March 28, 2007 - PlayStation 3 downloadable content has been a bit slow off the start following the system's launch late last year, but Sony at last seems to be kicking things into high gear. The Game Developers Conference brought about first details on Home and Little Big Planet. And now, the latest issue of Famitsu has revealed first details on an original Japanese production, Pixel Junk.
Pixel Junk is a game distribution service by Kyoto-based Q-Games (not to be confused with Tokyo-based Q Entertainment, maker of Lumines). While the magazine only managed to get the vaguest of details, the service promises to feature unique, casual game experiences delivered to PS3 owners via the PlayStation Network.
The name "Pixel Junk" may seem a bit odd for a Japanese studio operating out of Japan's historical capital, but Q Games is no ordinary Japanese studio. The studio was formed in 2001 by Dylan Cuthbert. Nintendo fans will recognize Cuthbert as the guy behind Star Fox (and its unreleased sequel, Star Fox II) on the SNES. Also a founding member of the studio is Kenkichi Shimooka, the creator of the original Ape Escape (hired by Sony on the strength of his work with the DIY "Game Yaroze" project on PS1.)
Cuthbert has worked on numerous projects with Sony in the past, including the famous duck tech demo from the PS2's launch as well as the impressive PSP demos from E3 2004. Every time you turn on your PS3, you're witness to a Q-developed product, as the studio worked on the PS3's operating system, notably the wavy pattern that appears in the background of the main menu. The team's most recent game productions were the mainstream DS title Star Fox Armada and the more esoteric GBA bit Generations game, Digidrive.
What kind of games can we expect to carry the name Pixel Junk? That's unknown at the moment, but Q-Games talked way back in 2004 about a "next-generation broadband online project" that it was developing technology for. The team estimated at the time that its work would take 3-4 years of development to achieve ... it looks like the wait is now over, and with so much time invested in the production (as well as the top-tier talent behind the project), Pixel Junk may be very exciting stuff for PS3.
While pricing and release plans were not revealed in Famitsu, given Q's pedigree, we can't wait to immerse ourselves in Pixel Junk.