Sony recently held a press event in Japan where they announced a renewed focus on moving their franchises to mobile platforms. We learned that their new subsidiary, ForwardWorks, would be handling the transition of some beloved titles to the small screen. These include big names like Parappa the Rapper, Wild Arms, Arc the Lad, and Hot Shots Golf. As part of this initiative, the company also unveiled a new near-field communication (NFC) card game technology they've dubbed Project Field.
By pairing with a smartphone or tablet, the Project Field NFC mat creates an augmented playfield for collectible card games, bridging the gap between traditional CCGs like Magic the Gathering and digital offerings like Hearthstone. Cards are both readable and writable, making this both an evolution of Nintendo's amiibo as well as a compelling alternative for PlayStation fans. I was so excited by the possibilities offered by this technology that I started thinking about how some of my favorite video games might translate to Project Field. Here's a quick and dirty list of games that would be right at home on a playmat:
Mass Effect benefits from having an expansive catalogue of characters, races, locations, and technologies that give color to its robust universe. A Mass Effect card game is a shoo-in for a CCG. You could build a deck that serves as the crew for your very own Normandy-esque ship, filling it with memorable characters that possess abilities for both combat and non-combat situations. You'd engage in skirmishes with your opponent and watch it play out on the screen, and then reap the spoils of battle, saving them to your ship's card. A starter set could pull from the original Mass Effect trilogy, while an expansion might leverage the excitement generated by Mass Effect: Andromeda.
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Who doesn't want to be a Dovahkiin? A Skyrim card game would be a great way to engage in PvE (player versus environment) play against vicious AI dragons and monsters. You'd build a deck around your Dovahkiin character card by adding equipment, magic, and shout cards to the mix. Then you could level up these cards by doing battle with computer-controlled foes, or even fellow players in a duel-like scenario.
Of course, Skyrim is all about exploring, so the game would have to feature dungeons to plumb. Activate a trap? Deploy the right card to negate its effects. Find great loot? Scan your satchel card to claim it for yourself. Meet an interesting character? Listen to them tell their story on the game screen and make choices that determine the course of your adventure. The possibilities truly are vast for an Elder Scrolls adventure in this format.
Naughty Dog has been content to expand Uncharted's single-player and multiplayer offerings on PlayStation consoles, but maybe it's time they do something dramatically different. An Uncharted card game could be a novel way to hop into the shoes of Nathan Drake or one of his compatriots in a raucous quest for glory and treasure. Decks could consist of a character, vehicles, weapons, and adventuring tools, like Uncharted 4's grappling hook. The tablet would give a visual representation of each beautiful locale you visit, as well as 3D models of any treasure you find, which you'd add to your deck by scanning a cache card. You could play side-by-side with other players to see who makes the greatest discoveries, or battle it out when conflict arises. Uncharted is known for its gorgeous and action-packed setpieces, so Project Field would bring its card game to life in a way traditional cards simply couldn't.
The future is bright
Project Field represents a new and ambitious idea in an industry that often seems content to churn out nothing but sequels. While the technology hasn't been announced for release outside of Japan, it's something we should definitely keep an eye on - it could very well be the next evolution in augmented gaming, just like Skylanders and amiibo before it. If Sony partners with CCG pros like Wizards of the Coast, the results are sure to be astounding.