PlayStation.Blog.Europe https://blog.eu.playstation.com Your daily fix of PlayStation news from across the SCEE region Wed, 01 Mar 2017 16:35:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.2 Tearaway Unfolded and Disc Jam are your PlayStation Plus games this March http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/PjBo_CkmG8M/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/03/01/tearaway-unfolded-and-disc-jam-are-your-playstation-plus-games-this-february/#comments Wed, 01 Mar 2017 16:29:02 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240825 March is here, and with it comes a new wave of PS Plus games. This month there’s papercraft, high-speed sports and visual novels abound. Tearaway Unfolded Unfold an incredible adventure and uncover the true power of the Dualshock 4 to join forces with Atoi the Messenger in a daring quest to deliver a top-secret message […]

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March is here, and with it comes a new wave of PS Plus games. This month there’s papercraft, high-speed sports and visual novels abound.

Tearaway Unfolded

Unfold an incredible adventure and uncover the true power of the Dualshock 4 to join forces with Atoi the Messenger in a daring quest to deliver a top-secret message in her magical papery world, save her pals in peril and battle the monsters trying to stop her delivery!

Disc Jam

Disc Jam is a fast-paced action-sports game that pits 2-4 players against each other in a frantic combination of air hockey and tennis. Players scramble to retrieve and throw a glowing disc while unleashing devastating abilities and defending their end zone.

In addition to these titles, PS Plus members will also be able to enjoy a classic isometric adventure in Lumo, which is available on PS4 and PS Vita as a Cross Buy title, lose themselves in the splendour of a visual novel/2D fighting game crossover with Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late on PS3, or fight off obnoxious aliens in Earth Defense Force 2025, also on PS3. You want more? Alright then! Also joining this month’s PS Plus offerings is PS Vita dungeon crawler Severed.

Here’s the full line-up, available to download on 7th March:

Last call for February

You still have a chance to grab any titles you might have missed from February before the 7th March:

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ADK Damashii compilation brings five Neo Geo arcade classics to PS4 today http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/eZ95NNVTnmw/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/03/01/adk-damashii-compilation-brings-five-neo-geo-arcade-classics-to-ps4-today/#comments Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:05:37 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240627 Continuing our initiative to bring classic import titles to modern hardware, our team has been hard at work on preparing a very special compilation disc, ADK Damashii, which releases today on PS4. This compilation disc was originally released on PS2 as a Japan-only release and is a collection of Neo Geo titles that were developed […]

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Continuing our initiative to bring classic import titles to modern hardware, our team has been hard at work on preparing a very special compilation disc, ADK Damashii, which releases today on PS4.

This compilation disc was originally released on PS2 as a Japan-only release and is a collection of Neo Geo titles that were developed by ADK, also known as Alpha Denshi Corporation. We want to discuss each game included in this compilation and why they are so important to the Neo Geo legacy.

Aggressors of Dark Kombat

ADK Damashii

This fighting game developed by ADK is a very unique entry in the genre and has a variety of mechanics that set it apart from other classic fighting games.

One of the biggest differences is the ability to walk into the background, in a way that is very similar to what is possible in side-scrolling beat ’em ups. This is controlled with the stick or D-Pad, and as a result jump is actually moved to one of the action buttons. The game also places a large emphasis on grappling moves, including the ability to counter-grab and break free from an opponent. The game also has weapon pick-ups that are actually thrown into the stage by the crowd!

Ninja Master’s Haoh-Ninpo-Cho

ADK Damashii

Known to most fans simply as Ninja Master’s, this title is one of the rarest and most sought-after Neo Geo cartridges in existence. This title was actually the sixth and final fighting game created by ADK for the Neo Geo. Per the game’s title, the setting revolves around a cast of ninjas each with their own goals and reasons for fighting. The gameplay is very similar to other weapon-based fighting games.

One aspect of the gameplay that differentiates itself from other fights like Samurai Shodown is the ability to switch at will between fighting with your character’s weapon or bare-handed. In certain cases this will actually alter a character’s strategy as the moves can be completely different. The soundtrack in this title is also very unique and is heavily inspired by traditional Japanese music.

Ninja Combat

ADK Damashii

Ninja Combat is a side scrolling action game developed by ADK, and even among other side scrolling action games at the time is considered extremely difficult!

The main characters use shuriken for their primary weapon, and other weapons can be picked up throughout the levels to add variety. Another aspect that increases replay value is the fact that certain bosses become playable after defeating them.

Ninja Commando

ADK Damashii

Ninja Commando is another game featuring ninjas, this time in a top-down vertically scrolling action game. The player gets the choice of three different ninja characters, each with differing abilities, as they chase a villain through seven different time periods. A unique aspect of this game is the fact that the character’s special moves are actually activated through classic fighting-game style inputs.

Twinkle Star Sprites

ADK Damashii

Twinkle Star Sprites is perhaps the most unique title in this compilation, as it is a competitive scrolling shooter that also contains elements common to versus puzzle games. The playfield is split into two halves and each player is restricted to one side. They cannot directly attack each other, and instead send attacks and counter-attacks back at each other by destroying enemies and projectiles on their screen.

This is another import release and does not offer any language options besides Japanese, but with a collection of games like this it should not be missed regardless! We will continue to deliver more import titles to our fans going forward, and are already planning Fatal Fury: Battle Archives Vol.2 as our next release! Stay tuned in the future for more exciting PS2 Games releases from SNK!

ADK Damashii

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5 ways to make prison life fun in upcoming PS4 crim sim The Escapists 2 http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/Rwg5mxOWMWw/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/03/01/5-ways-to-make-prison-life-fun-in-upcoming-ps4-crim-sim-the-escapists-2/#comments Wed, 01 Mar 2017 14:03:32 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240621 Hey everyone, this is Dave Wood, producer on The Escapists 2. I’m thrilled to be introducing the return of our prison breakout simulator to PlayStation 4 with the upcoming sequel. You can check out an all-new trailer directly below, as well as a rundown on just some suggestions for you to do in the game! 1. Dust off […]

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Hey everyone, this is Dave Wood, producer on The Escapists 2. I’m thrilled to be introducing the return of our prison breakout simulator to PlayStation 4 with the upcoming sequel. You can check out an all-new trailer directly below, as well as a rundown on just some suggestions for you to do in the game!

1. Dust off the old instruments and get the band together

The Escapists 2

For the departing gig as you play alongside your fellow inmates, providing some much needed light relief to the sound of sweet music. Oh yeah, feels good right? BUT! Please don’t forget as much as this ‘trip down memory lane’ excites your ears; you ARE meant to be escaping after all, right? …RIGHT?

2. Prison life has never been so good, or should I say ‘fashionable’

Once you’ve established your mob of inmate pals, go nuts with the criminal amounts of available accessories and styles to get across your versions of what ‘Prison Chic’ *really* is all about. Crazy hairstyles, glasses, facial hair, glasses, hats… With such adornments available at your guilty fingertips, would you really ever want to leave your cell without looking like a (stolen) million dollars?!

3. Become the ultimate incarcerated deviant

Foil and plot your opponents’ downfalls one by one. But ‘how’, you ask? That’s up to you! If you *ARE* asking for advice then being the well behaved inmate I am, I would never recommend such underhand activities such as flooding a rivals’ toilet… It’s just as an example though *cough*. An example where you ‘accidentally’ lure in curious prison guards, who happen to *cough* stumble across a certain prison cell littered with escape attempt debris!

4. Generate the ultimate plan of escape alongside your freedom-hungry online friends!

The Escapists 2

Be sure to establish who takes up what role in the crafty plot – who exactly is tasked with keeping an eye out for danger? …Disguised as an on-duty prison guard… As nearby underground digging shenanigans take place with pinpoint precision? Who’ll be in charge of providing the muscle if the plan goes west? And of course, who will be the brains behind the operation ensuring ALL required materials and tools are at hand for the mischievous act?!

5. …Oh, and one more thing; you’ll be able to learn how to speak ‘dolphin’.

See you on the inside, chum!

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Celebrate Horizon Zero Dawn’s launch in LittleBigPlanet 3 with tie-in costume pack, out now http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/ExhQ6T7txng/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/03/01/celebrate-horizon-zero-dawns-launch-in-littlebigplanet-3-with-tie-in-costume-pack-out-now/#comments Wed, 01 Mar 2017 13:00:09 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240725 Fight for survival as experienced hunters in LittleBigPlanet with our new Horizon Zero Dawn Costume Pack, featuring brand-new costumes for Sackgirl and Sackboy that will give them all the hunting gear that they need to dress up as Aloy and Rost. Magnificent mechanised beasts roam these wild lands though and any aspiring hunters will gaze […]

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Fight for survival as experienced hunters in LittleBigPlanet with our new Horizon Zero Dawn Costume Pack, featuring brand-new costumes for Sackgirl and Sackboy that will give them all the hunting gear that they need to dress up as Aloy and Rost.

LittleBigPlanet 3

Magnificent mechanised beasts roam these wild lands though and any aspiring hunters will gaze in awe at the sight of OddSock in their Grazer Costume and Swoop in their Stormbird Costume… Just try to remember that OddSock and Swoop are friendlier than your average Machine!

Each of these costumes can be purchased individually or can be purchased as a bundle in the complete Horizon Zero Dawn Costume Pack.

Non-stop creations on LittleBigPlanet!

Our community continue to publish amazing creations every day that make our jaws drop and knock our socks off. So let’s take a look at two of the new Community Levels that we have featured in our weekly Team Picks since LittleBigPlanet 3 became available on PlayStation Plus.

Born By Rain by rothniel

This incredibly animated 2D brawler game sees you take control of a father on a mission to rescue his son from an evil street gang. Punch and kick your way through an action-adventure like no other on LittleBigPlanet!

Traffic Panic: Multiplayer Mania by BillyAnderson9

Traffic Panic returns with its madcap gameplay in a new Multiplayer Mayhem edition that lets you take on your friends in a number of brand-new arenas and challenges to find out just who is the king of the roads.

Get LittleBigPlanet 3 for FREE on PlayStation Plus today!

LittleBigPlanet 3 has over 10 MILLION LEVELS that are all still available to PlayStation Plus subscribers to play right now.

LittleBigPlanet 3

So if you want to play some of these amazing creations by our community, don’t miss your chance to download LittleBigPlanet 3 for FREE today!

Visit us online!

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Spend €50 on PlayStation Store in March, get a €10 voucher to spend in April http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/2Bg-PRjw2dw/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/03/01/spend-50-on-playstation-store-in-march-get-a-10-voucher-to-spend-in-april/#comments Wed, 01 Mar 2017 12:16:07 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240731 We’ve got a great deal for you this month on PlayStation Store! Spend €50 at PlayStation Store between now and 31 March (2017), and get a €10 wallet top-up voucher code in the first half of April, to redeem that month (local currency equivalents apply). Whether it’s Horizon Zero Dawn Digital Deluxe Edition, Call of […]

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We’ve got a great deal for you this month on PlayStation Store! Spend €50 at PlayStation Store between now and 31 March (2017), and get a €10 wallet top-up voucher code in the first half of April, to redeem that month (local currency equivalents apply).

Cash-Back Offer

Whether it’s Horizon Zero Dawn Digital Deluxe Edition, Call of Duty®: Infinite Warfare or pre-ordering Mass Effect Andromeda, there is plenty on Store for you! It doesn’t have to be a full game either, you can buy multiple products that add up to €50 or over (or local currency equivalent).

Only one voucher code will be sent in April to those who are eligible (so you won’t get €20 if you spend €100 and-so-on), and the voucher must be redeemed that same month. For full Terms and Conditions, please visit https://playstation.com/legal/march-cashback

Deal of the Week (until 8th March 2017)

The PlayStation Store Deal of the Week this week is the amazing Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration. Become more than a survivor and save big on the PS4 version today! Head to PlayStation Store for pricing and don’t miss out on this week long offer.

Deal of the Week

Just a reminder…

Not only that, but don’t forget we also have our EA Offers and Digital Discounts promotions available until 8th March, so head to PlayStation Store today to save, download and play.

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Capturing the authenticity of the final frontier in PS VR’s Star Trek: Bridge Crew http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/s-Uw0WsUukI/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/03/01/capturing-the-authenticity-of-the-final-frontier-in-ps-vrs-star-trek-bridge-crew/#comments Wed, 01 Mar 2017 01:30:12 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240613 When I got the opportunity to work as narrative designer on the upcoming PlayStation VR game Star Trek: Bridge Crew from Red Storm Entertainment, a Ubisoft studio, I knew I was in for the project of a lifetime. Who wouldn’t be excited about working on a brand new platform, developing a game unlike anything we’d ever […]

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When I got the opportunity to work as narrative designer on the upcoming PlayStation VR game Star Trek: Bridge Crew from Red Storm Entertainment, a Ubisoft studio, I knew I was in for the project of a lifetime. Who wouldn’t be excited about working on a brand new platform, developing a game unlike anything we’d ever made before, and using one of most beloved franchises of all time? So much frontier!

In fact, the development process for Star Trek: Bridge Crew was an awful lot like an episode of one of the TV shows; a whole crew of talented individuals encountering never-before-seen challenges, and finding creative solutions with science. (Except we never had to beam anyone down to dangerous alien planets. Even though there were plenty of times we wanted to.)

Star Trek: Bridge Crew is a co-op PS VR game, enabling up to four players to serve as the critical officers on the bridge of a brand new Federation starship, the U.S.S. Aegis, as well as the iconic classic bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Players can choose the role of Helm Officer, Tactical Officer, Chief Engineer, or, of course, Captain. Though it can be played single-player, we designed the game primarily with a social, cooperative experience in mind.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

As the principal writer on the project, I knew there were going to be some surprises along the way, and some lessons to learn as we made the leap from more traditional game development into the relatively unknown space of social VR. If I were to write a post about all the things we discovered, it’d be too long for anyone to read. But here are three quick highlights:

1. Pacing

Often times as game developers, we’re concerned about making sure players always have enough going on to keep their interest. Whether that’s through the high-octane tension of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, or the wealth of gameplay opportunities of an Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry, keeping players engaged is a critical part of game and narrative design.

With the power of social presence in VR, though, we found with Star Trek: Bridge Crew that we had to give players the time and space to fully appreciate the whole experience. Sometimes we found ourselves wanting to put more pressure on players, to shorten the distance between objectives, or to reduce the time players had to make a decision.

But hands-on player testing helped us discover just how much we needed to slow down.

When you first load into Star Trek: Bridge Crew’s main menu, you start in an inspection shuttle, following a short orbit around the beautiful U.S.S. Aegis in dock at a space station. When we first started showing the game to the public, it wasn’t unusual for players to spend five minutes or more just sitting in that shuttle, staring out at space. In fact, one of our guys who ran a lot of demos said not once, but twice, players had to pause to wipe tears from their eyes.

And this was just our main menu.

The sense of presence, of actually being there is so strong in VR, that we as developers had to keep reminding ourselves to make room for our players to just enjoy the thrill of being on the bridge of a starship.

2. Directing player action

The All Seeing Eye/Talking Head is a fairly common mechanic games use to make sure players know what they need to do to accomplish game objectives. (You know, the guy who calls in over the radio and tells you that the room you’re in is on fire and you need to find a way to get out.) But in a shared, virtual environment we found that the experience of having a talking head on the screen wasn’t compelling enough, and didn’t really feel right for the Star Trek franchise.

In Star Trek: Bridge Crew you are, after all, supposed to be an expert crew, entrusted with a starship. It just didn’t seem right to have a Starfleet Admiral constantly showing up on your viewscreen, reminding you of everything you were expected to do.

To that end, we decided to lean heavily on the Captain player as our primary method of communicating mission objectives. Through an interface on the Captain’s chair, the Captain keeps track of everything it takes to accomplish a particular mission, and is responsible for communicating all the relevant information to the rest of the crew.

In addition to mission requirements, however, the Captain also receives information about different ways objectives might be accomplished. In some cases, the crew is faced with decisions that have no clear right answer, and it’s up to the Captain to make the call that seems best to them.

We’re putting a lot of faith in our captains, but it seems to have been the right call; when we’ve given demos, it’s been a beautiful thing to see four complete strangers come together as a crew under the command of a decisive Captain.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

3. Interaction of experts

The Star Trek franchise often centers on the interaction of various experts, and we wanted to make sure that our players got that experience, even if they’d never seen a single episode or movie before. To that end, we spent a lot of time designing each officer’s station and crafting the language we used on our Captain’s information panel so that when players are talking to each other, they have a shared vocabulary that makes it easy to communicate, while also sounding authentic to the franchise.

We have, for example, a specific protocol that players follow to take the Aegis and Enterprise to warp. The Engineer is responsible for providing enough power to the engines, and then starting a process to charge the warp coils. The Helm Officer plots a course and then aligns the ship with the proper vector. But the warp coils can’t hold their charge forever, so the Captain needs to coordinate the process to ensure that everyone does the right thing at the right time. It’s an easy process when you’re just hanging out in Federation space. It might be a little more stressful when you’re trying to rescue civilians while being attacked, and also trying to escape a star that’s about to explode.

Each of the individual actions is simple, but combining each of them together into a process, and wrapping the actions in language that sounds like classic Star Trek really make for a convincing experience when the crew is working together.

(And, of course, when they aren’t, it still sounds pretty convincing when the Captain is yelling at the Helm Officer to punch it, and the Helm Officer is yelling at the Engineer to give him more power.)

There are many other things we learned over the course of developing Star Trek: Bridge Crew, but hopefully this brief overview gives you an idea of just how exciting the future of VR is. It truly is a new frontier, and I’m looking forward to seeing all the great things that we’re going to discover.

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How Ska Studios made its brilliant side-scrolling PS4 Dark Souls tribute, Salt and Sanctuary http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/RwIFrEk9VNM/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/03/01/how-ska-studios-made-its-brilliant-side-scrolling-ps4-dark-souls-tribute-salt-and-sanctuary/#comments Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:25 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240593 The 2017 Game Developers Conference kicks off this week with the Independent Games Summit, and if all has gone according to plan, Michelle and I will have just finished delivering a postmortem of Salt and Sanctuary, our well-received 2D Soulslike that we launched nearly a year ago on PS4. The hardest part about putting together […]

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The 2017 Game Developers Conference kicks off this week with the Independent Games Summit, and if all has gone according to plan, Michelle and I will have just finished delivering a postmortem of Salt and Sanctuary, our well-received 2D Soulslike that we launched nearly a year ago on PS4.

The hardest part about putting together a postmortem is figuring out how to cover years of work and what to even talk about. Michelle and I may have spent years of our lives designing, creating, polishing, iterating, redesigning, polishing, crunching, and polishing Salt and Sanctuary, but how do we figure out what the interesting parts were?

After designing more than 600 weapons, armour pieces, spells, and items, drawing more than 10,000 sprites, animating and scripting more than 100 characters, and building a massive, seamlessly interconnected game world of a few dozen regions, it’s hard to know what’s interesting anymore.

GDC 2017

So I did the smart thing: I asked you. More accurately, I asked Twitter. And we got a bunch of questions! Here’s what we learned:

We had some concept art

Because it’s just Michelle and me, I generally don’t do a lot of concepting — when there’s no discipline gap between concept and final art, it’s just a more optimal use of time to just start drawing game art. I did end up making some concept art when I was stuck on planes, which happens here and there. Michelle is much more into concepting. Her concepts are mostly digital though, and also done while traveling, or through her annual Monster of the Day project each October.

Our story had some origins

If nothing else, Michelle and I are geeks for A Song of Ice and Fire, and Salt and Sanctuary was loads of House Greyjoy: drowned gods, blessings of salt, and that cold, morbid philosophy: “what is dead can never die.” Otherwise, I’ve been pretty fascinated by pre-modern “science” — where the supernatural could be as much a candidate to explain the world as the natural. Much of the story and visual aesthetic came from medieval murals to ptolemaic diagrams.

GDC 2017

I didn’t plan out a lot of the actual coding

There were times that I felt I should have, but after nine years of making very similar games, I kind of have a pretty tried and true technique, mostly revolving around tools.

I love to talk about tools

Imagine you were creating Pac-Man. How would you represent the world map? When you’re just starting out in Computer Science 101, text files made in Notepad are a great place to start:

There’s a simple system! “#” for walls, “.” for pills, “*” for power pills, “G” for ghost spawn points. I’ve used systems like this. Great! But what if we wanted to add some variety to the scenery? Lighting? A boss battle? Our ASCII system is great if we want to represent 4 or 5 simple things, but anything more complicated just blows it right up.

In the case of our ASCII Pac-Man maps, Notepad is a tool. And as far as tools for game content go, Notepad is rock bottom. So what to do? Make better tools!

Salt and Sanctuary took no fewer than eight discrete tools. A few of them were new for Salt and Sanctuary, and a few have evolved since The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai. The cornerstone is the character animation editor, upgraded for Salt to support skeletal animation.

Then there’s the sprite sheet atlas editor, the map editor, and the destructible objects editor, all updated from Charlie Murder. And new for Salt and Sanctuary are the dialog editor, loot editor, monster editor, and skill tree editor. That’s right: I’m so in love with these special purpose editors that I made one just for the skill tree, and I have no regrets.

Yeah, I like talking about tools. And it’s not hard to see why: maybe 90% of Salt and Sanctuary is just content that Michelle and I used those tools to make. And a lot of the game logic even emerges through the creation of these tools, like the code to render the map, skill tree, or animated character.

Jumping off is hard to do

The prototyping phase is a wonderfully free phrase of experimentation and laying groundwork: defining things like “what is a door?” “What is a boss fight?” “What is loot?” “How high do I jump?” Once that groundwork is laid, it gets really easy to make content, but really hard to fiddle with that groundwork.

For instance, let’s say I can jump a four-tile gap. Then — after building half of the world map — I decide that the game feels too floaty and I need to tighten up the gravity constant.

But that change allows the player to jump a five-tile gap. Well, now I’ll have to audit the whole game up until that point to make sure I haven’t introduced any game-breaking new shortcuts (Speedrunners will know that such shortcuts still found their way in!).

Working with your wife is great

We are often asked what it’s like working with your spouse. It’s a bit like working with your coworkers, only more personal. You share not only your work but your life. It all blends together and when you’re doing what you love with the person you love, it’s amazing.

It’s not without its challenges, but those we take like any relationship. Communication is key, and we’re not perfect, but we get better every day.

GDC 2017

Paying homage to Soulslikes while still finding our own voice was a critical challenge

I looked at ways games exist on a common landscape: incredibly inspirational games like Dark Souls, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Ninja Gaiden Black existed alongside our own The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, Charlie Murder, and what would be Salt and Sanctuary.

Drawing from a landscape of concepts, themes, and mechanics, we were able to build a cohesive action game that drew the brawly feel of Dishwasher and Ninja Gaiden, the world progression of Castlevania, and the obscure lore and character progression of Dark Souls.

Some things went wrong

Self publishing may have given us more freedom than we were used to. In our early days, localisation was all handled for us by our publisher; my job was just to make sure the game rendered it correctly. With self publishing, this responsibility to localise falls on us, and we hadn’t quite figured it out in time. I did implement all of the text rendering, and I set up some tools to automatically machine translate our text to test out the rendering, but we didn’t have proper translations.

With a zillion other things to worry about and crunch over for launch, I guess I sort of convinced myself that maybe machine translations aren’t the worst thing. Well, they are. And we’re still fixing them. Sorry about that.

Some things were unexpectedly amazing

We could not possibly have predicted the level of excitement from gamers and support from streamers and content creators after announcing Salt and Sanctuary. We’ve always been very grassroots about marketing, more having to do with being terrible at self-promotion than any kind of intentional PR style.

Having the support of streamers and YouTubers was so crucial. I don’t think Salt and Sanctuary could have been the success it was without these people. A huge thanks goes out to them.

Working with Sony was seriously great

Working with Sony was absolutely a transition for us. Before PS4 launched, we were a tiny studio that made exclusives on other platforms. But the new console generation brought a lot of uncertainty to indie developers like us (a lot of which was about our tech), and sitting down with Sony really made a fantastic impression.

GDC 2017

Indie game developers struggle with motivation

This was a sort of meta-takeaway: while organizing the questions I got from Twitter, I noticed that a lot of them were asking how we kept motivated. My semi-reliable trick is to switch up tasks a bit when I get worn out, but I know this only works to a certain extent. At any rate, if you’re trying to make games and struggling with motivation, know that this is something we all deal with!

Finding motivation through other developers and even other creatives in other industries helps a lot. We always come away from game conferences, after meeting up with other devs, recharged and ready to get back to making awesome stuff.

Game development has some pretty insane ups and downs, but with hard work, perseverance, and a little bit of classic insanity, we’ll all pull through.

PS Vita owners are patient, loyal, and fierce

We’re sorry it’s taken so long. The port is being handled by another studio, but it’s still in the works!

It’s been a wild time in development and we’re still reeling post-launch of Salt and Sanctuary almost a year ago. Thank you so much to PlayStation and all the gamers who believed in us. Thank you for playing our game. Your support truly keeps us going.

The post How Ska Studios made its brilliant side-scrolling PS4 Dark Souls tribute, Salt and Sanctuary appeared first on PlayStation.Blog.Europe.

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Classic 2000 AD PS2 shooter Rogue Trooper is being remastered for PS4 http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/fzzLRBptw7g/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/02/28/classic-2000-ad-ps2-shooter-rogue-trooper-is-being-remastered-for-ps4/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:37:08 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240573 Today we’re very excited to announce Rebellion‘s first new release since we launched Sniper Elite 4 on Valentine’s Day! If you follow Rebellion you might already know that we don’t just make games, we also publish legendary British comic 2000 AD, famous for characters like Judge Dredd, Sláine, Nemesis and of course Rogue Trooper! Coming […]

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Today we’re very excited to announce Rebellion‘s first new release since we launched Sniper Elite 4 on Valentine’s Day!

If you follow Rebellion you might already know that we don’t just make games, we also publish legendary British comic 2000 AD, famous for characters like Judge Dredd, Sláine, Nemesis and of course Rogue Trooper!

Coming soon to PlayStation 4, Rogue Trooper Redux is a loving remaster of the acclaimed 2006 PS2 third-person shooter based on the comic book of the same name.

This year 2000 AD celebrates its 40th birthday and we can’t wait to bring one of its most memorable figures to a whole new generation of PlayStation players.

New to 2000 AD? Never played the original game? Here’s a little intro to our blue-skinned soldier…

Who is Rogue Trooper?

TITLE

Created by beloved writer Gerry Finley-Day and groundbreaking artist Dave Gibbons, Rogue Trooper has been a comic book mainstay since 1981 and has even included contributions from Alan Moore, writer of Watchmen and V for Vendetta.

Rogue Trooper tells the tale of the sole-surviving Genetic Infantryman (or “GI”), a blue-skinned, bio-engineered solider on a mission to avenge his fallen comrades across the blasted, chemical-poisoned planet of Nu Earth in a remote corner of the galaxy.

Why does he fight?

TITLE

Bred for war by the Southers in their endless conflict with the colonial Nort regime, the GIs were the only troops that could fight on Nu Earth’s surface without respirators or sealed HAZMAT suits, giving them a huge advantage in combat.

Aware of this threat, the Norts conspired with the Traitor General to set a deadly trap for the GIs which later became known as the infamous “Quartz Zone Massacre”.

Of the hundreds of GIs who made the drop, Rogue was the only survivor, taking the bio-chips from the bodies of his three closest comrades so they might survive to be implanted in new GI bodies.

From that day on he had one mission – hunt down the Traitor General!

What makes Nu Earth so special?

A planet-wide conflict across petrified forests and polluted plains, a yawning black hole that dominates every skyline … I’m not sure there have been many more dramatic stages for a war story!

What makes the set-up unique though, is Rogue himself.

TITLE

While Rogue walks alone, he fights as a team. With the sentient bio-chips of his fallen buddies Gunnar, Bagman and Helm inserted into his rifle, pack and helmet respectively, Rogue has access to a huge variety of unique upgrades and abilities that not only drive the game’s tactical shooting, but pays homage to the essence of the comic.

All this makes for a unique action game that feels as good now as it did in 2006. We can’t wait to show you more of Rogue Trooper Redux and maybe even covert a few more of you into GIs!

The post Classic 2000 AD PS2 shooter Rogue Trooper is being remastered for PS4 appeared first on PlayStation.Blog.Europe.

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Charting the four-year journey to today’s launch of crowdfunded RPG Torment: Tides of Numenera http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/BAo_pUYCXZQ/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/02/28/charting-the-four-year-journey-to-todays-launch-of-crowdfunded-rpg-torment-tides-of-numenera/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2017 15:08:20 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240567 After four years of development and with $5 million raised in crowdfunding, it’s finally here: Torment: Tides of Numenera launches on PlayStation 4 today! Set on earth one billion years in the future on the science-fantasy Numenera setting, Torment is a game where we invite you define your legacy – find your answer to the question […]

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After four years of development and with $5 million raised in crowdfunding, it’s finally here: Torment: Tides of Numenera launches on PlayStation 4 today!

Set on earth one billion years in the future on the science-fantasy Numenera setting, Torment is a game where we invite you define your legacy – find your answer to the question “What does one life matter?” On the road towards that goal, you’ll have to make thousands of choices and face the consequences.

Torment

At inXile, we love making games where the player tells the story, and we make sure to add many different opportunities to make decisions that truly matter. Torment: Tides of Numenera, true to its legacy, is a game set in a world unlike any other, with a deeply personal story, and offers near-bottomless choice and consequence. As RPGs go, it offers one of the most in-depth stories we’ve ever built, with over 1.2 million words, and some of the craziest situations and characters we’ve ever dreamed up. And on top of that, the game has a unique combat system we call the Crisis System, where each encounter is handcrafted and you can use your environment or even talk your way out of the fight.

Torment

But let’s go back a few steps, as you may be asking yourself “Alright, but what’s a Torment?” Two decades ago, I ran a studio by the name of Interplay, which published and/or developed titles like Baldur’s Gate, Fallout, Descent, Stonekeep, and – of course – Planescape: Torment. We were a studio that lived by the credo “by gamers, for gamers”, and I don’t think any of our titles expressed that quite as well as Planescape: Torment did. Here was a game unlike any other, the fevered brainchild of developers with a love of pen and paper games and a penchant for the dark and bizarre. It wasn’t the usual kind of pitch, but both the artistic side of me and the teen inside me that loved D&D had to see this game happen, so it was an easy greenlight.

Torment

Today Planescape: Torment is remembered as one of the great classics, often listed as the best cRPG of all time, and praised for its literary qualities. People have long been asking me if a sequel would ever happen. Four years ago, I got developers from the original game together to create a thematic successor worthy of the Torment name, and people proved they truly wanted this title when they made us the highest funded Kickstarter at the time.

Development on crowdfunded games is unlike that of traditionally funded games. It allows us to make games using crowdfunding that otherwise would simply not exist. We’re blessed with a backer base that has supported our vision throughout. Of course, for us that adds a hefty double burden for Torment: Tides of Numenera. Make a game true to the heritage of one of the greatest RPGs of all time that simultaneously makes your nearly hundred thousand backers happy.

Torment

So of course expectations are high, but our backers have also helped us through the way – giving invaluable feedback during the development process and testing our beta version with us. Because gamers are so uniquely involved in this title from its very inception, perhaps it holds truer to the phrase “by gamers, for gamers” than we ever did before.

It’s been a long four years to get this title to them, but we’re delivering a game we’re very proud of, and early the feedback has been positive. I hope you’ll join us in exploring the Ninth World, and find your legacy!

The post Charting the four-year journey to today’s launch of crowdfunded RPG Torment: Tides of Numenera appeared first on PlayStation.Blog.Europe.

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New on PlayStation Store this week: Horizon Zero Dawn, Torment: Tides of Numenera http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/xZ7mX8QMmmc/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/02/28/new-on-playstation-store-this-week-horizon-zero-dawn-torment-tides-of-numenera/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2017 11:10:17 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240577 Arriving on a wave of critical acclaim, this week sees the debut of Horizon Zero Dawn, the stunning new PS4-exclusive open-world adventure from Killzone studio Guerrilla Games. In an era where Machines roam the land and mankind is no longer the dominant species, step into the shoes of a young hunter named Aloy as she […]

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Arriving on a wave of critical acclaim, this week sees the debut of Horizon Zero Dawn, the stunning new PS4-exclusive open-world adventure from Killzone studio Guerrilla Games. In an era where Machines roam the land and mankind is no longer the dominant species, step into the shoes of a young hunter named Aloy as she embarks on a journey to discover her destiny.

Also out this week, eccentric indie adventure Night in the Woods, fantasy RPG Torment: Tides of Numenera, out-of-this-world PS VR experience Apollo 11 and new DLC for Steep, Minecraft and Tom Clancy’s The Division, among others.

See the full list of new arrivals below.

PlayStation StoreOut this week

ps4

 

 

 


  • Horizon Zero Dawn
    1st March

  • Horizon Zero Dawn – Deluxe Edition
    1st March

  • Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers
    1st March

 


  • ADK Damashii
    1st March

  • The Sun and Moon/Letter Quest Bundle
    1st March

  • Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Extended Edition
    1st March

 


  • Apollo 11 VR
    1st March

  • The Pure Bundle
    2nd March

  • ACA Neo Geo NAM-1975
    2nd March

 

psvita


  • Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers
    1st March

 

PS4 DLC

Remember, if you’ve not got access to your PS4, PS3 or PS Vita then you can also buy through our online store on your mobile, tablet or computer.

Free for PlayStation Plus subscribers in February

The post New on PlayStation Store this week: Horizon Zero Dawn, Torment: Tides of Numenera appeared first on PlayStation.Blog.Europe.

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Sci-fi adventure Unearthing Mars launches on PlayStation VR 7th March http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/q7c2_GnuQAc/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/02/28/sci-fi-adventure-unearthing-mars-launches-on-playstation-vr-7th-march/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2017 10:16:29 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240515 Hi everyone, this is Eric from Winking Entertainment, a company name probably not many of you are familiar with. This is our first outing on the Playstation platform, and we’re really excited to bring our PS VR sci-fi adventure Unearthing Mars to Europe. Let me start off with this: I’m happy to announce that Unearthing […]

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Hi everyone, this is Eric from Winking Entertainment, a company name probably not many of you are familiar with. This is our first outing on the Playstation platform, and we’re really excited to bring our PS VR sci-fi adventure Unearthing Mars to Europe.

Let me start off with this: I’m happy to announce that Unearthing Mars will be released digitally on PSN stores globally on 7th March! That’s right, you guys heard it here first!

So what is Unearthing Mars? Is it a shooter, a puzzler, or some sort of space sim? To be honest, it is all and none of these at the same time. Let me explain while sharing some concept art we made in production with you.

The Unearthing Mars experience comprises of 10 different stages, each with its own unique gameplay mechanic, while advancing the story of a space expedition team trying to unravel the secrets of Mars. Players will be taking the role of the co-pilot, a member of the retrieval team sent to recover fragments of the mysterious Phobos satellite, believed to hold clues to the possibility of an ancient civilization on Mars.

As you can tell, this isn’t a documentary-type VR experience, but really something that plays more like a good science fiction novel (or novella, as Unearthing Mars has an average playthrough length of 2 hours).

In the first half of the game, players will experience operating a Mars landing craft vehicle firsthand, as well as explore the surface of Mars on foot and via a rover vehicle. In the latter half, there is a lot more cross-genre gameplay as players discover a more esoteric side to the Red Planet, solving puzzles along the way and culminating in a first-person shootout that… well, I’ll let you guys experience that for yourselves.

With such a wide variety of gameplay mechanics in the game, production was quite a challenge. Production staff were split into 4 smaller teams, each responsible for a different game genre, or gameplay mechanic.

Traditionally at Winking, a single product is worked up on by a single team, but to tackle the challenges posed by making a new VR product, 4 different teams were necessary in the end. One team was responsible for the landing craft cockpit simulation, another for the driving mechanics of the rover vehicle, and yet another for the adventure parts in the underground and on surface of Mars, as well as the puzzle areas. Finally a team was brought in to execute the shooting stage.

The team also invested in facial and body motion capture equipment in order to make movements as fluid as possible. Unlike traditional console games, in VR everything holds an additional factor of realism, and in order to get the amount of detail required, adjustments were added by hand post-motion capture.

In order to ensure players experience the fullest immersion in the VR environment, the decision was made early on to have leave minimal on-screen UI, use full voiceovers to guide the player and tell the story. The team flew to record on-location in Europe, Japan and Korea to provide natural-sounding native voiceovers, as poor voiceovers really do kill the atmosphere of a game.

We had the help of some very talented voice actors, and having been involved in the recording personally I recommend playing through the game in different languages!

To wrap things up, Unearthing Mars, a sci-fi PS VR game set on the Red Planet, will be available digitally on PlayStation Store 7th March. It’s a smörgåsbord of game genres and mechanics that should be enjoyable for all players: it really has something for everyone.

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How Thumper’s ‘rhythm violence’ was made all the more terrifying thanks to PlayStation VR http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/VABFfXK6mx8/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/02/27/how-thumpers-rhythm-violence-was-made-all-the-more-terrifying-thanks-to-playstation-vr/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:00:20 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240487 Thumper began as an idea back in 2008, when high-quality VR was just a fantasy. Last October, we were proud to release Thumper alongside PS VR. It’s been an honour to hear from so many PlayStation gamers who made Thumper their first VR experience! My co-developer Brian Gibson and I handcrafted our own engine, tools, […]

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Thumper began as an idea back in 2008, when high-quality VR was just a fantasy. Last October, we were proud to release Thumper alongside PS VR. It’s been an honour to hear from so many PlayStation gamers who made Thumper their first VR experience!

Thumper

My co-developer Brian Gibson and I handcrafted our own engine, tools, and embraced risk as we developed Thumper. But perhaps our biggest gamble was deciding to add VR support to Thumper. In most VR games, you, the player, are a human interacting with a virtual environment based on our world. But the world of Thumper is abstract and alien. And you are a space beetle. Without any real-world frame of reference, we had to figure out what Thumper should feel like in VR.

First, we had to decide how large everything in the world is relative to the player. As a starting point, we tried making the player’s character (a space beetle) very large – approximately 15 meters wide in real-world units. This didn’t have the feeling we wanted. When you are this small relative to the game world, moving your head around results in little or no change of perspective. The beetle and in-game objects feel distant, detached, and lack intensity.

Thumper

So, we made the player much larger. We tried making the beetle about the size of the player’s head. This made things more intense. In fact, it was too intense. At this size, crashing through the game’s many obstacles and sharp turns felt like getting smacked in the face! We thought it best to spare our players from this level of punishment.

Thumper

Finally, we adjusted the player size so the beetle is about 40 centimeters wide in real-world units. At this size, the path the beetle travels down is just wider than your shoulders. It makes it feel like you’re sliding down a long chute in a children’s playground. As soon as we played the game like this, we knew the feeling was perfect.

Thumper

A wonderful thing about VR is that visuals are no longer constrained to a static rectangular frame. Players can look around in any direction. We took advantage of this to make our boss encounters more epic in VR. In the image below, you can see Crakhed, the final boss of Level 1, as he looks in normal 2D mode.

Thumper

But when you reach Crakhed in VR, he is four times bigger! At this size, he looms over the player and encountering him is more ominous and overwhelming.

Thumper

We made many more minor adjustments to perfect Thumper’s VR mode. But a big technical challenge remained. On PS4, Thumper runs at 1080p and 60 frames per second. That translates to about 124 million pixels per second. On PS VR, we found that the best experience required the game to run at 90 frames per second. We also didn’t want to sacrifice visual fidelity, so our VR mode uses 1.4x super-sampling and high quality anti-aliasing. All that translates to about 366 million pixels per second. So to achieve our visual goals for PS VR, we had to find a way to triple our rendering speed!

Thumper

Fortunately, with the help of Sony engineers, we were able to improve our custom engine and better utilize the PS4’s graphics processor. It was one of the most difficult things we’ve ever done, but I’m proud to say Thumper runs at a rock solid 90 frames per second on PS VR. A nice side benefit of our intense optimisation effort is that Thumper’s renderer became much more efficient overall.

With the added power of PS4 Pro, you can play Thumper in native 4K at 60 frames per second – a staggering 500 million pixels per second. And if you play in VR on PS4 Pro, the visuals are clearer and even more immersive.

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Checkmate! Chess Ultra comes to PS4 this spring with PS VR and PS4 Pro support http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/vJGKu7YRBiw/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/02/27/checkmate-chess-ultra-comes-to-ps4-this-spring-with-ps-vr-and-ps4-pro-support/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:00:48 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240481 Hey everyone! I’m Kelly Willoughby, the lead producer at Ripstone Games. We’re a British developer and publisher, and we’ve got a whole bunch of PlayStation games in our repertoire. You might know the Pure series, including Pure Chess, Pure Pool and Pure Hold’em, or maybe titles like Stick it to the Man and Knytt Underground. […]

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Hey everyone! I’m Kelly Willoughby, the lead producer at Ripstone Games. We’re a British developer and publisher, and we’ve got a whole bunch of PlayStation games in our repertoire. You might know the Pure series, including Pure Chess, Pure Pool and Pure Hold’em, or maybe titles like Stick it to the Man and Knytt Underground.

So here’s the deal: We’ve been secretly working on a brand new title created by our internal development team that we’d love to share with you today. We’re super excited to reveal that Chess Ultra, a sequel to our original 2012 hit Pure Chess, is coming to PS4 and PS VR this spring.

Chess? YES!

Chess Ultra is a massive step up from the original Pure Chess for the Ripstone team. Not only is the game going to be available in stunning 4K for PlayStation 4 Pro players, but PlayStation owners with a PS VR headset will be able to play the game in VR. We’re super excited about that, as you might have gathered! (And yes, you can use the PS Move controllers to play!)

Each of the Chess Ultra environments look absolutely stunning in 4K, as you can see from the surrounding screenshots and the teaser trailer above, and the chess sets themselves are just as slick.

We’ve worked really hard to make every inch of Chess Ultra shine and we think you’re really going to get the wow factor when you boot up the game. Running at a silky smooth 60 frames per second with textures beautifully rendered using PBR (physical based rendering) this really is something special. Developing the game from the ground up with our internal team has allowed us to make the most beautiful chess game ever seen!

Chess Ultra

And of course, there are all the features you’d expect from a top quality chess game, and plenty more on top of that. There’s a huge amount of single-player content, including ten different AI levels, multiple environments and a variety of stunning chess sets.

Once you’ve shown the AI what you’re made of, you can always take the action online, and play against friends and other Chess Ultra players from around the world. We’ve got plenty of game modes to keep you and your friends entertained online.

Check it out!

If you’d like to see the game in action right this second, you’re in luck! We’re currently hosting a special livestream on Twitch, where you can play Chess Ultra against a Grandmaster by entering chess commands into the chat, and also ask questions about the game.

That’s everything we’re ready to share right now, but rest assured we have some big surprises up our sleeves that we can’t wait to shout about!

As the first internally developed game for PlayStation from Ripstone Games, Chess Ultra is extremely special to all of us here, and we can’t wait for you to get your hands on it this spring. Expect to hear from me again on the PlayStation.Blog very soon!

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How Duke Nukem has met his match in upcoming PS4 shooter Bulletstorm http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/VQNJ70f2BA4/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/02/27/how-duke-nukem-has-met-his-match-in-upcoming-ps4-shooter-bulletstorm/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:00:33 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240475 I’ll put my hand up and say I’m one – of the seemingly many – gamers whose radar the original release of Bulletstorm slipped under. The 2011 adrenaline-fuelled shooter joined the likes of Beyond Good & Evil and Pschyonauts in falling foul on an unfortunate curse; critical acclaim that didn’t translate into commercial traction. A game […]

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I’ll put my hand up and say I’m one – of the seemingly many – gamers whose radar the original release of Bulletstorm slipped under.

The 2011 adrenaline-fuelled shooter joined the likes of Beyond Good & Evil and Pschyonauts in falling foul on an unfortunate curse; critical acclaim that didn’t translate into commercial traction. A game that quickly, according to those that did play it, became a forgotten gem.

Six years on, enter Gearbox Publishing. It’s an easy fit between returning developer People Can Fly and the Battleborn creator; the latter is best known for its comedic and action-rich shooter series Borderlands.

Bulletstorm

Bulletstorm is as gory as it is fast-paced. It favours creative kills, even rewards you for them, and is the core of the gameplay loop. There’s no deliberation over ethics of gunplay. Just a succession of one liners and trigger pulls that are more action era Arnie than modern cinema’s more measured take on battlefield brutality. There’s much in its DNA that Gearbox likely recognised as a twin of its own creation. The pairing then, is an obvious fit.

And little wonder why Duke Nukem’s got in on the action as an alternate campaign DLC character, complete with full voiceover (by his real-world other half John St. John) and rewritten lines to suit the Duke. Though, this may be the first time the bubblegum-chewing, alien-killing machine gets outmatched and outclassed in the F-bomb department.

Bulletstorm

Because Bulletstorm leans hard into the 18 rating; swearing, blood and gore are frequent fliers in the fictional universe’s skybox (looking better than ever thanks to the HD touchup). It’s unashamedly full-on with its 80s-inspired action.

A robust weapon wheel calls up a solid range of gun types, most of which feel unique even in an overcrowded genre: the four (four!) barrelled shotgun, the chain-linked grenades of the Flail gun, the skin-piercing drill bits of the Penetrator, the mini-game inbuilt in steering your Headhunter bullets to their flailing targets… and each has a secondary fire mode. It’s carnage on the digital dancefloor.

I play an early section of the game that allows me to test these weapons of messy destruction out, as well as the wrist-mounted energy leash that pulls enemies close, and the zippy slide maneuver that lets me cross open areas and move between cover points quickly. Oh, and the melee kick. A boot to an attacker’s face at close range is as almost as satisfying a full stop to a bullet-ridden conversation as watching uour foe explode from afar.

Bulletstorm

So, it’s an easy win for adrenaline, with just enough combat strategy required to command the fight as multiple enemy types charge your location. On initial impressions, it’d suit those of us whose tastes stray towards both PlatinumGames’ Vanquish and Doom’s modern rebuild.

If you’ve played either you’ll note similarities – despite the separation of a half decade and console generations – but People Can Fly is eager to thrust its own enraged identity into your face. Bulletstorm’s open aggression – and gameplay purity – can feel like a guilty pleasure in the modern era. But that may also make it most welcome; a palette cleanser between those story-rich RPGs and multi-faceted adventure experiences. A power fantasy where the only moral choices are where you shoot a foe, and with how many bullets.

The question then, is not if People Can Fly can capture lightning in a bottle twice, but if there’s anyone around to witness its imprisonment. Will Bulletstorm find its audience? We’ll find out 7th April.

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The making of Horizon Zero Dawn’s machines, as told by Guerrilla Games http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/11uhhoN3UP0/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/02/24/the-making-of-horizon-zero-dawns-machines-as-told-by-guerrilla-games/#comments Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:00:26 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240375 As we countdown to Horizon Zero Dawn‘s release on 1st March, Guerrilla Games reflects on the creation of its action RPG, and shares stories about the key beats that shaped its new game. In part two of the series, Game Director Mathijs de Jonge, Art Director Jan-Bart van Beek, Lead Quest Designer David Ford, Combat […]

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As we countdown to Horizon Zero Dawn‘s release on 1st March, Guerrilla Games reflects on the creation of its action RPG, and shares stories about the key beats that shaped its new game. In part two of the series, Game Director Mathijs de Jonge, Art Director Jan-Bart van Beek, Lead Quest Designer David Ford, Combat Designer Troy Mashburn and Managing Director Hermen Hulst talk the making of its already iconic machines, and handpick their personal favourites.

Even the earliest thrilling iconography of Horizon Zero Dawn could be split evenly in two: on one side, there’s red-haired heroine Aloy, bow taut and ready to fight. On the other, the hulking, immediately intriguing design of an animalistic machine.

These mechanised threats, so intrinsic to the world’s ecosystem and its overarching mystery are already iconic. The nimble Watcher of the earlier reveals has become a PlayStation event cosplay mainstay, while the hulking Thunderjaw has been immortalised in the game’s fantastic artwork.

Creating the concept of the machines

“We didn’t know how animalistic we should go for the machines,” confesses Horizon Zero Dawn’s director Mathijs de Jonge of the initial design process. “We did crude models and mockups at a very early stage.”

Surprising this may be, given the game’s background story being humanity’s regression to a primitive culture and surviving an aggressive, dominant animalistic species, but ‘dinosaur’ wasn’t the immediate creative direction the team went in.

“We did some machines that were more like scorpions,” explains Mathijs, “but we noticed that shooting at it was really problematic… the legs were so thin you barely had any surface to hit.” The game’s director Jan-Bart van Beek (JB) concurred from a visual perspective. “We shied away from these because it gave the game a completely different feel. It’s different shooting alien-looking machines compared to robot dinosaurs, which changes the gameplay. Visually it didn’t work as well either, compared to seeing big robot dinosaurs!”

And with large surface areas and mechanisation key design elements, it allowed Guerrilla Games to entertain the idea of multi-layered animals with collectable components that could be shot off. Horizon Zero Dawn’s fantastical beasts – and their creator – had found their inspiration, though Mathijs is quick to point out that not one mechanised creature is a parallel of a real world one, extinct or not. “The Watcher in the game,” he uses as away of example. “It’s animalistic but you can’t say exactly what type of animal it is, which was what we were aiming for – it should resemble a combination of animals but not a literal translation of a singular one.”

That said, there was one particular, familiar type that was attempted, but become a creative dead end: rabbit-like metallic animals. Mathijs dismisses them with a laugh. “That looked so weird!”

Bone and flesh versus steel and cable

You’ll notice smaller game – geese, boar for example – wandering the wildlands as you explore. This tied into the fiction of tribes’ hunting for fur and meat. But Mathijs touches upon the decision not to include larger flesh and blood animals onto the digital reserve, pinpointing their impact on gameplay.

“We initially considered having larger predators like mountain lions and bears, but we thought it may get a little strange as they’d get into conflict with the machines and you’d get these weird looking fights between them,” he laughingly remembers.

Besides, Aloy’s got enough to contend with as humans are thrown into the procedurally-generated mix, stories of which both Combat Designer Troy Mashburn and Managing Director Hermen Hulst happily share. The former remembering how a group of people being chased by a machine ran smack into another mechanised pack. An “epic battle” ensued. “It wasn’t scripted to happen, it just happened.”

Similarly Hulst recalls prepping for a machine encounter, only for a humanoid faction to wander into the fray. “All of a sudden I had a much more intense fight than I was planning to have! That sort of thing happens all the time.”

The creators pick their personal favourite from Horizon Zero Dawn’s machines

Horizon Zero Dawn

Troy Mashburn, Combat Designer: “Shell Walkers have a variety of things you can do to them. They’re fun as you need to plan how to attack them, set traps and maybe disable them piece by piece, or maybe lob some explosive grenades and weaken them.”

Horizon Zero Dawn

David Ford, Lead Quest Designer: “The Scrapper looks like a hyena, has more weak points but not one single critical weak point. That presents a different challenge. They have this scary projectile attack from their mouth and they’re really good at flanking and swarming you, so they can be deadly in groups.”

Horizon Zero Dawn

Mathijs De Jonge, Game Director: “The Watcher was one of the first machines we built in prototype in animation, about five years ago. It had no AI at the time, just animation, but immediately felt so real.”

Horizon Zero Dawn

JB, Art Director: “The Thunderjaw – the massive T-rex machine – is a favourite. Also because it was the first one that we did and was our proof of concept; if we could make this work then we could make the game work.”

War machines: Masters of the Earth

JB coins the term “ancient war machines” as an apt description of Aloy’s fearsome foes. Lead narrative designer John Gonzales calls them “the masters of this Earth.”

“They’re the stars of the show,” Managing Director Hermen says simply. “I like how different the machines are from each other,” touching on the impressive species count – 25 unique kinds – that roam the world you’ll find yourself in. “There’s an entire ecology which feels natural – some behave to try and stick with a herd, so even if you lure one away they still try to have that herd mentality.”

David Ford, Lead Quest Designer, elaborates. “If you’re tactical about where you’re shooting [the machines] you can do a lot more damage. If you’re shooting the sides or the armour plating of a Watcher for example, it will eventually go down, but during that time its buddies can swarm and overwhelm you.” Ford pinpoints the Watcher’s eye as the place to aim for an instant-kill. Yet even knowing a beast’s weak spots doesn’t lessen the thrill of the hunt – be you hunter or hunted. “It’s an incredibly satisfying experience because they never quite get to the point where they’re trivial.”

Hulst echoes a similar sentiment. “Even as an experienced Horizon player, I get a different type of fun toying with four or five Watchers at the same time – whereas at the beginning at the game just one is tough! And sometimes you’ll come across one which has a upgraded with a few skills that they didn’t have at the start of the game, so they develop with you.”

“I like how, as a player, you can learn about [machines] by scanning them and finding their weak spots and behavioural patterns,” he continues. “There’s so much backstory that’s expressed via gameplay. We really have to switch things up depending on which machines you’re coming across at the time. And the sound team did a great job bringing them to life.”

I can attest to machine ferociousness and iconic sounds. Even combating a single Watcher late into a recent preview event I was surprised at its cunning and respectful of its power. One tail strike knocked Aloy across the glade of the overgrown city ruins I was fighting in and depleted half her health. As I readied to strike back, a sudden high-pitched whine behind instinctively had me roll out of the way. A split-second later another Watcher launched itself at the spot I just vacated. I’d found myself in the middle of a Watcher pack with no recourse but to fight my way out.

JB summed up my feelings from the encounter best. ” All the machines need to be awe-inspiring, threatening, overwhelming and overpowering.” A sense of presence that every creature, great and small, carries. “We wanted to portray a sense of majesty – we want you to look at these landscapes and have them take your breath away.”

Read the first part of this series, as Guerrilla Games dicusses the creation of Horizon Zero Dawn’s Aloy, here.

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The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Extended Edition releases on PS4 1st March http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/3p7xqjCx55I/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/02/24/the-incredible-adventures-of-van-helsing-extended-edition-releases-on-ps4-1st-march/#comments Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:00:06 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240361 Greetings to all Hunters out there! NeocoreGames is proud to announce that next week Van Helsing and his charming – but deadly - ghost companion Lady Katarina will begin their incredible adventures in Borgovia – on the PlayStation 4! If you’re unfamiliar with our esteemed Van Helsing, don’t worry, we’ll bring you up to speed in […]

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Greetings to all Hunters out there!

NeocoreGames is proud to announce that next week Van Helsing and his charming – but deadly - ghost companion Lady Katarina will begin their incredible adventures in Borgovia – on the PlayStation 4!

If you’re unfamiliar with our esteemed Van Helsing, don’t worry, we’ll bring you up to speed in no time.

Our protagonist is the son of the legendary monster hunter first introduced to the world in Bram Stoker’s magnificent Gothic novel “Dracula”, although in our alternative, steampunkish 19th-century Europe young Van Helsing grew up to became a monster hunter as well.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

Times have changed though, and new monstrosities roam the wilderness and the soot-stained city streets – monstrosities created by Weird Science, who are threatening the existence of all the traditional monsters hiding in the ancient, mysterious kingdom of Borgovia on the eastern rim of the continent.

When these desperate creatures decide to ask for help from the son of their old nemesis, it’s up to Van Helsing to stop the madness that Professor Fulmigati brought upon the land.

He looks like a serious fellow, but don’t be alarmed: his unlikely companion, the ethereal Lady Katarina will lighten up the mood with a witty remark or two, not to mention that she can tear apart anyone in her corporeal form, should they interrupt her while she’s busy making sarcastic remarks. Well, that might not lighten up the mood after all, but you get the point.

This is an intense action-RPG with a fast-paced combat, bordering on gruesome yet hilarious: the worldbuilding creates a dark and foreboding setting while the dialogue is light. There are tons of Easter eggs and pop-cultural references making fun even of the game’s own genre tropes, but never in a way that it undermines the arc of the story and the characters.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

You’ll explore the dangers of the wilderness and the city while fighting numerous monsters inspired by classic and modern weird fiction, a blend of Steampunk, Gothic and Noir. You’ll be collecting better and better equipment, managing your hideout, and you must eventually confront the (Probably) Most Esteemed Mad Scientist of the Borgovian Royal Society, Professor Fulmigati himself – all this you can do alone or playing with your friends!

Ever since its conception it has been our dream to make this game a multiplatform title, and what a long journey it was for a small studio like us! We at NeocoreGames are absolutely in love with Sony’s consoles, so we made sure the game makes use of the Dualshock 4 unique features and it’s optimized for PS Vita Remote Play, has a fair Trophy set and offers improvements for the PlayStation 4 Pro as well.

We decided to release the game here with its Extended Edition that includes all DLCs, so PlayStation 4 players will be able to play as all three characters immediately! This is the definitive version of the game, so if you’re a newcomer, this is a nice way to start the series. A series? Yes, this is just the beginning – we’re planning to release the whole trilogy on the PS4 in the future!

So, until next week, prepare yourself for the hunt!

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Guerrilla Games welcomes you to Aloy’s world in Horizon Zero Dawn’s stunning launch trailer http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/uM47psRbF38/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/02/24/guerrilla-games-welcomes-you-to-aloys-world-in-horizon-zero-dawns-stunning-launch-trailer/#comments Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:05:10 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240383 It is my pleasure to be able to share the launch trailer for Guerrilla‘s new title, Horizon Zero Dawn. This is easily our most ambitious project that we have taken on. When we began our journey five years ago, we wanted to have the creative freedom to imagine something fresh. As soon as we saw […]

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It is my pleasure to be able to share the launch trailer for Guerrilla‘s new title, Horizon Zero Dawn. This is easily our most ambitious project that we have taken on.

When we began our journey five years ago, we wanted to have the creative freedom to imagine something fresh. As soon as we saw the enthusiasm from the team for the concept, and our lead Aloy, we knew we were on the right path.

The result of our voyage is Horizon Zero Dawn – a game set in a lush post-apocalyptic world, in which Machines are the dominant species and mankind is propelled back to the stone ages. It is a game of exploration, not just of the perilous new world but also of Aloy’s identity.

On behalf of the entire team at Guerrilla, I hope you’ll enjoy accompanying Aloy on her journey as much as we have enjoyed creating it for you.

Horizon Zero Dawn is now available for pre-order from the PlayStation Store, so make sure you pre-order your copy today!

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Enjoy a beautifully brutal cyberpunk tale in upcoming PS4 action shooter Ruiner http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/7c-X5QqBmsI/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/02/23/enjoy-a-beautifully-brutal-cyberpunk-tale-in-upcoming-ps4-action-shooter-ruiner/#comments Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:00:56 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240341 You’ve all been asking for it: Ruiner is coming to PS4 this summer. Set in 2091, Ruiner will drag you through the darkest, shadiest, deadliest corners of the rapidly growing, brilliant metropolis of Rengkok City. From the shiny corridors of Heaven’s corporate interiors, through the city’s lowest districts — even into the underground imagination farms. […]

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You’ve all been asking for it: Ruiner is coming to PS4 this summer. Set in 2091, Ruiner will drag you through the darkest, shadiest, deadliest corners of the rapidly growing, brilliant metropolis of Rengkok City. From the shiny corridors of Heaven’s corporate interiors, through the city’s lowest districts — even into the underground imagination farms.

Ruiner

Your brother is there, somewhere, waiting for you to save him.

It won’t be easy. Those who took him know you’re coming. Their hideouts are armed with mines, traps, and sentry guns, and they’re protected by armies of specialized guards and deadly assassins — some human, some machine, some in between. To tear through all that, you’ll need loads of weapons and gadgets. And some skill.

Ruiner

Let’s start with melee. You can stick to your good old pipe, but if you want something more fancy, go for nano katana or electric sword, or one of the heavy, two-handed super-swords. The two modes of fencing have their own advantages and special attacks. The first, light one lets you stun enemies for a second, a lot of time to finish them. The heavy melee whirlwind AOE attack is not only spectacular but deals massive amounts of damage, too!

Then there are more than 20 guns to choose from. Starting with conventional pieces like pistols, SMGs, shotguns, and plasma rifles, all the way up to hi-tech armaments like the singularity gun, orbital cannon, sonic shotgun, lightning cannon, subzero gun, rail gun, and more. Just wait for the enemies to drop them and try for yourself. Some come with bullets that pierce through multiple enemies, stun them, set them ablaze, disintegrate them, or bounce off walls making the whole battlefield look like an insane dance-floor.

Combine that with the lot of the unlockable gadgets and cyber implants and you can see the multitude options for bringing your vengeance to the doorstep of those who did you wrong.

Ruiner

Dash and shield are your best friends. The mix of their offensive and defensive abilities make you one deadly ball of fury. As with any other gadget you obtain later in the game, you can upgrade and develop them, too. With Multidash you can plan out and execute your dash sequence in self-defense or as an offensive move, to chase down your enemies and take their weapons.

Upgraded shields will deflect projectiles, making you an impenetrable, deadly reflector.

Kinetic barriers let you control the battlefield, dividing the space around you, separating you from and slowing down foes and their bullets so you can pick them apart, one by one. Activating the Slow Motion mode, you can almost freeze the scene in time and calculate your options. Overclock mode lets you dive straight into the fire of close combat, making you almost invincible, while Switch Gun gives you more space: why not make your enemies work for you while you think of your next move from a distance. Did I mention grenades? You have those, too.

Ruiner

Each gadget, including your melee weapon, can be upgraded in a number of ways to support and expand developing your play style.

Luckily, you’re not in this alone. You have me, Puppy. Go get them!

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Hands-on gameplay impressions of Mass Effect Andromeda http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/yXs7HHXyiQA/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/02/23/hands-on-gameplay-impressions-of-mass-effect-andromeda/#comments Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:00:27 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240329 Bioware’s shaking things up for Mass Effect: Andromeda, the first PS4 installment in its spacefaring action-RPG series. The game’s setup represents a clean break from the original Mass Effect trilogy, taking place 600 years later in another galaxy as a crew of explorers searches for humanity’s new home. Despite the shift in time and place, […]

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Bioware’s shaking things up for Mass Effect: Andromeda, the first PS4 installment in its spacefaring action-RPG series. The game’s setup represents a clean break from the original Mass Effect trilogy, taking place 600 years later in another galaxy as a crew of explorers searches for humanity’s new home.

Despite the shift in time and place, Mass Effect: Andromeda retains all the signature elements that propelled the series to fame. You’ll assemble an all-star team of adventurers; explore exotic locations both beautiful and hostile; pore over rich, detailed fiction; engage in thought-provoking conversation with an ensemble cast of colourful characters.

So what’s new, then? Much to my delight, I found Andromeda’s action to be faster and far more ferocious, with tighter gunplay and more responsive handling. Two new maneuvers — a boost jump (X) and an evasive dash (Circle) — lend a more kinetic feel and allowed me to quickly reposition mid-battle or move in for the kill as the situation dictated. Based on what I played in the first four hours of the game, I’m betting that this combat overhaul will greatly expand the game’s appeal.

Andromeda’s biotics also benefit from a more muscular approach. As series veterans will recall, biotics are superhuman powers that can drag enemies out of cover, unleash energy blasts, and so forth. Bioware has reworked how all the various powers and abilities interact with each other, creating a reworked “combo” system that proved to be one of my favorite additions to Andromeda’s gameplay.

Most offensive abilities are considered either “primers” or “detonators,” and Andromeda’s UI includes a handy graphical icon to help you tell the difference. Deploying a primer skill, then landing a follow-up detonator attack will trigger a combo and inflict more damage on your target.

Mass Effect Andromeda

That means you can grab an enemy with Lift (primer) and follow up with Concussive Shot (detonator) for a huge damage boost. Other interactions can unleash more exotic effects; detonating a Cryo Beam attack can trigger an icy nova effect that chills nearby enemies. Better still, combos can be primed or detonated by either you or your AI squadmates. There’s plenty of room for improvisation!

Some of the new abilities caught my eye, too. On the Biotics side, Lance fires a precise energy shaft that can inflict huge damage on enemy weak points and detonate combos, while Backlash can reflect some incoming attacks if properly timed. New Tech skills include a Flamethrower that can set enemies ablaze, and an Invasion ability that weakens enemies with a swarm of small robots. For Combat skills, the Flak Cannon and Tripmines add an extra offensive punch.

On a related note, Andromeda abandons formal character classes, instead adopting flexible skill “profiles” that empower players to adapt to individual challenges. Given the tighter action and new primer/detonator combos, this seems like a smart move to me.

I noticed a host of subtle gameplay refinements as well. Taking cover is now a smoother, contextual process that doesn’t require a button press. Healing and resupplies seemed to be handled by grabbing pickups located in the environments, versus fiddling in a menu to find that Medi-Gel.

Outside of combat, my experiences with Andromeda demonstrated plenty of promise. With Commander Shepard out of the picture, newcomers Scott and Sarah Ryder make for capable protagonists. A species of brutish tyrants called the Kett appear to serve as the core antagonists, with much of the conflict revolving around an ancient alien relic called the Remnant.

Later in the demo, I took control of the Tempest, Andromeda’s answer to the Normandy, and spent a few minutes bonding with its crew. My highlight was Jaal, a soulful alien with a mysterious past touched by the Kett. I’m betting he’ll quickly become a fan favorite.

True to Mass Effect form, the conversations were freewheeling, philosophical, and deeply fascinating. It’s worth noting that Andromeda replaces the Paragon and Renegade conversation options from prior games with new conversational “tones” — emotional, logical, and so on — that can influence the direction of conversation.

Mass Effect Andromeda

After my chat, I landed on a new planet and explored the Kadara Market, a seedy hive of villainy populated by spies and scoundrels. Then I hopped into an armored Nomad to explore the bleak surface of Kadara, carefully avoiding acid lakes and aggressive, raptor-like creatures.

These Nomad expeditions evoked the best parts of the Mako sequences from the original Mass Effect, but offered up far more environmental variety and interesting emergent combat encounters. At one point, I spotted a skirmish at a small outpost in the distance. I pulled up, jumped out, and helped some local fighters finish off a squad of Outcast Raiders. These scenarios aren’t quite open world, but they feel big, exciting, and brimming with possibility.

On a related note, exploration-minded players will love scanning objects in the environment, a new addition that’s used to solve puzzles, unlock new lore in the Codex, and earn research points for equipment upgrades.

For those wondering how much Andromeda will build on the story of the original Mass Effect trilogy, the answer appears to be: not so much. Since Andromeda is a major departure from the original trilogy, don’t expect to bump into Shepard or the Reapers. A Bioware rep did tell me, however, that eagle-eyed players may uncover a few narrative morsels that relate to that story. You won’t be importing past save files to carry on any narrative choices, either, as it doesn’t fit with the new protagonist and setting.

Mass Effect Andromeda

We also got a peek at the pre-release version of Andromeda running on PS4 Pro, where it will support higher resolutions as well as HDR features. The results were impressive — we’ll have more details to share there soon as we prepare for the game’s launch on 21st March.

Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!

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The Ghost Recon Wildlands open beta starts today: here’s everything you need to know http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SCEEBlog/~3/UXKsmCWWcPk/ https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2017/02/23/the-ghost-recon-wildlands-open-beta-starts-today-heres-everything-you-need-to-know/#comments Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:30:56 +0000 http://blog.eu.playstation.com/?p=240319 Ghost Recon Wildlands gives you the chance to explore a truly massive open world with a team of elite operatives, dismantling the operations of the Santa Blanca drug cartel however you see fit. And starting today, 23rd February, you’ll be able to get a sense for just how big Wildlands is as the open beta […]

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Ghost Recon Wildlands gives you the chance to explore a truly massive open world with a team of elite operatives, dismantling the operations of the Santa Blanca drug cartel however you see fit.

And starting today, 23rd February, you’ll be able to get a sense for just how big Wildlands is as the open beta gives all PS4 players a free taste of what’s in store. Running through 27th February, the open beta will set you loose in two Bolivian provinces, Itacua and Montuyoc, where you’ll be tasked with finding and neutralizing high-ranking Santa Blanca operatives.

Closed beta recap

If you were selected to play the closed beta for Ghost Recon Wildlands in early February, you already recognize Itacua as the place where you established ties with the Kataris 26 rebels, traded shots with corrupt Unidad troops, and hunted down La Yuri and El Polito, two lovers who’d turned their medical expertise to interrogation and torture. And there’s plenty more where they came from; the open beta is a hugely expanded experience, with enough total content to fuel around eight hours of gameplay.

What’s new in the open beta?

Ghost Recon Wildlands

Montuyoc is a mountainous province that includes the popular Bolivian Laguna Colorada. Santa Blanca keeps a huge arsenal and trains its best sicarios in this province, so you can expect a stiffer challenge than you faced in Itacua.

There’s a new Santa Blanca warlord to chase, and to find him, you’ll need to raid Santa Blanca encampments and strongholds to destroy their weaponry, kill their elite instructors, and interrogate cartel officers across five new story missions (in addition to the six already available in Itacua). And if you want to learn more about your target and the Santa Blanca, you’ll be able to find 12 new Kingslayer Files filled with fascinating dirt on your enemies.

As before, you’ll be able to tackle these any way you see fit, customising your Ghost and their loadout to suit your tactics. If stealth is your thing, you can wait until nightfall and sneak to your objectives, using night vision and silenced weapons to avoid full-blown firefights. You can coordinate with other players to line up synchronized sniper shots, skydive straight to your objectives from a helicopter, or smash through enemy fortifications with powerful military vehicles. Or you can go in, issuing orders and picking off cartel guards at your own pace.

Ghost Recon Wildlands

The open beta also adds a fistful of new side missions, including new rebel operations and supply raids, and you can further break from the beaten path to track down new intel drops and earn new weapons, accessories, and skill points for beefing up your Ghost. If you’re truly adventurous, you’ll also be able to tackle the open beta at the hardest difficulty, testing your squad’s mettle against Santa Blanca’s best or seeing how long you can survive solo.

The open beta will be free to all PS4 players (although you’ll need a PS Plus membership to play co-op) and will run from today through 27th February. And if it leaves you hungry for more, you won’t have long to wait as Ghost Recon Wildlands launches on 7th March.

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