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Home developer Hellfire Games has announced its intention to move to the PS4 platform. Hellfire is best known on PlayStation Home for Home Tycoon and Novus Prime. We have seen a "tech demo" video from Hellfire of what appears to be an adaption of Home Tycoon. I had a lot of questions for Hellfire about their new project and Ben Lewis, Hellfire's Marketing Director & Community Manager, was kind enough to chat with me about it. Take a look...

YPSH : Thanks Ben for stopping by and telling us the news about your new project. Does your project have a name, and how does it differ from some of the other projects already announced? 

Ben : Our next game's internal title is Big City Stories. We're creating an exciting new city-building experience for modern consoles with tons of features that weren't possible in PlayStation Home, along with plenty of the perks that our fans have come to expect from an interactive, avatar-based world.

YPSH : Is your project going to be on the PS4?

Ben : Our current tech demo is running on the PlayStation 4, and we intend to bring the finished product to PS4.

YPSH : What about other platforms? Any chance it could cross-over to, say, PCs or other consoles?

Ben : It's too early to announce final platforms, so stay tuned to facebook.com/HellfireGames for more details when they're ready.

YPSH : Tell us what the project's business model will be like. Do we buy virtual items to support it (like Home) or will it be a subscription?

Ben : We're planning a generous Free-to-Play model with Big City Stories. Just like with PlayStation Home, you won't need to pay up-front or commit to a monthly subscription to enjoy the game. We've also been listening to community feedback sinceHome Tycoon's launch and have plans to make the content in our next game even more accessible to all types of players.

YPSH : So everyone is asking, will the project simply be a port of Home Tycoon to the PS4 or something much bigger than that?

Ben : Big City Stories will be bigger and more ambitious than Home Tycoon was on the PS3, mainly because we can do so much on the new platform. Fans will recognize some familiar sights and faces, and there will be plenty of new features on display, as well.

YPSH : So we can continue to enjoy a Home Tycoon type game but have the added addition of a larger world?

Ben : Larger in the sense that the game will be open to more than just PlayStation Home, and developed with a much larger range of memory and tools to work with. We're also planning some innovative social tools to make Big City Stories a place for players to meet up, hang out, and share experiences in addition to the core game.

YPSH : Will we have better ways to customize and create our avatars?

Ben : We certainly plan on having a robust character creation system in terms of how you can physically shape your avatar's features to your liking. More info on the avatar system to come in the future.

YPSH : How about clothing items for our avatars? Will there be a constant flow of new items we can purchase?

Ben : We'll have a selection of clothing items available from the start, with plenty of unlockable rewards available through gameplay and more content to come after launch. As always, we'll be listening to the community for feedback, requests, and suggestions on what they'd like to see as the game evolves.

YPSH : Can we purchase virtual apartments and furniture items like we did in Home?

Ben : It's too soon to definitively announce plans for various personal spaces, as we aren't aiming to build a virtual world platform to replace Home. Of course, we do have plans for players to customize their own space with furniture, decorations, and other placeable objects in their cities.

YPSH : Do you have plans for special events?

Ben : Without a doubt. Just as we have with our current games, we'll be able to organize plenty of in-game events and promotions for our community through the life of the game.

YPSH : For Home users who acquired a bunch of items from Hellfire, is there any chance a few choice items might be ported over to give to the loyal fans?

Ben : We're definitely focused on rewarding our loyal fans from PlayStation Home in Big City Stories. Fans should be sure to sign up for our newsletter at promo.hellfiregames.com to be the first to know the details when they're announced.

YPSH : Can you give us idea of when your project will be available on the PS4?

Ben : We're aiming for a 2015 release.

YPSH : Will there be a beta before the official launch? If so, can users sign up for it?

Ben : We're looking into the details involved in preparing a closed beta on consoles. No promises yet, as these things have long lead times and a lot of moving parts with partnerships required, but we're looking into it. Signing up for the Hellfire Games newsletter is the best way to find out the details when they're ready.

YPSH : Hellfire has mentioned that it will not be partnering with other devs or allowing other devs to make items for sale within their project. Do you see this changing in the future?

Ben : We're 100% focused on developing Big City Stories, so we haven't announced plans to partner with other developers on additional projects. No plans for this to change in the near future.

YPSH : Other devs have announced their intention to use Unity or the Unreal engine for their creations. What does Hellfire intend to use for its creation?

Ben : Our current tech demo runs on Unity 4, and with Unity 5 just around the corner, we should be able to do some seriously cool things on modern consoles. 

YPSH : Will Hellfire's project be self-funded or will it use crowd-funding (i.e., Kickstarter) to get it started?

Ben : We've self-funded development thus far and haven't announced crowd sourcing plans for this project. 

YPSH : Thanks Ben for the lowdown on your new project! We wish you success! Be sure to drop by again and give us an update.

Ben : My pleasure! As always, fans can stay up to date with Hellfire Games at facebook.com/HellfireGames and twitter.com/HellfireGames, and sign up for our newsletter at promo.hellfiregames.com for free stuff and the latest game updates. Stay tuned!

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