Saturday, July 24, 2021

IN THE EVENT YOU Play ” NEW WORLD “? Beta Impressions From The Frontier

Amazon Games’ upcoming MMORPG New World is in the spotlight as a lengthy closed beta session shows off the action ahead of an August 31st release. New World has changed its vision multiple times over the course of development, and now the question on everyone’s mind is – where is this going to land on release? What kind of player is it for? What kind of MMORPG is it? And perhaps the most important question, is it worth your time at all? Over the course of the beta (and a demo session that took me into an endgame slice with a fully-geared character), I’ve seen some areas with huge potential that are currently underserved in the MMORPG space – and some others that could be intense detriments for the title. Let’s talk about New World!It successfully lands a powerful frontier survival vibe If you’re familiar with survival games that have you punching wood to get a house going, New World delivers on this front initially by giving the player myriad survival pursuits. Hunting turkey on the borders of your established safe zones to raise your cooking skill and create rations is far more engaging than it has any right to be. Hunting down elusive saltpeter deposits in mines and crafting your own shells for your old-timey rifles feels fun. Being able to skill up in everything to your liking is a classic system à la Runescape, and its nice to know you can work up every single crafting and gathering skill if you wish, right down to doing some fishing. Banging together your first batch of gathering tools is actually freaking awesome. Digging up carrots and potatoes feels meaningful. Coming back to your town in the middle of the wilderness to trade feed and talk with your fellow explorers has all the allure of bustling about Disney’s Frontiertown, and I’ve rarely had so much investment into crafting and trading systems in MMOs. I can see potential problems with these aspects later down the line, i.e. do I really want to spend my time in the endgame gathering resources just so I can play the game, but for now, there’s plenty of magic in creating my own food, ammunition, and supplies before I trek out into the wild. It feels gritty, it feels raw, and it feels fresh. Faction PVP can be a lot of fun Territory control and faction-based opt-in PVP not only bring back a bit of realm-vs-realm feel from the glory days of Dark Age of Camelot, but they inject something that many online experiences have moved away from in the last decade – social interaction. That means yes, you are going to see a player named PoopyPants (Yes, this was a real player I saw) cutting down trees and screaming outside of town about the price of silver ore, and your chat feed is going to be inundated with comments that make the infamous Barrens chat look downright erudite. However, it also successfully adds shared social stakes to the experience, even if you choose not to interact at the verbal level with any other players. By funneling players into three different factions, you have an investment in your tribe regardless of how deep you want to take it. If you still just want to solo and bring back a load of furs to trade in town, you can – but the real fun is to be had by grouping up, interacting with others, and eventually taking over some territory as your chosen faction. At the solo, guild, and greater level, having game flow dictated by players instead of the “theme park” experience is a bold choice and more than a bit refreshing. The issue here is how interesting and meaningful are these faction wars going to be in the endgame? While I don’t have the answer to that yet, the prospect of really engaging with other players in a meaningful way in a MMORPG gives me a powerful nostalgia bump and some serious differentiation from many other genre offerings today. On the flip side, if you’re not really interested in territory wars or PvP, other existing MMORPGs might be a better choice. The combat is New World’s biggest weakness In almost every MMORPG, you’re going to be doing a ton of combat. It’s probably the biggest portion of the entire gameplay experience. With limited skill options, awkward animations, and very little excitement, New World’s combat is decidedly dull. Now, there’s something to be said about popping an opposing faction member from a great distance before you engage in a 3v3 skirmish that gets real greasy, but that’s more about the player-to-player interaction than the combat, which can often feel wooden and wonky. While I enjoy systems that attempt to break the genre out of the tab-targeting standard that’s been grandfathered into MMOs for ages, it misses the mark here.  I found it hard to determine if the other aspects of the game that seem enjoyable can carry this particular aspect either, as combat is the core of almost every other pursuit. Even if you’re just spelunking for saltpeter, you’re going to have to fight a ton of various zombie-like creatures, wolves, or bears, and it simply does not feel good. This problem is exacerbated in group experiences, both PvP and PvE, but more pronounced in the latter. Chewing into spongey opponents as a pack with the glaring lack of feedback from weaponry is almost comical, and your options in combat feel extremely limited and lacking. Everything can feel the same Enemies, locations, and activities can become a big bowl of mush without breaking it up with some PvP pursuits. You’ll see many of the same rickety little fishing villages, decrepit farms, and crumbling ruins as you traverse the giant world. Killing some undead buccaneers at level 5 feels the same as it does at level 15, and you’re going to be doing a ton of daily-quest/fetch style activities in order to grind out your faction reputation, like wandering around the aforementioned locations for boxes and killing X undead baddies. It feels intensely repetitive even after only twenty hours of gameplay, so I’m concerned about how that will translate to the endgame – will I still, as an elite member of the Syndicate, still be wandering farms killing undead and picking taters? I mean, I do like picking taters... Travel is rough When you’re just starting, it’s fine that you’re walking everywhere because you don’t have far to go. However, this takes a turn at around level 12, where you’ll find the autorun button and some movies on your favorite streaming platform to be your best friends. The world is large, and traveling it all on foot is a huge pain. Without mounts, and the fact that fast travel is limited by resources, moving around the map is an absolute bore and a chore. I realize there are other meaningful concerns that probably flow into this decision, like the implications of having everyone zoom around in a game that’s attempting to create stakes with territory control and PvP, but this becomes harder and harder to ignore the more you play and get quests on opposite ends of your map. Forging ahead Based on the beta, New World is going to be an interesting but potentially niche addition to the current crop of MMORPGs. However, it seems to really serve players that want to play with small groups of friends for faction skirmishes and that are interested in greater territory control wars with big guild politics and all that. If you’re not interested in that kind of greater pursuit with plenty of social interaction and PvP, the PvE elements by themselves do not seem compelling enough to keep things rolling.  While I love the feeling of crafting my own stuff, slowly increasing the areas that I’m strong enough to explore, and fastidiously upping all my gathering and crafting skills, I can see those charms fading rapidly as the activities become somewhat rote. The dynamics involved in faction wars and territory control seem to be the peppy antidote for the never-ending rock farm in various undead shacks and homesteads. As with other games that lean into this kind of emergent gameplay (RIP Shadowbane), some of New World will be what players shape it into.
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    PlayStation 5 Owners Access Free HALF A YEAR of Apple TV+

    PlayStation 5 owners were treated to a gift earlier today, as Sony announced on Thursday that owners of the new console will be able to get a six-month trial of Apple TV+ for free. RELATED: The Big Door Prize: Apple Orders Series Adaptation from David West ReadThe promotion is available only to PlayStation 5 owners and requires both a PlayStation Network account and an Apple ID. PS5 owners can redeem the offer anytime between now and July 22, 2022, and must have at least some payment method on file on their Apple account, because the plan will renew for $4.99/month after the trial period ends. If you’re a PS5 owner and looking to claim the offer, all you have to do is find the Apple TV app on your PS5 console’s search bar, or by navigating to the “All apps” section in the Media home. From there, download and open the app and follow the on-screen instruments, sign in with your Apple ID, and you’re done. RELATED: Echo 3: Michiel Huisman Joins Luke Evans in Apple’s Thriller SeriesBetter yet, the free trial promotion isn’t limited to just new customers. Existing Apple TV+ subscribers or users that are already using a free trial of the platform can take advantage of the free six months, provided that you own a PlayStation 5. With a ton of great programming including Ted Lasso, Mythic Quest, and more, it’s a great time to dive into the streaming platform. 

    Grid Legends revealed: Turn into a legend in a blockbuster racer

    Ready to get back behind the wheel? Revealed today during EA Play Live, welcome to Grid Legends, launching in 2022 on PS5 and PS4. A thrilling and unpredictable driving experience from Codemasters and EA Games, Grid Legends combines thrilling motorsport action, incredible race variety, and an immersive story that puts the player at the heart of the action. Blending brand new features with a quarter-century legacy of fantastic racing experiences, today’s official reveal trailer kicks off a new chapter for a legendary racing series.  So, before we really get stuck into that trailer, let’s take a cruise down memory lane…  Grid Legends: A racing legacy continues The Grid franchise has been busy tearing up the circuits and streets since 2008, when Race Driver: Grid burst onto the scene to critical acclaim – though in truth, the roots of our racing series stretch back into the 1990s. TOCA Touring Car Championship in 1997 created a buzz with its impressive handling and gameplay, and at the beginning of the millennium, TOCA Race Driver took things to another level. A wide range of racing experiences and a gripping story, introducing us to Nathan and Ryan McKane, set the tone for four Grid games to date, expanding the car list, racing disciplines, locations, online action, and engrossing single-player options. Whilst the series has taken plenty of different forms in the past 24 years, every title has remained true to three vital factors: Action-packed racing, incredible motorsport variety, and creating memorable racing stories on and off the track. Grid Legends delivers on these key features – and then some. Take a closer look at today’s trailer, and you’ll see what I mean… Play Video Trailer Breakdown The Grid Legends story A first for the franchise, Grid Legends’ story will be played out via innovative virtual production, blending a fantastic real-life cast, stunning set, and thrilling gameplay to bring you closer to the action than ever before. As the legendary Grid World Series returns for another year, you will be in the spotlight, as a fly-on-the-wall documentary captures every confrontation, all of the paddock politics, and every pivotal moment in the championship, as you challenge the infamous Ravenwest Motorsport, and the McKanes, for dominance on and off the track. The whole team here is incredibly excited to introduce this new form of storytelling to Grid, brought to life by a world-class crew and cast, including the brilliant Ncuti Gatwa (Netflix’s ‘Sex Education’). Prepare to watch the drama unfold off the track, but also be ready to handle your business on it, as a unique racing story plays out – with you in the middle of it all.  Racing variety Whilst our story is what weaves this trailer together, there is so much more to unpack – including a first look at some of the cars you’ll get behind the wheel of come next year. Continuing the franchise’s legacy of racing variety, over 100 cars will feature in Grid Legends, stretching from single-seaters, to big rigs, to classic touring cars, and plenty more. Expect machines from an array of motorsport eras, exemplified in our trailer by the likes of the Shelby Cobra 289 FIA, Audi A4 Quattro BTCC, and Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro Concept. All cars will be upgradable as you progress through Grid Legends, too; more on that in the near future.  That’s a taste of what you’ll be racing, but what about where you’ll be racing? The Grid series has always excelled in providing a diverse combination of real and unique fictional locations to compete at, and Grid Legends is no different. In fact, it’s even better.  130 routes will await you on launch, including iconic real-life tracks like Indianapolis, returning Grid favourites such as San Francisco and Paris, and brand-new locations like Moscow and London, which you may’ve spotted in the trailer. From purpose-built tracks, to high-speed ovals, to tight and twisty streets, the racing challenges on offer in Grid Legends are broader than ever.  Grid Legends Race Creator The possible combinations of car, class, and circuit for a Grid Legends event are clearly vast – but the options don’t stop there. By popular demand, Drift events return, shown off in the trailer by the awesome Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Drift-Tuned getting seriously sideways.  All this and more can be used in our race creator tool to create your dream racing event. Want to race single-seaters against big-rigs, in the snow, for 50 laps? How about putting multiple GT classes on the track for a rainy sprint around Brands Hatch? Go for it. We’re giving you the tools to create amazing races – and allowing you to take those events online and challenge the world.  Grid Legends launches 2022 All this only scratches the surface of what Grid Legends will deliver next year. In the coming months, we’ll share more on the story and its characters, more cars, more locations, and more new features that make this the most customisable and social Grid experience ever. I’ll see you then.  For now, I’m going to watch the reveal trailer for the 146th time… can you blame me?

    I Expect ONE TO Die 2: PS VR follow-up gets an August 24 release date

    Greetings, Agents! Schell Games’ Community Marketing Specialist Adam Kuta reporting in with an exciting update direct from HQ. As you may know, it’s nearly time to hop back into the field and help The Agency put a stop to Zoraxis’ evil plans for world domination. Rise from the ashes and dive deep undercover with six brand-new missions in I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and The Liar! Veteran agents who completed the first I Expect You To Die game will feel right at home with the sequel, as many of your favorite elements return. Telekinesis? Check! Immersive environments? Check! Memorable characters and witty dialogue? Check! Various ways to die? Oh, you can expect LOTS of death. As with all great sequels, we have some exciting new things to discover. Eat delicious cupcakes. Wear mysterious masks. Make your own flamethrower. Reflect deadly lasers. On top of that, your missions have also been given a musical boost as each level will now feature dynamic music that changes as you progress. We’ve even made it easier to relive the magic and mystery of your missions – or share the experience with other new Agents – by implementing three save slots! Did I mention the theme song? We know how much fans have loved the original’s opening credits, so we created a brand new 360° intro sequence featuring Puddles Pity Party’s smooth baritone vocals! Play Video Of course, new recruits are equally fit to take on these new missions, as well – no prior intel of the first game is required! I Expect You To Die 2 features a cohesive, enthralling and original storyline through all of your missions for a truly complete experience from beginning to end. Because many characters in the original game became fan-favorites (even those with brief, single-level appearances), we put a much stronger emphasis on character presence and a cinematic feel with the sequel. Each mission is a new scene, and you are the star – right alongside celebrity extraordinaire John Juniper, voiced by the celebrity extraordinaire himself, Wil Wheaton! We’ve got a briefcase full of even more secrets to share as we get closer to the game’s official launch… on August 24, 2021! So stay alert for more intel. In the meantime, Agents who pre-order the game will get a 10% discount as a special reward from HQ. It may not be that vacation you’re always asking about, but even the most novice of spies can see the value in this deal. Stay sharp!

    Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout Season 5 released this week with an adventurous new theme, inviting players to a super-colourful stumble in the jungle…but not everything is as it seems! Ratchet and Clank have tumbled through a rift to the Blunderdome and have decided to stick around to host two Limited Time Events; extra-special opportunities for players to unlock unique costumes and rewards, fresh for Season 5. We’ve teamed up with PlayStation to let you know what to expect from this dimension-hopping extravaganza, with an artistic insight into how the team brought Insomniac Games’ iconic duo to life… in bean form! Play Video Building a Bean… Designing Fall Guys costumes based on well-established characters such as Ratchet and Clank is always an exciting and interesting creative challenge. As an Art Team, we always want to make sure that our creations feel like a Fall Guy wearing a costume—as if our little beans are championing and cosplaying a character rather than ‘becoming’ them. Our goal is to reflect this back onto our players’ experience. Sure, a player may pick a costume just because it looks cool and that’s great! But we’re hopeful that many choose to rock a costume because they love the collaboration characters as much as we do and want to show off their fandom to the world through expressing themselves in the Blunderdome. Concept art created by the Fall Guys team as they began to imagine how Ratchet and Clank could look in bean form. Bringing Ratchet and Clank to the Blunderdome When picking characters for a Fall Guys collaboration, one of the defining factors is asking ourselves; “do we think this is cool?” We’re huge gaming fans as well as artists, so if there’s not passion behind the selection, we’re never going to get the great results Fall Guys players deserve. ​​As soon as the possibility of crafting both Ratchet and Clank in bean form came up, the decision was never in doubt; we all wanted to do it! On a personal level as lead artist, Ratchet and Clank are a genuine benchmark. The games they star in show such ambition and the art direction has always left me astounded. As characters, they are instantly recognisable and appealing, so it immediately felt like a great opportunity. A Fall Guy peeks out of their in-development Clank costume as the 3D team begin to work their magic. Hyped as we were, bringing Ratchet and Clank costumes to Fall Guys presented our Art Team with a classic design conundrum. How do you take iconic characters and wrap them around a little bean so that they feel like a Fall Guy, but are also suitably true to the source material? How do you craft a Lombax bean?! Luckily, we’re getting pretty well practiced at this with multiple Fall Guys costume collaborations under our belts and have a core set of rules to abide by. These inform how much of the base Fall Guy has to remain visible and crucially, how the costume can be divided into Upper and Lower parts to combine with other costumes (safe to say, we absolutely love seeing players’ surreal, creative costume combos!) Ratchet costume art concepts are then brought to life by the Fall Guys 3D team. Once these limits are established, we start with our first concepts, testing shapes and experimenting with the details we need to include that will truly showcase the essence of characters like Ratchet and Clank. It’s an intricate process to make sure the likes of Ratchet’s archetypal Lombax ears and Clank’s chunky robotic features look just right for the Blunderdome! There’s a bit of back and forth between our artists and the lovely team at Insomniac Games, as we collaboratively work to agree on designs that we can both be proud of (they’re super cool, so that part is really easy!) We then move these concepts onto our super talented 3D team to get the game models going and after a bit more back and forth…here we are! Two awesome costumes and an array of cosmetic treats that we believe combine the spirit and iconic look of Ratchet and Clank, through the filter of our silly and slightly clumsy Fall Guys. We absolutely cannot wait for you to grab them for yourselves! Here’s how… Teleport to Ratchet and Clank Limited Time Events! This interdimensional crossover will see Fall Guys players issued with special challenges from the galaxy’s most stupendous duo in two rocket-fuelled Limited Time Events. These will have you racing against the clock to unlock a dazzling array of both Ratchet and Clank costumes, banners, emotes and other cosmic cosmetic treats! Ratchet Limited Time Event will be dropping July 26 – August 1 The Ratchet Limited Time Event brings a whole week of special Challenges from the hot-shot heroic Lombax, with the exclusive opportunity to unlock. Ratchet Banner: 600 pointsLombax Pattern: 1000 pointsRatchet Costume (Lower): 1600 pointsGroovitron Emote: 2000 pointsRatchet Costume (Upper): 3200 points Clank Limited Time Event is set to stumble on August 6 – 15 Clank brings a new set of challenges and oodles of exclusive futuristic rewards for players to get their hands on, featuring… Clank Banner: 600 pointsClank Pattern: 1000 pointsClank Costume (Lower): 1600 pointsClank’s Laugh Emote: 2000 pointsClank Costume (Upper): 3200 points Plus, if you complete both events, you’ll obtain an ultra-special banner featuring the new Lombax Resistance fighter, Rivet! Play Video Dive into Fall Guys Season 5! Limited Time Events are just one facet of Fall Guys’ Season 5 jungle adventure. This major update drenches the Blunderdome with glistening pools, tropical Penguins and even a mysterious Lost Temple to explore, spread across multiple dazzling new Rounds packed with fresh mechanics and our signature ridiculous obstacles. Stumble in now for… Six new Rounds – From rambunctious rhinos to multiple perilous paths to expanding frogs, we’ve got half a dozen new Rounds to test your bean dexterity!Squad goals – Jump in with pals to take on the Blunderdome including limited time Duos and Trios shows.Costumes – Oodles of new looks for the most fashionable (or outrageous!) beans.Even more Limited Time Events – More chances to take on special challenges and unlock unique goodies.Smoother stumbles – Numerous fixes and improvements for an optimal tumbling experience. From myself and all the Fall Guys team, we’re delighted to welcome you on this journey to the heart of the new look jungle-dome. And for all those ready to hop through the rift in search of Ratchet and Clank Limited Time Event treats? Prepare for blast off!

    Ghost of Tsushima: journey in to the dark secrets of Iki Island

    It’s been quite a year for the team at Sucker Punch (and for everyone). Last July, we shipped Ghost of Tsushima while working from home. Since then, we’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude by the positive responses we received from players all over the world. One year later, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is set to be released on August 20. We can’t wait to share new stories of Jin Sakai with all of you!  Play Video As part of the Director’s Cut, you’ll be able to play a new story expansion featuring Jin, set on Iki Island with new locations to discover, characters to meet, tales to complete, and more. Jin’s journey begins when he discovers that a mysterious Mongol tribe has gained a foothold on Iki. They are led by a revered shaman called Ankhsar Khatun, known to her followers as “the Eagle.” As both a khatun and a shaman, she is not only a conqueror of nations, but a shepherd of souls. And the danger she presents to Jin and his people is unlike any they have faced. The only way to counter this threat is for Jin to return to Iki Island. He’s been there once before. And in confronting a new and dangerous enemy, he will be forced to face old fears, and unearth deeply buried traumas. As you explore a new island and battle new threats, you’ll also delve into the dark past of clan Sakai…  Our semi-fictional version of Iki Island provides a stark contrast to Tsushima. It is a wild, lawless land of raiders and criminals, scarred by memories of war, and fiercely independent; the samurai have not been in control there for decades. Skilled though he is, Jin can’t take on the Mongols alone. He will have to work with—or around—a coterie of unsavory characters to take the fight to the Eagle. The cost of failure is too high. If the Eagle and her tribe subdue Iki and muster the support of its people, Tsushima and the rest of Japan will be in grave danger. The stories you find on Tsushima are filled with action and adventure. The same is true for Iki Island. In the fight to save Iki, Jin will encounter pirates and smugglers, mad monks and haunted caves. There will be new legends to hear, and new techniques to learn. Jin will have to bring all his skills to bear to defeat this new enemy.  We’ll also continue telling intimate, emotional, personal stories. Stories about real people struggling to let go of old hatreds and survive in a time of war. Stories about how it feels to be caught between preserving cherished beliefs and defending your home. What it means to be Lord Sakai… and what it means to be the Ghost.  With everything that has happened this past year, it’s no accident we also wanted to tell a story of healing… And we felt this would pose a unique and compelling challenge for Jin. We all suffer wounds, from the humblest farmer to the mightiest jito. Wounds from the past that we carry with us. And the thing about a wound is that you can’t fight it, or stealth your way around it. Ghost weapons and samurai techniques won’t help you. A wound can only be healed.  The Iki Island story expansion will be available as part of the Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut. You can pre-order now for $69.99 USD / €79.99 / £69.99 on PS5 and $59.99 USD / €69.99 / £59.99 on PS4, or if you already own Ghost of Tsushima on PS4, you can pre-order an upgrade to Director’s Cut on PS4 for $19.99 USD / €19.99 / £15.99.  We are so thrilled that you will once again be able to experience our world through the eyes of Jin Sakai! It was a joy and a privilege to write for such a gifted cast… some you will recognize, and some will surprise you (and maybe both). There’s so much more to tell, which we’re excited to share leading up to our launch on August 20. And when you join us on Iki Island, bear in mind the advice of a wise woman named Yuriko: “The strength we need is all around us.” Looking around at my team and what we accomplished in this difficult year, I think she’s right. And I think Jin Sakai would agree.

    Hey everyone! I’m Blake Gross, co-founder and technical director at DB Creations, a VR game studio in Bellevue, Washington. We’re super excited to announce that our game, Rhythm ‘n Bullets, is coming to PlayStation VR very soon. In the game, you will travel across the virtual zone and defend the core by guiding a pair of starfighters through multiple modes of shoot ’em up action. Enemies fly in from all sides, diving towards the core in time with the music. Time your shots to the beat for maximum effect, and grab awesome power-ups to clear each stage. Keep the core safe from danger in the multi-level campaign, and then try to top the leaderboards in endless mode, where the enemies never stop! If you just want to jive to the music, hop into relax mode and practice your skills on any of the levels – spawn any enemies you want and change the beat to fit the mood. Play Video Rhythm ‘n Bullets is inspired by classic retro shooters with its wireframe aesthetic, bullet color change mechanic, and music infused gameplay. We wanted to recapture the magic of those arcade games that many of us played when we were younger, while making an awesome and immersive experience for the latest generation of VR technology. Rhythm ‘n Bullets takes those classic ideas and makes them fresh and new all over again by putting you right at the center of the arcade action. The music was composed in-house by Jesse Holt, our amazing composer and audio director. The soundtrack, like the gameplay, blends the classic with the new, infusing retro motifs with modern electronic music. Each level has a custom track composed for the environment – we built the levels and the soundtrack hand in hand, so that they would blend together harmoniously. The levels also react to the music as you progress in them – a spectrogram guides your path in the Japanese Garden, constellations light the sky to prominent notes in the Galaxy Zone, and the whole world pulses to the beat in Tech City. The music blends into the gameplay, reflecting  how well you play – as your combo multiplier increases, the music builds to match it. When you’re playing your best, you’ll feel maximum presence as the music, environment, and gameplay all seamlessly blend and draw you into the action. For the PS VR release, we’ve added a bunch of awesome enhancements to the game, ensuring this truly is the definitive Rhythm ‘n Bullets experience.  Firstly, we added a new challenge system that rewards you for exploring all the game has to offer. We wanted to ensure that anyone who plays the game gets rewarded, while also giving completionists even more things to hunt down (besides that top slot on the leaderboards). From campaign clears to endless mode runs, there’s something for everyone to chase and complete. And what do you get for finishing these challenging new objectives? Ships skins! These skins allow you to customize how your ships look when you play, across any mode. Each one is a brand new look that really stands out, with a unique paint job and color scheme. Collect them all, if you can. We also made big improvements to the music generation system, which dynamically adjusts the sound effects that are played based on the music. Our generative notes now better match the track playing in the level, which greatly enhances the audio experience on each and every level. This release also includes full localization for French, Italian, German, and Spanish, so more of our friends around the world can play. Finally, we added a brand new level theme Retro, which includes brand new music and an abstract environment that feels straight from the 2000s era of gaming. The Retro theme is inspired by classic games from our lives, and is designed as a nostalgic trip back into the games we loved in the past. With a rockin’ chiptune inspired soundtrack, we thought there was no better way to make this the true definitive version of the game. We’re so excited to be bringing the awesome retro arcade action of Rhythm ‘n Bullets to PlayStation, and can’t wait to see you all climbing the leaderboards this July.

    The massive Summer Sale comes to PlayStation on Wednesday, July 21. It brings with it thousands of titles discounted for a limited time*, with additional games joining the promotion on August 4.   See the full list of games in the promotion below, then head to PlayStation Store to find out your local discount pricing.  See the full list of games in the promotion below, then head to PlayStation Store to find out your local discount pricing.  #Funtime.hack//G.U. Last Recode0 Degrees100,000 Red Orbs13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim1500 Paladins Crystals2500 Paladins Crystals30 Experience Potions3500 Paladins Crystals36 Fragments of Midnight400 Paladins Crystals800 Paladins Crystals8000 Paladins Crystals8-Bit Armies8-Bit Armies – Deluxe Edition8-Bit Hordes8-Bit Hordes – Deluxe Edition8-Bit Invaders!8-Bit Invaders! – Deluxe Edition8-Bit RTS Series – Complete CollectionA Hat in TimeA Hero and a GardenA Knight’s QuestA Little Lily Princess PS4 & PS5A Tale of PaperAbsolverABZUAccess DeniedAce of SeafoodAces of the Luftwaffe: SquadronAces of the MultiverseAdam’s Venture: OriginsAdam’s Venture: Origins – Deluxe EditionADK DamashiiAereAAereA – Deluxe EditionAgatha KnifeAgents of MayhemAlbedo: Eyes from Outer SpaceAlekhine’s GunAlex Kidd in Miracle World DXAlt Hero ColorsAlt Heroine ColorsAncestors LegacyAncestors: The Humankind OdysseyAngels of DeathAnima: Gate of MemoriesAnima: Gate of Memories – The Nameless ChroniclesAnoxemiaApex Legends – Bloodhound EditionApex Legends – Lifeline and Bloodhound Double PackApex Legends – Lifeline EditionApex Legends – Octane EditionApex Legends™ – Champion EditionApex Legends™ – Gibraltar EditionApex Legends™ – Pathfinder EditionAragami – NightfallAragami: Shadow EditionARK: Survival Evolved Season PassArt of Fighting AnthologyAsdivine CrossAsdivine KamuraAsdivine MenaceAshenAshen: Nightstorm IsleAssassin’s Creed OdysseyAssassin’s Creed Odyssey – Gold EditionAssassin’s Creed OriginsAssassin’s Creed Origins – Gold EditionAssassin’s Creed Triple Pack: Black Flag, Unity, SyndicateAssetto CorsaAsstto Corsa – Ultimate EditionAstebreedAuto Chess:Goblin WorkshopAuto Chess:MatryoshkaAuto Chess:Yi Sun-sinAutumn’s JourneyAven ColonyAzure ReflectionsAzure Striker Gunvolt: Striker PackBack in 1995BALAN WONDERWORLD PS4 & PS5BalancelotBatman: Arkham CollectionBatman: Arkham Knight – Premium EditionBatman: Arkham VRBatman: The Enemy Within – Season PassBatman: The Telltale Series – Season PassBattlefield 1Battlefield 1 – BattlepackBattlefield 1 – Battlepacks x 10Battlefield 1 – Battlepacks X 20Battlefield 1 – Battlepacks x 3Battlefield 1 – Battlepacks X 40Battlefield 1 – Battlepacks X 5Battlefield 4: Premium EditionBattlefield V Definitive EditionBayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary BundleBeach Buggy Racing 2: Hot Wheels™ EditionBeach Buggy Racing 2: Island AdventureBeholder – Complete EditionBeholder 2BioShock: The CollectionBird Game +Birthday of MidnightBlackguards 2Blacksmith of the Sand KingdomBlair WitchBlasphemousBlaster Master ZeroBlaster Master Zero 2Blasting Agent: Ultimate EditionBloodborneBloodstained – Iga’s Back PackBloodstained: Curse of the MoonBloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2Bloodstained: Ritual of the NightBomber CrewBomber Crew – Season PassBomber Crew: American EditionBorderlands 3 PS4™ &  PS5™Borderlands 3 Season Pass PS4™ &  PS5™Borderlands 3: Season Pass 2 PS4™ &  PS5™Borderlands 3: Super Deluxe Edition PS4™ &  PS5™Botanical BlasterBouncy BulletsBounty 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Legacy of the DuelistYu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist – Link EvolutionZEN Triple RPG BundleZenithZeroptian InvasionZone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner – Mars *Summer Sale promotion starts 00.00am local time Wednesday, July 21 and ends 23.59pm local time on Wednesday, August 18. Some titles will leave the promotion on Wednesday, August 4. Check a title’s PlayStation Store page for its end date from the promotion. 

    Our team is thrilled to share the opening chapters of their trailblazing PlayStation VR title, Fracked, available right now at PlayStation Store as a completely free-to-play demo! The full game has been confirmed as launching on August 20 and we cannot wait to hear your thoughts about this new action-adventure entry in the PS VR library.  Play Video Play for yourself  You can now take to the Alaskan slopes with PlayStation Move and check out the explosive gameplay in Fracked for yourself by heading over to the PlayStation Store. The full game will be releasing to the public on August 20, with up to 72 hours of early access and bonus content for those of you who pre-order the Deluxe Edition.  What can you expect from the demo? An explosive mix of on-foot, climbing, and skiing gameplay all housed within the opening part of the game! Speed down snow-covered mountain caps, head into gun-fights, and take on relentless interdimensional foes.   Early days and play style  From our experience with past titles, we knew we wanted to provide an immersive game with varied methods of traversal. Exploring those other traversal methods were a big inspiration for us. We knew climbing worked well in VR, and we also created a skiing demo that became so addictive that people kept coming back to play. We knew then that we had something really worth exploring. The demo opens with our hero in the aftermath of an avalanche, and after signalling to mountain rescue for assistance, you’re tasked with outrunning the next impending snowdrift. This nail-biting ski section immediately immerses the player into the action from the start with intuitive 1:1 movement. After this epic escape, the experience switches gears to equally frenetic combat and climbing scenarios as you head deeper into the adventure.  Game design and immersion  Grabbable cover is a core gameplay mechanic in Fracked which re-energises the genre. We’ve actually got a term for it called run and cover gunplay. That is a big part of the innovation in this game. These are concepts that would usually be at odds with each other but are designed to keep the combat fresh. One moment, as the hunter, you’re feeling like a real Hollywood action hero, but as you become overwhelmed, you intuitively grab cover for respite. As the power dynamic switches, cover becomes a necessary tactical strategy to outmaneuver the enemy as you become the prey.  There’s lots of fun arcade-like experiences in VR, but they’re generally short and often on-rails. We set out to provide our take on a more conventional campaign experience, with full freedom of movement. We wanted to provide players with well-trodden and much-loved conventional gameplay tactics, such as how to best flank an enemy position, then enhance it with VR. We wanted to demonstrate to a wider gaming audience that VR can evolve the typical gaming experience as well as provide unparalleled immersion.  Roleplay and player enjoyment  We’ve learned that roleplay is incredibly important to premium-feeling VR experiences. Players want to embody a character and almost play the part, but it is a balancing act. You never want roleplay to get in the way of fun, and it should not come at the cost of player enjoyment. We set out to break convention and really deliver on a fast-paced, first-person shooter experience. This factored into the design of having new magazines appear below the gun for a manual reload, rather than you having to navigate an arbitrary menu or fumbling with virtual pouches. We don’t want gameplay mechanics breaking the thrilling pace of the action.  We feel that in VR you can get caught up on the technology and lose sight of what the gaming audience want, which is just a really fun game. With a great gaming experience as your priority, you ask yourself how VR can elevate tried and tested FPS sensibilities, rather than focusing on providing a VR tech demo. You need that player first mentality. How can VR improve gaming experiences?  Quick Recap  The nDreams team can’t wait for you to get your hands on Fracked for yourself, and for you to experience this reimagining of the action-adventure genre. Fracked will launch globally on August 20, with Deluxe Edition access starting on August 17. You can check out the demo right now at PlayStation Store.

    July 22 auto Chess Season 13 Ocean Voyage launches

    Auto Chess is going stronger than ever with a mountain of new content coming in Season 13. Discover the origins of the brand-new Civet race and forge into battle with one of their most formidable warriors. Dive into a fresh new look with the Ocean Voyage theme. And take co-op play to the next level with a new simplified duo mode! Season 13 is sizing up to be a seriously epic upgrade to your battling experience. Let’s take a closer look. Featuring a new chess piece from the brand-new Civet race, Gem Artisan Raised under the barren sand dunes of the new continent, the Civet dwell in a subterranean dungeon encircled by a dark river. They’ve adapted to thrive in both the searing heat and extreme cold of their dry desert home. Imbued with the natural ability to sense powerful sources of magic, the Civet mine and process all kinds of elemental gemstones to amplify their own power. Their expertise has led them to establish their own Gemstone System and Artisan lineages.  Mana is the most skilled Artisan of the Civet race, and leads the way in the development of gemstone craft. On behalf of her people, she joined the United Continental Army and led the Magic Source Union to achieve a breakthrough in the transformation of Era Crystals to Gemstone, thus advancing the Cold Sealing Project. Due to her success, Mana earned the reputation and title of “Gem Artisan”. Play Video Season 13 Chess Pass available July 26 Dive into the new Season 13 theme: Ocean Voyage Open the Ocean Magic Box for a chance to get Legendary Skin Wave Assassin! Once you reach Rook Rank you’ll earn brand-new Chess Player, Sharky. Don’t forget to check out a huge amount of new Ocean Voyage-themed combat decorations and chat emoji, and level up to earn chess skin fragments. Purchase Senior Pass Unlock new Chess Player Mermaid Princess when you upgrade Senior Pass to level 30.Unlock the Orange Chessboard: Coral Realm when you reach Senior Pass level 80. Brand new chests are waiting for you from Level 1 when you purchase a Senior Pass. Come and choose your favorite items! New Workshop map – Lite 2v2 mode  Introducing a simplified Duo mode, giving you more options for co-op play! Eight players can face off in 2v2v2v2 format based on the basic rules. The results are calculated based on the total ranking points obtained by you and your teammate.  Sharing pieces in regular Duo mode has been removed – now you only share HP with your teammate. New Lite mode is a great way to welcome new players to the game.  Glory Of Execution: available at Playstation Store  It’s time to revel in the glory of the all-new Glory of Execution pack. Add the Chess Player Goddess of Victory to your team and have her demolish the competition on the Hall of Execution Chessboard. Available on the PS Store on July 26.

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