Project Discovery, the new collaboration project between Sony and Kadokawa Games to create a new game from UGC (User Generated Content) is finally underway. With luck, this could be the sort of push the Vita needs to pick up some steam in Japan.
According to details in this week's Weekly Famitsu, Project Discovery will begin accepting submissions to their official site from the end of August until the beginning of December. Entries will be for 4 specific categories: Scenario/Scenario Plot, Character Design, Character Voice, and Music. Winners will be announced in the spring of 2013, and the winning entries will be pooled together into a new visual novel game that will be released through the PlayStation Store in the summer. Sony and Kadokawa Games will be accepting professional and amateur submissions alike, so some fairly high quality submissions can be expected.
Development will utilize a new "Discovery Engine," a visual novel specific engine that is currently in collaborative development between SCE and Kadokawa Games. Other companies like ROBOT will also have a hand in creating the final product.
UGC hits are nothing new for Kadokawa Games. The Fate series and the ひぐらしのなく頃に (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Translation: When the Cicadas Cry) series were both originally independently created games that exploded in popularity and were quickly brought to the mainstream through Kadokawa Games' publishing. Both series have enjoyed multiple sequels, re-releases, and manga and anime releases, which might be what both Kadokawa Games and Sony are hoping for Project Discovery. While the collaborative project has been in preparation for a while now, with the PS Vita currently underselling its predecessor, the PSP, in Japan on an almost weekly basis, that sort of boost must be what Sony is hoping for.
No details have been released about foreign submissions.
Project Discovery [角川ゲームス]