Until Dawn Developer and Their Supermassive History With Sony
English developer Supermassive Games have quickly become a name that PlayStation owners recognize. Since being founded in 2008, the studio has been on the forefront of new technology in gaming, having helped usher in PlayStation Move and Wonderbook. Even if those two peripherals didn’t set the gaming world ablaze, they did however tighten the developer’s relationship with Sony, as they are now working with them on Until Dawn — the studio’s biggest project to date.
A Brief History of Supermassive Games
In 2008, former Electronic Arts and Psygnosis employee Pete Samuels founded Supermassive Games. Based in Guildford, England, the independent games studio started developing titles for PlayStation systems with less than 30 employees under contract.
Their first published work ended up being the Pirates of the Caribbean Premium Level Kit for LittleBigPlanet 2. This was the first creation that came out of a successful partnership between Supermassive Games and Sony Computer Entertainment. They also went on to create additional DLC for LittleBigPlanet 2 featuring other successful series, including Marvel, Toy Story, The Muppets, and The Incredibles.
2011 was the breakout year for the studio as they were at the forefront of the PlayStation Move launch. Supermassive Games created two launch titles for the PlayStation 3 motion controller, and even created Move-exclusive DLC for LittleBigPlanet 2. Both of their launch titles did well, as Tumble and Start the Party! were both must-haves for those that purchased a PlayStation Move controller.
After working on Start the Party! Save the World, Supermassive Games went back to working on traditional console games. Their first major game release was Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock, which was based off the popular BBC television series. Sadly, the PlayStation 3 and Vita platform adventure game was a critical flop which killed the planned trilogy of games.
After the disappointment that was Doctor Who, Supermassive Games turned 2012 around with their work on two high profile PlayStation franchises. They did the port work on the remastered Killzone HD, and developed the mini-games found within LittleBigPlanet PS Vita.
Next up for the studio was an announcement of two titles that used the PlayStation Move controller. This included Until Dawn, which was originally targeted as a PlayStation 3 game, and Walking with Dinosaurs. While the PlayStation 3 version of Until Dawn never came to fruition (due to the game moving to PlayStation 4), Walking with Dinosaurs certainly did. This Wonderbook title allowed kids to check out an interactive book full of dinosaurs.
The first project that came out from the England-based studio was not a game, but a DLC pack for LittleBigPlanet 2. The first one to release was the Pirates of the Caribbean Premium Level Kit that saw the popular Disney franchise come to Sony's platformer in 2009. Other DLC that Supermassive Games developed include The Muppets, Toy Story, and Sackboy's Prehistoric Moves.
Supermassive Games' first developed game, Big Match Striker, was actually their only game to not appear on a PlayStation system. Released in 2010, the unique free-to-play football game required players to answer trivia questions.
Supermassive Games believed heavily in the PlayStation Move controller as they released two launch titles for the peripheral. The first of which was Tumble, which was a challenging puzzle game that had 70 different brain teasers to solve. It later received a physical release as part of the Move Mind Benders compilation.
The English developer's other launch title was Start the Party!, which was appropriately a party game. The main draw of the mini-game collection was that it combined motion controls with augmented reality. It was popular enough to spawn a sequel.
Despite having started the party just one year prior, players were invited to reignite the party (and apparently save the world) in Start the Party! Save the World. This sequel had several themed worlds that players (and their friends) could travel to.
After working extensively on PlayStation Move titles, Supermassive Games then worked on Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock for PlayStation 3 and Vita. Despite featuring actor Matt Smith voicing the titular character, the game was a critical and commercial failure. This killed the planned trilogy of Doctor Who games.
2012 wasn't all bad for Supermassive Games, as they also worked with Sony to port the original Killzone from PlayStation 2 to PlayStation 3. Dubbed Killzone HD, players could purchase the updated title either digitally or as a part of the Killzone Trilogy.
While Supermassive Games didn't do the bulk of the work on LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, they did do several of the arcade games that were playable within the game. These include mini-games such as Orb It! and Stratosphere. In 2013, they would also create the Marvel Arcade Pack for the game, which featured three superhero themed mini-games.
Supermassive Games close relationship with Sony continued with Walking with Dinosaurs, one of the few games that used Wonderbook. The title, which was a collaboration with BBC Worldwide, was a tie-in to the TV show of the same name.
Until Dawn is Supermassive Games most ambitious title yet. Taking inspiration from horror films, it looks to be one of the most thrilling interactive games ever made. Until Dawn is set to release August 25 on PlayStation 4.
Seeing how Supermassive Games developed titles for PlayStation Move and Wonderbook, it should come as no surprise that the developer is working on a game for Project Morpheus. Called Jurassic Encounter, players observe giant dinosaurs from prehistoric times. It is currently not known if this tech demo will be fleshed out into a full game.
With their most ambitious title currently in development, things are looking great for Supermassive Games. A relatively light PlayStation 4 release schedule should give Until Dawn a chance to succeed as consumers look for AAA titles to play. The success of Until Dawn will also prove important in seeing how closely Sony will work with the England-based developer in the future. If it proves to be a huge hit, we could even see the independent developer become a first party studio.
Besides Until Dawn, Supermassive Games is also working on a tech demo for Project Morpheus called Jurassic Encounter. This dinosaur-themed virtual reality experience has players witnessing gigantic dinosaurs roam around them. The demo wasn’t very interactive, though, so it is not known if the idea will be fleshed out into a full game or not.
Either way there are a lot of reasons to be excited for Supermassive Games. In the past seven years the developer has worked on some huge PlayStation franchises like Killzone and LittleBigPlanet, while also being at the cutting edge of technology. While PlayStation Move and Wonderbook didn’t take the world by storm, Project Morpheus might change the trend. If that does happen, one thing for sure is that Supermassive Games will help lead the charge.