Is Severed the Last “Big” Vita Game?

Originally published on Trevor Trove on April 11, 2016

After multiple teases on Twitter last week, Drinkbox Studios finally unveiled the release date of their long-awaited PlayStation Vita exclusive Severed. Releasing on April 26, I can’t help but wonder if there were talks of it being included in the current Launch Party promotion. For all intents and purposes, it pretty much will as it launches alongside the final title in that event Alienation and will include a 10% discount for PlayStation Plus members. I imagine the business realities of not formally including it in that marketing promotion might be tied to the fact that it is a Vita exclusive whereas every other title is a PlayStation 4 game (and one or two have a Vita Cross Buy deal).

It’s no secret that Sony has been phasing out its major support of the handheld in terms of first-party content. But it has become a go-to system for many smaller and independent games. And developers like Mike Bithell and Tom Happ recognize the diehard nature of the Vita audience so much so that they’ll spend months and months to commit to bringing their games like Volume and Axiom Verge to the system, even breathing new life into sales outside of their initial launches on the PlayStation 4 (well, Bithell noted as much. Axiom Verge hits the Vita next week and I imagine will receive a similar bump).

And then you have a company like Drinkbox Studios, which found great success with Guacamelee on the Vita. Back when Severed was announced at the first PlayStation Experience, I went hands-on with the game and it was immediately clear that they were making this game specifically with the touch screen in mind. For those unfamiliar with the game, it’s like a first-person dungeon crawler with a Fruit Ninja-style combat system where you slide your finger across the screen to slash at your enemies. I’ve posited before that they might have been able to map the DualShock 4 touch pad in a similar vein if they ever wanted to bring it to the console but they seem content, eager even, to be one of the last (if not the last) high-profile Vita-exclusive games on the market, having spent an entire additional year in development (it was originally planned for a Spring 2015 release) in order to make the most out of the system and game.

I have no doubt it will sell well for them. If Vita owners were so desparate a few months back as to make a Vita port of the mobile game Taco Master one of the top-selling games on the system, I guarantee that rabid fanbase will latch onto a proper game from a proven developer with a great track record on the system. As someone who has played it at both PlayStation Experiences, I can’t wait to go hands-on with the final product.

With Sony’s focus shifting to PlayStation VR, will this be the PlayStation Vita’s swan song? If so, all signs point to it being a great note to go out on. 

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