vita pets

…Wait, that’s not Nintendogs!

No, ladies and gentlemen, the house that made Mario hasn’t finally buckled under the pressure and decided to publish its first-party games on rival platforms. The above screenshot is actually from a completely new title designed specifically for Sony’s portable: PlayStation Vita Pets. Soulless rip-off or an evolution of the pet sim genre? Find out after the break.

Unveiled earlier today, the new game is being made by UK-based developer Spiral House, who have had a hand in titles such as MotorStorm, LittleBigPlanet and Stuntman, and is expected to go on sale sometime next year.

No sooner had screenshots of the new game appeared online, however, that gaming pundits the world over were raising their eyebrows and the name of Nintendo’s 2005 pet sim was being hammered into keyboards and online forums.

Seemingly aware of the initial similarities between their own title and Nintendo’s DS smash Nintendogs, creative director Kevin Oxland introduces the game on the official PlayStation Blog, stressing that PlayStation Vita Pets is very much a “game” and not a simulation.

“Hey everyone! My name is Kevin Oxland and I’m creative director at Spiral House. I’m very excited to be here today to finally announce our new game with Sony for the PlayStation Vita. Please welcome PlayStation Vita Pets!

PlayStation Vita Pets is no ordinary pet game! We’ve done our best to really make this feel like a PlayStation game – with ‘game’ being the important word there. We set out to make something that was more than just a pet sim – we wanted to make something that felt like a real game, with characters, fun and adventure, so that’s exactly what we did.

We also wanted to focus on the dogs themselves, which may seem an obvious thing to say, but making them move, act and speak (!) in a very convincing way for the scope of the game we had in mind, was not easy.”

To give credit where it’s due, PlayStation Vita Pets certainly looks far more involved than Nintendo’s DS title, offering detailed environments to explore, stacks of items to discover and buy… oh and the fact that the dogs can talk.

Yep, it would seem that the biggest difference between Spiral House and Nintendo’s games is that the former’s furry stars are incredibly chatty, offering up pithy one-liners and doing a fair job of vocalising their feelings. There were plenty of commenters on PlayStation Blog, however, who were not entirely on board with the idea of their digital pets chatting back to them, with many demanding “an option to replace the talking and lip-synching with barking” and pointedly asking who on the development team thought talking pets would be a good idea.

After the underwhelming performance of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale–a game that bore more than a passing resemblance to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros.–Sony and Spiral House certainly have their work cut out for them with PlayStation Vita Pets. The decision to make use of the Vita’s rear-facing camera in order to allow your pet to play in real-world environments via augmented reality is a good one, and it’s great to see Vita getting a game that’s likely to appeal to a wider audience, but it won’t be easy to tread the fine line between creating a flat-out Nintendogs clone and a cringe-inducing video game version of Look Who’s Talking Now!

Source/images: PlayStation Blog via My Game Newsflash

▼ Bath time looks as cute as ever.

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▼ Tetherball!!!

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▼ Outfits galore!vita pets 4

▼ Now that’s a little more impressive than Nintendogs‘ park strolls!

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▼But as fun as the augmented reality feature looks, something tells us this shot’s not entirely genuine…

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