "It's about a boy and a girl." "It looks kinda retro." "It's just another zombie game."

Really, he's talking to us, not himself. And he's talking about the game we're playing rather than the ones he's looking at. Lone Survivor is extremely self-aware, revelling in its own sense of mystery. But where such fourth-wall-breaking might leave lesser games feeling pretentious, Lone Survivor weaves it into its darkly fascinating, open-ended plot.

It's a survival horror game of sorts, and about as indie as they come. Played in a fixed resolution of 160x90, although scaled up to fill the screen, it's drenched in muddy, pixelated atmosphere. It operates on a side-scrolling pane, each room or corridor a different screen, and you'll spend most of your time moving left or right and pressing X to interact.

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