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Sonic & Sega Racing studio has "three or four massive, massive games" in development

"Perceptions of us will completely change," says Blur designer

Sumo Digital isn't what you'd call a "household name", as regards core enthusiasts at least. Though consistently excellent, much of the Sheffield-based developer's output is of the family-friendly and/or non-gun-fixated variety, where primary colours abound and smiling animals dance - sights and sounds that are anathema to those who can't call a day complete unless they've terminated 1000 virtual souls before lunch.

All that may change soon, however, for good or ill. According to lead designer Gareth Wilson and executive producer Steve Lycett, Sumo has a number of projects underway that will "completely change" perceptions of the studio, some of them presumably for next generation consoles. The interview in question is rather an old one - from summer 2012, in fact - but I thought the quotes worth exploring in light of a recent rumour that Sumo has partnered with Sony to make LittleBigPlanet 3. Who knows, perhaps there's an exclusive Xbox 720 project waiting in the wings.

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The pair admitted to frustration about Sumo's comparative low profile, particularly as befits attracting new talent. "It's difficult for us," Lycett began. "The problem is that we can only really put ourselves out there when the games are announced. You've got two years between projects where you've just got to keep your mouth shut.

"We'd love more people to come and work here, we're always advertising - I think when people know us, and when they've played the stuff we've done, there's a lot of respect. The enthusiasm just surges through the building here."

Formerly a designer at Project Gotham Racing studio Bizarre Creations, Wilson joined Sumo in February 2011, and says he was startled by the scale of certain of its unannounced projects. "It's a bit of a sleeping giant, this place. When Bizarre closed I had offers from Microsoft and Ubisoft, and I came here. If six months ago someone had said that, I'd be surprised because I didn't know much about Sumo, but when you get to know the studio and the games which have been signed up for the next few years, people's perception of us will completely change.

"I wish we could talk about them," he added. "There's some massive, massive games being made here at the moment."

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I was unable to extract further particulars, but Lycett did chip a tantalising thought my way at the interview's close. "I can absolutely say, there will three or four major things that people will not have expected us to do. There's going to be some real surprises."

It's possible one of Sumo's unannounced projects was the relatively unexciting Nike+ Kinect Training, revealed not long after our chat. That still leaves two or three secret somethings to account for, though. Whatever could they be talking about? Here's a possibility: Microsoft has signed Sumo up to develop a new Project Gotham Racing. The manufacturer renewed its PGR trademark last month, remember. Failing that - Sumo has a close relationship with Sega, for whom it developed Outrun (pictured), and Sega has at least two next generation games on the go that we don't know about.

Chin: stroked. Fingers: crossed.

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