Last year, Sony ruined Christmas in North America by delaying the adorable augmented-reality EyePet in order to make it ready for the PlayStation Move. Was it worth the wait? Producer Nicolas Doucet explains how Move changed the game.
When Nicolas Doucet and his team began working on EyePet, a game that uses the PlayStation 3 EyeToy camera to project a virtual pet into your living room, the PlayStation Move wasn't a going concern. In fact, it wasn't until late in the game's development cycle that Sony revealed their motion controller at E3 last year, leaving Doucet with a difficult decision.
Should the game be delayed to work with Move, or was the tech they had installed good enough?
The answer became much easier after the EyePet's European launch in October of last year revealed a strong flaw in the game.
In order to spawn virtual objects for your pet to play with, Sony included a flat card that players would hold up to the camera, spawning items like toys, hair dryers, and other fun tools to use on your pet.
This worked great when the flat side of the card was facing the camera.
"The problem was that children didn't understand the need to keep the card facing the camera," Doucet explained, waving the Move controller he was using to show me the game off-screen. "As they turned, so did the card, making the objects disappear."
The Move, on the other hand, has a uniform shape no matter how you point it at the camera. Furthermore, it can even be detected when it's behind your back. Doucet moved the controller behind him to demonstrate, and the game still detected a slightly fainter blue circle of light.
This immediately brought to mind thoughts of playing with my cats, pretending to throw their toys but hiding them behind my back instead. Somehow they always figure it out. Perhaps the EyePet can too.
This was my first session with the EyePet, incidentally, which is strange, considering my penchant for the ridiculously cute. He's everything I thought he would be. I predict you'll see videos of me playing with it endlessly when it launches later this year, bundled with the Move.
And if you look closely in the background, you'll be able to see my neglected cats wasting away to nothing, weakly mewling for attention. Maybe PETA will send them food.
As for EyePet, Doucet seems confident they made the right decision in North America. The Move controller is a small but significant difference that could be the key to the EyePet's North American success.