Starhawk is a big deal for Sony, maybe a bigger one for Austin.
It's surprising that of all franchises making their way to Austin, Sony's Warhawk series is the one that firmly planted its flag here. The franchise dates back to the early days of the Playstation brand and the sci-fi space sim is set to see a new sunrise under the guidance of developer Lightbox Interactive here in Austin.
Fitting too is the fact that the series' most recent iteration, Starhawk, has a decisively western tone to its world and setting.
Viewing the rustic reds and browns of the game's barren landscape, it's easy to imagine the art department of Starhawk taking regular trips to West Texas as a constant point of reference for the game's many vistas.
With Starhawk, the franchise continues the mulitplayer groundwork that its earlier sibling, Warhawk, laid in 2006. Adding a unique strategy element to the title the developers have coined "Build n' Battle," players now have the ability to call in an assortment of armored bunkers, sniper towers, or vehicle spawns to aid them in battle and thwart enemy advancements. Key to the multiplayer experience, this new ability to drop down infrastructures in the middle of battle adds a unique twist to Starhawk's multiplayer, helping it to have an identity in today's crowded market of shooters.
Scooping up talent locally in Austin and bringing in others from Seattle and California, Lightbox Interactive's Starhawk represents more than just a big AAA title from the oldest franchise in Sony's stable (the original Warhawk launched in 1995 for the Playstation 1). For Austin, it's the first title of its kind to be made here, a big budget studio production that has been transplanted from the west coast and placed here in Texas' capital.
Sure, there are other action titles here like Darksiders made by Vigil Games, and there are other first-party developers like Microsoft's recently acquired Twisted Pixel Games, but Starhawk is one of the first to be backed by a first-party publisher like Sony in a big way.
For the city of Austin, Starhawk's success could open the door for other publishers to see the city as a place to invest money.
As much as Sony is hoping for a successful launch for Starhawk this May, it may mean more for the city of Austin when it comes to attracting other studios for development.