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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    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!

    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.

    Turn up heat for the MLB The Show 21 Summer Circuit Tournament

     Three Open Qualifiers. One Grand Final. $25,000 in total cash prizing. Get ready to show off your Diamond Dynasty squad in MLB The Show 21’s first competitive cross-platform tournament circuit. Everyone who plays all their matches on day one wins Stubs, and we’ve got even more prizes on the line for our elite competitors. Play Video The cross-platform Summer Circuit is available to those 18+ in the U.S. and Canada, and offers three Open Qualifiers ahead of the Final, giving fans plenty of chances to compete. The first qualifier begins July 24, the second qualifier on August 7, and the third qualifier on August 21.Participants will compete in a Swiss tournament system through the qualifier rounds on day one. Day two will feature a single-elimination bracket with the top players competing from day one. The Grand Finals will feature a single-elimination bracket format featuring the top 64 players from the Open Qualifiers.  The Summer Circuit is open to all eligible participants* and every player can qualify for the Grand Finals and earn a shot at $25,000 USD in total cash prizing, Stubs, as well as MLB merch prize packages. For the Grand Finals, the top four competitors will play on the San Diego Studio Twitch channel. The winner will bring home $15,000, a $1,000 MLB Shop digital gift card, one game-used ball from Home Run Derby, and 1,050,000 Stubs!  To register and view all the unique prizes you can win during the Summer Circuit head over to Battlefy. Additionally, make sure to check out the Competition Center, the home of all PlayStation competitive gaming content and for more details on the game and tips to help you be the best in the Summer Circuit.  Before you go, get ready to step up to the plate with a few tips to help your game. And remember, the most important tip is to practice, practice, practice! MLB The Show 21 introduced Pinpoint Pitching, a new way to deliver the highest level of accuracy in your throws. Try it, but use the pitching mode that suits your style of gameplay best. Throw some intentional balls and don’t be predictable when pitching. Once a batter is behind in the count, they may be more likely to chase a wide pitch and strike out. Shake it up and work the count! There are many ways to customize your PCI (including color) in the options menu. Change it up to find the one that helps you maximize your gameplay. Then spend time in the practice mode to get your timing down with the interface you chose. Go sign up now, and good luck this Summer! *MLB The Show 21 Summer Circuit – Access to MLB The Show 21 game and corresponding console, system account, and online multiplayer subscription required. Must be 18+ and resident of the US, D.C., or Canada. Begins July 19 – Ends August 29. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. See full rules

    Attempt an Expedition in Path of Exile’s latest expansion, july 28 out

    Oh, yes! An Expedition awaits. What a joyous time to embark on an adventure, detonate explosives, and fight off hordes of undead Kalguur. To what end, you ask? Riches, glory, and power. Of course. Path of Exile’s latest expansion can be played July 28 and includes all the hallmarks of the best games in the action RPG genre – powerful items, intense combat and, of course, terrifying, everpresent death.  In Expedition, you’ll assist Kalguuran traders in their efforts to recover the artifacts lost by their ancestors. Unable to fight the dangers of Wraeclast alone, they enlist your violent services to clear out their Expedition sites so that they may plunder the treasures buried below. You must strategically lay a series of explosives, detonate them, and then cull the deadly horde that rises from the earth. If you can manage this, ancient Kalguuran artifacts will be yours for the taking. Each of the Kalguuran traders provides a unique style of trade, offering the opportunity to deal, barter or gamble the artifacts in exchange for their tempting wares.  You may also discover Logbooks which chronicle the whereabouts of many hidden treasures from their past. These Logbooks can be crafted to maximise their danger and level of rewards. Take them to Dannig, the Kalguuran leader, and he’ll give passage to these far-off locations. These sprawling Expedition sites expose an unfathomable horde of monsters once unearthed. These areas can also contain secret passages which lead to exotic treasures and formidable bosses.  In addition to the tempting lure of hidden treasure in the Expedition League, you’ll also uncover 19 new ways to build your character. Path of Exile is all about customising your gameplay to your heart’s desire and one of the fundamental building blocks of doing so is through skill and support gems. In this expansion, we wanted to really shake up Path of Exile’s metagame by providing a swathe of new options for character building. As such, we designed 19 new gems that are each themed around our Ascendancy Classes.  One of our favourite gems from this lineup is the new Summon Reaper skill, it was designed for Necromancers and summons a powerful minion which performs powerful attacks that cause enemies to bleed, can be commanded to attack specific locations, and literally feeds off of your other minions. There’s also the Spectral Helix gem which was designed for the Ascendant. It throws out a ghostly copy of your weapon which spirals outward from your location, harming any enemies it passes through. As an extension of our desire to shake up Path of Exile’s metagame, we’ve also made some massive balance changes. Expedition is Path of Exile’s 30th expansion since its Closed Beta, and because every expansion introduces powerful new options for character building, players are now more powerful than ever. The balance changes in Expedition will help to restore the challenge that Path of Exile is known for. We’ve also reworked our flask system to encourage more thoughtful, interactive gameplay and provide interesting new ways for players to mitigate incoming damage.  If you haven’t played before, if it’s been a while since you have, or you’re a regular pro, this is the perfect time to play Path of Exile. Not only is it free to play but right now the entire community is taking up the challenge of finding the new best gameplay strategies and you can be right there with them. In a game where knowledge is power, having a shakeup of this scale really levels the playing field. Each expansion introduces a fresh economy and competitive ladder for you to make your mark in. You can also complete challenges in exchange for exclusive cosmetic rewards! Did we mention it’s free? (No, really – no demo version, no pay to win. Just cosmetics, if you want.) If you find yourself absorbed in the world of Wraeclast, you’ll be happy to know that we put out expansions every thirteen weeks. We hope to see you there July 28.

    Wayward Strand – a heartfelt story coming to PS4 and PS5

    Hey there! It’s Goldie and Jason from the Wayward Strand team, based in Melbourne, Australia. We’ve been working on this game since 2016, when our ideas were just doodles on scraps of paper, so it feels both incredibly exciting and quite surreal to be here on the official PlayStation Blog to tell you our exciting news: Wayward Strand will be coming to PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4! Play Video Wayward Strand is a new type of playable story, set in a living world. It’s a thoughtful, heart-warming tale, woven together from multiple distinct threads, all of which play out simultaneously aboard an airborne hospital in 1970s Australia. (Yep – that’s the hospital airship up there!) You play as Casey, a teenage girl visiting the hospital for the first time. Your mum is the head nurse of the brand new hospital that’s being constructed on the airship, and she’s asked you to spend three days in the aged care ward, where you’ll explore the mysteries of the ship, and get to know the elderly patients and staff. There are over a dozen characters who live or work on the airship that you can meet and spend time with, each going about their lives as you explore. Some are charming, some eccentric, some rude – each has their own desires, goals and imaginations. You’ll meet Esther Fitzgerald, an eccentric older resident who used to work as a psychic on call-in radio and who now communes with spirits aboard the ship. Esther can be blunt, and won’t hesitate to tell you whatever’s on their mind – if you can prove that you’re trustworthy enough to confide in. Or, you might meet Neil Avery – before becoming a resident he had a successful career as a motivational speaker and writer of self-help books, and he’s planning to write a book about the ship itself. He’s friendly and very talkative, and has almost too much advice for Casey on her fledgling career as a high school journalist. During your playthrough of Wayward Strand, as you are spending time with one character on the ship, the others will continue their day. Within the world, time passes for everyone – NPCs continue their stories without waiting for you to interact with them. This is the core mechanic that defines Wayward Strand – as a team we’ve spent the last five years crafting the intricately interwoven stories of each characters’ life over the course of these three days, defining and detailing how they each interact with, and bounce off, each other. This means that the actual experience of playing Wayward Strand feels incredibly open – you’re dropped into a living, breathing world, where stuff is happening around you all the time. At any particular moment, you are choosing what, and who, to focus on… just like real life. As you play, when you see a character, you can follow them, and listen in on their conversations. You can also go into their rooms and talk with them: asking questions, starting discussions, or joining ongoing conversations. Each time you play Wayward Strand, you can focus on different characters at different times, filling out your understanding of their story, and deepening your personal relationship with them. Each character has their own, unique story, and we explore many themes in their stories – themes of care and neglect, infirmity and death, friendship and community. These are also personal stories – we’ve been inspired by real stories and histories told to us by our grandparents, parents and the older people in our communities as we were growing up. Wayward Strand is a really different experience as a video game, and that speaks to our inspirations – we love games with experimental narrative structures like The Last Express, and we’re also drawing from interactive theatre. Playing Wayward Strand isn’t about challenge, or trying to solve puzzles. It’s about being an active participant in a world full of unfolding stories. We’re super excited to share the experience of Wayward Strand with you. And if you are looking for a game to play with someone who has never picked up a controller before (perhaps someone older in your life) then we feel Wayward Strand is the perfect introduction to the world of videogames. We’ll be sharing more about Wayward Strand soon, so keep your eyes peeled in the coming months. For now we’re busy making it, but we can’t wait until you can play Wayward Strand on your PlayStation next year.

    Weird West involves PS4 this fall

    Hello PlayStation community! We are Raphael Colantonio and Julien Roby, studio directors at WolfEye Studios, and today we’re proud to announce that our debut title as an independent studio, Weird West, is coming to PlayStation 4 this fall.  The West’s full of tall tales… Weird West is all about stories; stories of redemption and honor, yarns of strangeness and oddity, and tales of the down-right disgusting. In our game, you’ll play as five different characters in a series of interconnected journeys, all bound together by the hunt for the truth behind the burning mark they’ve all been branded with. In this blog, we’ll be going over two of those five Journeys.  Play Video Thought she could hang up her shootin’ irons for good First up, we’ll be talking about the Bounty Hunter. Once the most respected name in the West, you’ve hung up your shooting irons and taken to a life on the farm after a deathbed promise to your grandfather. But that calm existence won’t last long. In the dead of night, you wake to a burning mark on your neck and the sounds of screaming outside Your son, dead in the dirt. Your husband gone, and only one thing to do: dig up your long-forgotten past and get your revenge.  A cowboy drunk on the moon Now onto something more—esoteric—in nature: the Werewolf journey. You’re a Devotee of the Absolutionist faith. You folk have been shepherds of the West, peaceful. But now a rival faction has started exterminating your kind. Prejudice, seems like. Malice. With your numbers dwindling, and the Absolutionist faith nearly wiped off the face of the West, a divine prophecy has shown you how to protect your people. But not without a cost: an affinity for the moon. A rage you can barely contain. Finally, after a blood-fuelled night defending everything you love from thes wrongdoers, you awaken with a burning mark. Sign of a prophecy. What you choose to do with it is up to you… Verify your age to view this content. Verify your age to view this content. You five—you’re tied together Weird West features five of these unique Journeys. However you play—the way you fight, the conversations you have, the posses you create or destroy—will be individual to you in our immersive sim. Shoot at ammo boxes to create makeshift bombs, throw fire into a tornado to create a free-roaming fire hazard, soak your enemies before using lightning for a little extra zap; these are just a few ways the world will react to your gameplay style and let you create your own story when we release this fall.  We hope you enjoyed a peek behind the curtain of our debut game. We’re really excited to show you more in the months to come. Thanks, and stay safe! 

    Away: The Survival Series is arriving at PlayStation 5 late summer

     Climb, leap, and glide your way through this playable documentary in Away: The Survival Series, coming to PS5 late summer (also confirmed for PS4). Now with Photo Mode and new playable characters (praying mantis now officially confirmed)!In this story-driven adventure set in a distant future, you’ll play as a young sugar glider as he embarks on a perilous journey through the wilderness to save his family. Will you succeed in tracking them through a world where disasters threaten the survival of every species on the planet? Nature is your obstacle course Do as the sugar gliders do! You’ll be able to explore on ground and by air. Glide your way through lush forests as you thread between branches. Don’t forget to dodge and barrel roll to avoid trouble! Play a nature documentary As you navigate this living, breathing world, your adventures will be narrated just like your favourite nature documentaries. Our team spent a lot of time researching various flora and fauna to ensure all the information shared by our narrator is accurate – learn about the plants and animals inhabiting each strange new ecosystem as you explore their diverse terrain.  Our narrative team consisted of our voice-over actor, Andrew Robinson, and our scriptwriter, Cecily Walter. Cecily did a wonderful job perfecting the tone of our narrator — who himself is a key player in Away’s overarching story —  and Andrew brought him to life with his natural instinct for voicing nature documentaries. Never before seen Photo Mode We are excited to officially announce that Away will include Photo Mode! Freeze the sugar glider anywhere and move the camera while the rest of the world continues in ambient motion.Photography fans are sure to be pleased with a comprehensive settings including depth-of-field sliders and filters to ensure you get that perfect shot. Play as other animals, including a praying mantis As you navigate the world, you’ll encounter many creatures; some friendly, others…not so much! In Away, you’ll get the chance to explore the world from a different view and play as some of those critters and their unique abilities. Hop along as a frog and surprise your prey with a long range tongue attack! Crawl around as a beetle and infiltrate an abandoned structure to learn more about this strange new world. Even flutter from tree to tree as a praying mantis! You’ll also be able to play as a salamander, beetle, frog, spider, scorpion and many others.  Stalk your prey—and eat it too Everyone’s got to eat! A famished sugar glider can’t glide and that’s when the hunt begins. Quietly stalk your prey from behind the grass or embark on a chase to catch small animals and insects to replenish your energy.  Face formidable foes Sometimes, the hunter becomes the hunted. This little glider will encounter all manner of predators. In the coral snake boss battle, your quick actions will determine whether or not he makes it out alive. You’ll have to be quick. When this great foe performs a long range attack, you’ll have to dodge at just the right time to perform a counter attack while he’s still stunned. If you manage to avoid his deadly attacks you’ll exhaust and overcome this great predator. PS5 offers the most immersive experience The PS5 version of the game supports our highest graphical setting, Documentary Experience. It leverages the PS5’s impressive specs to highlight every detail of a world designed to live and breathe and truly brings it to life. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more about Away: The Survival Series ahead of its launch on PS5 and PS4 later this summer.

    Immersing players in to the global world of The Falconeer utilizing the power of the PS5

    Hi, I’m Tomas Sala, the sole creator and developer of The Falconeer, a third-person air combat game, coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on August 5.  As an individual/solo creator, what truly excites me is that the power of the PS5 has removed so many of the constraints that would have made a game like The Falconeer impossible only a few years ago. I’m here today to give you a little insight into that, along with the ways in which the PS5’s features and DualSense wireless controller have given me the freedom to create a deeply immersive and unique game world.    So, firstly, what exactly is The Falconeer?  Imagine riding atop a giant bird of prey, flying amongst the clouds, gracefully drifting and climbing as a golden sun rises on the horizon. Now, imagine the opposite of that, a dream of a dark ocean, of bottomless depths that won’t let you go anywhere but down to their dark reaches. This core contrast is at the heart of The Falconeer, and at the heart of the world I’ve crafted for this game, a dark and harsh ocean world. It’s a place of haunting beauty, from which you, an airborne Falconeer warrior, soar above. Yet nowhere is safe in a world where the rich ride airships, the powerful tame dragons, and even the lowly sailing captains arm their ships to the teeth against the monsters from the deep, as well as against those from the sky.  It is a sheer thrill to explore the vast open world of The Falconeer on PlayStation and the advanced haptic feedback of the DualSense controller give the intuitive aerial dogfighting mechanics an incredibly tactile and fluid feel. I also made use of the adaptive triggers to mimic the feel of the recoil and force feedback of weapons. One thing that can perhaps be overlooked is the impact the DualSense controller speaker can have. This gives strong audio cues that when combined with the haptics and triggers, offer even greater immersion and ‘feel’ to gameplay. In The Falconeer, I used the speaker specifically for NPC radio voices.   The Falconeer is a very personal game to me, and it is one that explores themes of escapism and freedom but also at its core it is a homage to the classic air combat and dogfighting fighting games I played growing up. If you play the Falconeer you will recognise that it is not a typical shooter, even though you are riding a mythical giant warbird, the gameplay will still require you to build up your classic dogfighting skills, getting behind an enemy, deflecting gunfire, but now riding a giant bird that can perform acrobatics unlike any airplane could ever attempt.   The game is created with an art style that forgoes textures completely, many of its effects and visuals being created by basically math-powered expressions, something that was unthinkable in the past. The vivid colours, mathematical gradients and sharp dramatic edges of The Falconeer truly come into their own with the 4K resolution and 60 FPS capabilities of the PS5.   And it’s not just the visuals and art that really ‘pop’ on PlayStation. The all-encompassing Warrior Edition, the definitive version of the game, for the first time truly matches the vision I had all those years ago. With a world more filled out with unique adventures, be it helping the brewmasters of Castellus against giant turtle riding pirates, joining those same pirates as a raiding criminal, flying atop drakes and pterosaurs or visiting some of the exotic locations previously only hinted at before. Thanks to the PS5, the world of The Falconeer is now more alive, vibrant and immersive than ever before. I actually came upon the world of the Ursee and the early beginnings of the game when I worked on TrackLab, which was a PS VR exclusive music creation experience, published by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2018. In a sense that opportunity to work on such ground-breaking hardware and console would first open my mind to crafting a world and game by myself, rather than as part of a team or production studio. And now, many years later, here we are. The Falconeer, a game I’ve created over the last five years is set to release on PS4 and PS5 on August 5, and in a very tangible sense its journey has made full circle. Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy playing The Falconeer and experiencing the enhanced immersion made possible by the PS5.

    Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown: How exactly to master your fighting style

    Hi everyone! Seiji Aoki here, chief producer of Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown, available now at no additional cost to PlayStation Plus members until August 2. Also available now as part of the PlayStation Now library. It’s been an incredible month watching millions of players jumping back into the ring with this legendary fighting series, especially all the new players getting their first taste of the deep strategy and intricate balance that define Virtua Fighter combat. Today we’re offering top tips for newcomers taking their first steps towards becoming the next World Fighting Tournament legend. Deceptive simplicity Virtua Fighter uses intuitive and simple controls compared to many other fighting games. There are just three basic commands: Punch, Kick, and Guard. Each can be performed with one button. Simple, right? Hardly.  Pairing just those three buttons with different movements of the stick opens up literally hundreds of combinations for each character. Add in the dynamic strategy of fights conducted in 3D stages and you start to experience the real depth behind such a simple control scheme. Perfecting the timing required to pull off the right combo in the right moment is the first step towards Virtua Fighter mastery. For new players, your first destination should be Training Mode. Every Virtua Fighter has had a robust tutorial and VF5 Ultimate Showdown is no exception. Taking the time to learn the basic systems and moves before experimenting with more complex combinations will bear fruit once you’re ready to jump into competitive play. The first two moves to learn are takedown attacks and breakfalls (fall recovery). In Virtua Fighter, you can continue attacking when your opponent is down (or take damage if you’re down). Stacking extra damage (or avoiding it) after a crucial takedown is often the difference between victory or defeat. The other crucial system to learn is how basic frames work. Understanding how frames work will help you intuitively perform the right attack or counter in any given situation. It’s a challenging system to master, so when you’re first starting out, it’s best just to keep in mind that “if your attack is blocked, immediately defend” and “if you block, immediately go on the offensive.”  Learn to reliably do those two things and you’ll be well on your way toward experiencing the fast-paced, fluid fights unique to this game.   Picking the right character Every Virtua Fighter character has a unique fighting style with many different combos to choose from. Choosing the character who suits your play style (and mastering your choice) makes all the difference when jumping into competitive play. For new players, I’d recommend starting with one of three characters: Jacky Bryant, Jeffry McWild, or Sarah Bryant. Jacky is a relatively standard, balanced character. He’s a great choice if you’re just looking to get your basic moves down. His Somersault Kick (↖K when facing right) is an effective way to turn the tables on an overeager opponent but be wary of overusing it against more advanced fighters. Jeffry is a powerful character who can dish out a lot of damage using his no-holds-barred Pankration fighting style that combines boxing, wrestling, and kicks. His commands are pretty simple, so try getting in a Knee Attack (➔K when facing right) or mixing in a throw for major damage.  Sarah is a slightly more technical fighter whose diverse martial arts style utilizes a lot of kicks. Focus on learning the combos that open up for an exceptionally elegant fighting style.  No matter what character you choose to start with, take the time to learn their basic moves and combos in Training Mode before testing your skills in competitive play. Practice pays off, and once you get a feel for all the many combinations and move sets available to you, you’ll start to truly experience the depth of gameplay Virtua Fighter has to offer. I hope this has been helpful – it’s been so incredibly rewarding to see millions of new players experiencing Virtua Fighter for the first time after all these years, and we’re so incredibly grateful to our community for continuing to invest your time and passion. As always, thank you for your support – we’ll catch you back in the ring! 

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