After more than two years in development, Necrosoft Games' Oh Deer! will be released on PlayStation Mobile next week. And just a few weeks later, it will disappear. That's because PlayStation Mobile, the platform launched in 2012 to bring bite-sized games to PS Vita and mobile devices is shutting down for good in July.
Necrosoft's Oh Deer! has had its share of bumps along the way, including its doubly unfortunate release date and almost being blocked from release over its supposed "sadistic mutilation" of video game deer.
Oh Deer! has the distinction of being the final game that will be published on PlayStation Mobile, according to Necrosoft Games founder Brandon Sheffield. It also means there's only about a four-week window in which to buy the game.
The closure of PlayStation Mobile is what spurred Sheffield to finally finish the game, he said.
"We were pretty close already," Sheffield said in an interview with Polygon. "It kind of galvanized us to action to spend time finishing the thing."
Oh Deer! is an arcade-style, pseudo-3D driving game in which the player races a station wagon to "Granny's" house and either runs over as many deer as possible along the way, or does their best to avoid those deer. The game features a drifting mechanic and authentically scaling 16-bit sprites — the type you might remember from classic Sega arcade games like Hang-On, Thunder Blade and OutRun.
Reinforcing that retro Sega-inspired aesthetic is original music by Motohiro Kawashima, a composer best known for his work on Genesis games Streets of Rage 2 and Streets of Rage 3.
Sheffield said that as you hit more deer — which burst into bits in bloody, lo-fi explosions — Kawashima's music will get "all dark and disturbing and stuff." But if the player avoids killing those deer, the music will get lighter. (In the final version of the game, those dark and disturbing aesthetics will affect the game's environment visually as well.) Sheffield likened the choice to OutRun's forking paths, which offered different scenery based on which direction drivers chose.
Though Oh Deer! will only be live on PlayStation Mobile for about a month, Sheffield says he doesn't mind that the game will have a short shelf-life.
"I kind of like the idea," he said. "I feel like having the last PlayStation Mobile game and having it only available for only a month, the game is gonna be more interesting for people. I think that might actually be good; more people might actually play it because it's going to go away."
Sheffield's treating the temporary release of Oh Deer! like an alpha of sorts, and hopes to find an interested publisher and eventually release a more complete version on other platforms. Anything with a controller, he said.
Oh Deer! is supposed to be released sometime next week on June 17, right in the middle of the frenzy of E3 2015. It will be sold for $0.49, the lowest price a developer can sell their game on PlayStation Mobile. It's a limited time offer.