It’s no secret that the PS Vita could use a little help in the sales department. Sure, the system has found a creative second wind in the indie scene and Remote Play with the PS4 works surprisingly well, but that seemingly hasn’t done much to shift the handheld’s fortunes.
Still, Sony isn’t giving up. The company is expected to announce the arrival of the Slim version of the device in the UK this Thursday after sending out press invites. Already out in Japan, the PS Vita Slim sheds its skin a little, removing some of the system’s weight and thickness as well as replacing the shiny OLED screen with a battery efficient LCD one. Games take a hit visually, but the result is a bump in battery life and a reduction in price.
But if Sony really wants to revitalise its handheld, it will take far more than the lower price (how much lower can it get than retailer’s £150 listings?). It needs games and goodness. From the likely, to the hopeful, to the ridiculous, below are the 10 things we think Sony should reveal next Thursday if it’s going to get the system back on track.
[alert type=alert-blue]Something new[/alert]
Last year’s Tearaway proved that you can go much, much further with the Vita if you’re developing a new IP for it instead of trying to shoehorn the system’s features and limited hardware into a console franchise. We’ve got more than enough sequels listed below but, in all likelihood, Sony’s best bet with the Vita something so original that it just couldn’t be realised anywhere else. Sure, we’d like to see Infamous hit the system and there’s always room for more Call of Duty (or maybe not in the Vita’s case), but coming at the system with a clean slate is always the best starting point.
[alert type=alert-blue]64 GB cards[/alert]
This kind of counts as a no-brainer in our books. Sony introduced a 64 GB memory card with the PS Vita Slim in Japan last year and we expect it to make its way over here too. In truth, a 16 GB card is more than enough to fit a good five or six games onto your system at any one time, but you’ll forgive us for wanting to have our entire library available all at once. Hopefully it won’t be priced so hilariously highly as to completely kill the system’s momentum (again).
[alert type=alert-blue]App ports[/alert]
Trust What Mobile to come up with this one. Some of the biggest franchises in gaming have mobile spin-offs; they’re just not on Vita. EA has brought pretty much all of its IP to iPhones and iPad in recent years, while franchises like Deus Ex and XCOM are all stepping over the handheld and running for the app stores. The Vita’s library could be strengthened dramatically if it could cherry pick just a few of these games. We’d love to play the mobile version of Dead Space with the analogue sticks and XCOM feels like it was made for the system. We can’t be the only ones thinking about this, and it surely can’t be that hard to make happen.
[alert type=alert-blue]Borderlands 2 footage/date/anything[/alert]
A Vita port of Gearbox’s Borderlands 2 was announced at Gamescom last year. Since then we’ve heard exactly nothing about it. Well, that is if you don’t count incorrect release dates being accidentally posted by the publisher’s Twitter account. It’s long past time we saw Borderlands 2 in action on Vita. The shoot n’ loot gameplay is the perfect partner for a portable system. Still, the PS3/360/PC original is well over a year old now, and the longer it takes to come to Vita, the less and less relevant it’s becoming. Hopefully Thursday will put an end to these questions.
[alert type=alert-blue]Freedom Wars West[/alert]
What’s Sony’s answer to no Monster Hunter 4 on Vita? Make it yourself. Last year Soul Sacrifice proved that there’s enough space in the boss-hunting genre for more than Capcom’s flagship franchise. Freedom Wars is hoping to do the same in 2014. This co-op third-person action game was revealed in Japan last year but the company has remained tight-lipped on a Western release. We’re hoping that it’s announced on Thursday.
[alert type=alert-blue]Murasaki Baby[/alert]
Here’s another promising Vita game that hasn’t been seen since the Gamescom reveal. Murasaki Baby captured our hearts with its twisted art style and innovative puzzles that make full use of the Vita’s touchscreen. We’d love to see the game in this half of the year seeing as, well, there’s not a lot coming to the handheld in this half of the year.
[alert type=alert-blue]Uncharted Vita 2[/alert]
Sony Bend Studio was one of the few developers to crack the code of PSP development with three excellent third-person shooters. It followed that up with Uncharted: Golden Abyss on Vita, which remains one of the best examples of the system’s raw processing power. Golden Abyss is over two years old now, and Bend has kept its cards close to its chest since release. It Nathan Drake isn’t returning to PS4 until 2015, perhaps he’ll make a comeback on the handheld this year?
[alert type=alert-blue]Reintroduce BioShock Vita[/alert]
It’s E3 2011. Irrational Games’ Ken Levine has just walked on stage and announced a BioShock project for the Vita. Unexpected gasps and cheers of excitement are heard around the hall. This should have been a watershed moment for the system that proved third parties were ready to offer support from the start. Instead, Levine has since back-peddled on the announcement, stating that it’s up to publisher 2K if it ever gets made. Given that Sony made the announcement on the world stage, that’s pretty embarrassing and sadly symbolic of the Vita story so far. Still, if there’s any whisper of hope left in the deal when Sony should seize the day and back it. We’d love to see BioShock hit Vita still.
[alert type=alert-blue]Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate[/alert]
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Yes, Sony has offered up great Monster Hunter alternatives in the past but it could certainly do with the real thing to help out in the Japanese market. You might consider this something more likely be revealed over there, but given that the Ultimate edition of the 3DS title was only announced this weekend, it’s possible that the announcement was held back to coincide with Thursday’s news. Yes, a Monster Hunter game is already on its way, but it’s not the true Monster Hunter 4, which Vita fans would dearly like to see. It’s time for that.
[alert type=alert-blue]Demon’s Souls 2[/alert]
Alright, alright, stop laughing. Truth is, rumours of a Sony-published Demon’s Souls sequel have been floating around for some time. It certainly makes sense ‘ Dark Souls, the game’s spiritual sequel, has picked up an immense following since launching on PS3 and 360 and another Demon’s Souls would certainly grab fan’s attention. And if it was announced with cross-play between a PS4 version? Well, we would absolutely be on board with that. Several thousand times over.
What would you like to see Sony conjure up to help the Vita?