When Adhesive Games' creative director and co-founder Khang Le took the stage during last night's Nvidia press conference to play the free-to-play mech combat game Hawken on Nvidia's Project Shield handheld, I was confused. This was not the PC game. What the hell was that?
Turns out Nvidia ran out of time to mention that Adhesive has spent the past couple of weeks building a Tegra 4-exclusive version of the game. As clarified to me during a follow-up call with Nvidia following last night's big debut, the team at Adhesive got their hands on the hardware a little bit before Christmas, spending the better part of the holiday getting the demo build up and running for the presentation. That explains why there wasn't much moving around as the crowd reacted to how good the graphics are.
The Android version of Hawken will definitely be exclusive to the Tegra 4 chip, and likely exclusive to Project Shield, partly answering the question of platform exclusives I put forth in my analysis of the upcoming device.
It's also an indicator of the excitement the new handheld is stirring in development circles. Creating a game for the amorphous Android market is chancy; a well-designed and defined product like Project Shield might be the firm footing potential Android developers have been waiting for. Suddenly the appeal of the Ouya makes much more sense.
What happens with Project Shield, portable Hawken is a good thing.