While a bunch of the hype surrounding the Destiny beta is how great developer Bungie’s latest shooter looks running on the PlayStation 4, gamers on last-gen hardware have been playing through the weekend too. Based on the video that Digital Foundry put together (embedded below), the PlayStation 3 version expectedly doesn’t stack up next to its current-gen counterpart, but it doesn’t look terrible, either. If I were to describe it in one word, it’d be “softer.” The tech-centric outlet notes that while the levels themselves remain the same the overall shape and size, set dressing like foliage and rocks are less dense (and in some cases, completely missing), and lighting is less complex as well. Most impactful, possibly, is the PS3 game’s native resolution. While the PS4 version runs at a native 1920×1080, or 1080p, Destiny on Sony’s previous console is running at 1024×624 (sub-720p) — roughly 30 percent the total pixel count of its current-gen cousin.
The biggest victim? Shadow detail, as evidenced in this thread on NeoGAF. The amount of enemies onscreen, however, apparently doesn’t drop so there should be parity between the two versions in terms of how the game actually plays.
Considering that the PS3 is almost eight years old at this point, however, it’s kind of a miracle that it’s even capable of playing something like Destiny to begin with. And given that there are likely well over 80 million PS3s in the wild at this point and, as of April, only seven million PS4s, it makes sense for developers to continue supporting previous hardware. Take this April’s Watch Dogs and next year’s Mortal Kombat X, for example.
What about you: is Destiny the game you’re upgrading to a new console for (maybe even a white PS4), or hasn’t anything on Sony’s latest or the Xbox One caught your eye yet? The beta is down for maintenance now anyway, so you should have plenty of time to leave us a note!
Welcome, ladygeeks and gentlenerds, to the new era of gaming. The one where you get to watch, and comment, as other people livestream gameplay from next-gen consoles. Because games! They’re fun!
When the folks behind Halo, Bungie Studios, offered a taste of their next big franchise earlier this year, we jumped in to show it off. And now that Destiny‘s beta is open on PlayStation 4, we’re back to jump in once more and explore the upcoming blockbuster a final time before its official launch on September 9th. Rather than employ wildly expensive dark magic to show Destiny, we’re using the delightfully free Twitch service. Join us right here at 12PM ET (or thereabouts — technical issues do sometimes occur) for an hour-long exploration of Bungie’s next big game, Destiny.
Look, we’re not gonna tell you how to spend your hard-earned money. If you want to spend two actual dollars enabling your Killzone: Shadow Fall character to fart — yes, that kind of fart — and “plank” (this) on PlayStation 4, go for it. But allow us this moment of plea: please don’t. Here’s the description of what your $2 gets you:
“It’s all fun and games until someone loses a game. (Or so they say). Show your fallen enemies, not everything need [sic] be taken seriously. This pack contains Fart, Planking and Comedy spotlight moves.”
One part of us wants to know what “Comedy spotlight moves” could possibly be given that the highly comedic farting and planking verbs have already been used.
We’re not gonna make the guilt plea (“there are children starving all over the world”), and we’re not gonna appeal to your financial sense (it’s just two bucks, right?). Your common sense, however, is fair game. The long and short is this: forking over any cash for this kind of junk DLC sends the wrong message to both the game’s developer (Guerrilla Games) and its publisher (Sony). We’re not saying it isn’t funny — it very well may be! — but we are saying you shouldn’t have to pay for it. It is indeed optional, yes, which is exactly why we suggest you optionally choose to skip this. Vote with your dollars, y’all! Or end up like the angry lady above.
[Image credit: Shutterstock]
Source: PlayStation Network
Excited to play the Destiny on PlayStation Network? You’re not the only one, and demand as the game’s beta opened its doors today seems to have the service stumbling. A message on the PlayStation Knowledge Center says PSN access is “Intermittently available” so if it’s working, great but don’t be surprised if you notice some odd behavior. Xbox fans shouldn’t be too quick to point fingers though, since besides waiting another week to try out an early version of Bungie’s next big game you may also experience issues with Xbox Live. The Xbox Live Dashboard points out problems for some users signing in or accessing the Video and Music services, but says there is a team working on it and promises another updated within the half hour. Since Nintendo Network appears to be running just fine, we can only assume which culprit is behind this.
Update: The PlayStation Network status has been upgraded to “online” so go forth and beta test freely.
Having Xbox Live connectivity issues on the Xbox One? The proper teams are on it! More updates being posted here: http://t.co/99xfLNeme4 ^AC
- Xbox Support (1-5) (@XboxSupport) July 17, 2014
If you are having issues connecting to PSN, please try again later. Thanks for your patience as we look into it.
- Ask PlayStation (@AskPlayStation) July 17, 2014
It looks like Sony still has bragging rights that the PlayStation 4 is the top-selling console. Not to be outdone by the latest NPD report, the PlayStation Twitter account announced that the Sony’s new console is still outselling the Xbox One, for the sixth month in a row. Yesterday, Microsoft said that following the Xbox One’s $100 price drop it’d seen a “strong spike in interest” and sales of the console jumped by “more than double” the previous month. It’s worth noting however, that Redmond didn’t release specific sales numbers for May and, to be fair, neither did Sony. The latest report from the NPD Group plays it a bit vague, too, but says that combined sales of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were higher than combined totals for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. What’s more, compared to last June, hardware sales saw a 106 percent increase overall. Sales of home consoles combined represented a 200 percent jump compared to last year, which is likely due to the two new consoles being available.
In terms of software, the reason most people buy new consoles in the first place, six of the same games from last month’s top ten remain the same. including Mario Kart 8, Wolfenstein: The New Order and Watch Dogs. However, overall software sales for June dipped some 67 percent compared to last year, which the NPD group attributes to last June’s launches of The Last of Us on PS3, Animal Crossing: New Leaf on Nintendo’s 3DS handheld and the disc-based version of Minecraft for the Xbox 360. It seems like the summer drought is a bit drier this year than last, but hey, at least we’ve got the Destiny beta now, right?
Breaking news: PS4 is #1 top-selling US next-gen console in June, 6th month in a row. Thanks for your support! <3 pic.twitter.com/r5bTKg4wYf
- PlayStation (@PlayStation) July 17, 2014
Ok, #NPD time: Hardware sales still jumping (up 106% to $292.7M) while game sales fall again (down 5% to $298.2M). Accessories were up 1%
- Ian Sherr (@iansherr) July 17, 2014
Although the PlayStation 4 is a fine gaming console, it has a definite Achilles’ heel — the very, very short battery life of the bundled DualShock 4 controller. It’s a good thing, then, that Nyko has at last shipped the PowerPak add-on that it promised back in January. Shelling out $20 gives you a 1,000mAh lithium-ion battery that roughly doubles the longevity of Sony’s official gamepad. That’s not saying much when the DualShock normally gets just a few hours of play time per charge, but the extra capacity should be good enough to handle a marathon Destiny session.
Source: Nyko (TriplePoint)
Sky has begun to inform Xbox 360 owners who watch TV on their console via the Sky Go app that come the end of July, they’ll need to start paying for the privilege. Sky Go is free to anyone with a subscription to the satellite TV service, and allows you to use your smartphone, tablet, computer or console (for the next month, anyway) to watch TV when you’re out of set-top box range. Sky Go Extra is a paid version that also lets you download content for offline viewing, as well as upping the number of devices you can use to four instead of two. It’s this Extra tier that Xbox 360 users will need to pony up £5 per month for (after an introductory price of half that) if they wish to continue using Sky Go on their console after July 29th. This only affects the 360 currently, and ironically it comes just after Microsoft cut the requirement for a paid Xbox Live Gold account to use video streaming apps. With Sky Go coming to the PS3 and PS4 later this summer, however, it feels very much like Sky is making a calculated move to turn a free service into a paid one just before a bunch more people get access.
[Image credit: Alfred Hermida/Flickr]
Via: Digital Spy
Source: Sky Community forum
Sure, Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft all have their own internally-developed games but there’s so much more to E3 than what The Big Three show off for their respective platforms. Even better, almost every game from the likes of Activision and Electronic Arts will appear on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One so there’s almost no need to choose which platform to buy if you want to play a specific title, either. Let’s get down to business, shall we?
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT
Polish developer CD Projekt Red does one thing and one thing only: role-playing games. This year was The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s second E3 and it still faces the same problems that it did in 2013. Namely, the game looks like a ton of fun when it’s condensed to short snippets onstage at Microsoft’s media briefing, but otherwise what makes the game special like story-affecting choices and scouring the map’s nooks and crannies just doesn’t demo well. I saw an uninterrupted 45 minutes of game-play during a private demo and witnessed monster-hunter-for-hire Geralt exterminate harpies, undead swamp people, werewolves and demonic tree roots (seriously), and while that was cool, he was mostly an errand boy in between battles. To me, this robbed him of any narrative weight or importance.
Tracking a gigantic, bleeding griffin through the forest using supernatural forensics, however, and then delivering a killing blow and carrying its head into town on the side of your horse looks unbelievably bad-ass. You’ll be able to check the game out for yourself come next February 24th.
METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN
“Let the legend come back to life.” At some point in the extended gameplay demo for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, those words are uttered in Big Boss’ direction… and then a horse shits. That’s just a partial taste of how Hideo Kojima has colored this new, open world of MGS.
MGS V: The Phantom Pain picks up nine years after Big Boss has fallen into a coma and shows the character severely scarred and brandishing a curious bit of horn-shaped shrapnel sticking out of his head. The gameplay doesn’t vary from the series’ typical blend of action and stealth, but thanks to Kojima’s Fox Engine, the environments (said to be roughly “200x the size of Ground Zeroes“) and character models are much more detailed. In fact, Konami reps said that a key game dynamic — the ability to fast forward time with a Phantom Cigar (e-cig) — is entirely possible because of this new engine. The resulting effect is not unlike that of hi-speed cinematography, where a static landscape is shown passing from day into night and back again. MGS V also throws in an entirely new element for long-time fans: the ability to visit a dynamically expanding Mother Base populated with all the characters, materials and artillery you’ve Fulton’d back. And yes, that even includes livestock.
I’ve gone on record saying that I was very much disinterested in Destiny, but that was until I actually got to play developer Bungie’s latest. Going hands-on with the former Halo studio’s game felt like a welcome trip home; damn near everything about the game just feels right for me as a Halo fan. Gunplay is tight and strikes a solid balance between the heft of a Killzone or Battlefield versus Titanfall‘s or, say, Call of Duty‘s feather-light locomotion. The environments I’ve seen are gorgeous, feeling lived-in and appropriately desolate and even in the early state I’ve played, the game feels incredibly polished.
Everywhere I turned, it seemed like I was seeing an idea that Bungie had wanted to put in its next game for the past 10 or so years. Whether the studio couldn’t due to hardware limitations or because its next game was always Halo-related, though, isn’t clear. Things like summoning vehicles on-demand to help get across the game’s vast expanses of geography, for instance are more than welcome. Or, even better, the way voice-chat audio subtly reflects your current environment (in a metallic tunnel, it sounded like my co-op buddy’s voice was echoing off the steel walls) was super neat. Tricks like this make me keep wanting to go back. I’m just worried that I’m not the only one who initially wrote it off as Just Another Shooter.
It’s surreal to play a first-person shooter that’s based in the same city I’m currently visiting. In Battlefield: Hardline, I played cops-and-robbers on the battle-scarred streets of downtown Los Angeles. Since it was a war zone, no civilians were around to get in the way. I was one of the robbers wandering around parking structures, stairwells, hotels and office buildings, searching for loot and evading law enforcement with the rest of my team. Saying that the round was chaotic would be a gross understatement; cars and helicopters alike flew around corners, and thanks to the tech running the game, rubble, shrapnel and destroyed buildings were everywhere. If being a bad guy isn’t your style, you can also play as a cop that’s trying to prevent the opposition from snatching the booty.
While the game’s extreme levels of action are pretty awesome, this is a Battlefield game by name only. Seemingly, the sole aspect that ties the title to its namesake are the tools developer Visceral Games used to make the game and what you use to wreak havoc on the ground. Hardline is essentially a re-skinned Battlefield 4: cops kill the robbers, and robbers, well, they kill cops. Each side is essentially the same, despite their respective vocations, and are soldiers fighting a virtual war. And you’d be justified to remain cautious about whether the game will work as advertised at launch based on series history. There’s a beta test happening right now, well ahead of the fall release, should you be (morbidly) curious about how the game plays.
Let me get this out of the way up front: Alien: Isolation is difficult. The developers at Creative Assembly not only nailed the atmosphere of director Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece, but they ensured that I respected just how fragile life in deep space is when the hulking monstrosity pictured above is out to murder you every chance it gets. My demo tasked me with few objectives, but most related directly to me making it toward the next area in one piece. That didn’t happen. However, with each successive go at it, I made considerably more progress toward my goal. On my first attempt, I tried sprinting down a desolate corridor with the intent to make it through the doors I imagined were at the other side. No dice; the xenomorph noticed me before I even knew it was there and the next thing I knew, its double mouth punched another hole in my face.
The next attempt I made it a little further, grabbing a flame-thrower before I exited the first room and figuring out how to use my motion tracker — the latter of which caused me to fail an optional objective. When I rounded the first corner and the alien spotted me, I darted back and jumped into a storage locker, figuring I’d be safe. Nope. The alien ripped me from my haven and murdered me. On my third try, I noticed a series of air vents big enough to crawl through. Huddling down, I crouched and made my way into the first one that I’d spotted. Hooray! Progress! That was short-lived. I got cocky and thought that I could traverse to the next one without paying attention to where the xeno was. I’d heard the thundering footsteps behind me but figured I’d be safe as the vent closed behind me. Not so much: the alien reached through and ripped me out of there, making my face a see-through in the process. I loved it.
You’re a fan of the tough-as-nails Dark Souls series, yeah? Then you’ll likely feel right at home in its mastermind’s latest, the PlayStation 4 exclusive Bloodborne. Atmosphere and mood aren’t the only things the game is dripping with. As the title implies, there’s also a lot of blood. Buckets of it. Set in a 19th century gothic city, your task is to eliminate the blight plaguing it by any means necessary, be it with a giant straight razor or a hand cannon, and well, trying to not die too much in the process. As combat proceeds, the player character becomes covered in progressively more blood, and it never faded away during my hands-off demo. Getting a sense for how difficult the game is wasn’t particularly easy since the presentation had an invincibility mode turned on (staring at loading screens and repeatedly falling at the hands of nightmare creatures and undead townspeople isn’t exactly exciting), but I was assured that the game doesn’t stray far form its roots in terms of just how hard it is. This supposedly makes each victory that much more satisfying. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.
HOMEFRONT: THE REVOLUTION
What would America feel like under North Korean occupation? That’s the question Homefront: The Revolution wants to answer. You might remember Homefront from a few years back as a hokey, underwhelming shooter from the now-defunct publisher THQ. From what I saw during a presentation, new developer Crytek London took what was good about that game (the concept of an invaded United States), married it with a sense of dread and hopelessness, and added a dash of fancy graphics. The brief demo I caught followed a citizen making his way through the streets of an open-world Philadelphia, passing brothers and sisters in arms who were figuring out how to ration off enough necessities to survive planning an uprising. The sequence reminded me an awful lot of the intro to Half-life 2, Metro 2033 and Resistance 3; the sense of despondency was palpable, thanks in large part to solid voice acting and environmental design. Once the combat started toward the end, Crytek’s other strength showed through: gunplay and weapon design, with the latter sporting an upgrade system with part-by-part modifications akin to the Crysis series. We’re still a year or more off from this game releasing, but it already looks and feels killer.
MORTAL KOMBAT X
I’ve got bad news for you: I don’t play fighting games. The last Mortal Kombat game I played with any sincerity was for PlayStation 2/Xbox, and even then I wasn’t that good at it. So what can I tell you about Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat fan? This game focuses on a gaggle of new characters — somewhat expected given the fatality-laden ending of the last MK game — and Netherrealm Studios had three such new characters available to play at E3 2014. We got a look at all three, as well as returning favorites Scorpion and Sub-zero.
Here’s the good news: Mortal Kombat is still hella fun. Even with my vast ignorance of fighting games, it was a blast leaping around in that world once more, trying my best to avoid Cassie Cage’s utterly revolting “X-ray” move. Like the last MK, “X-ray moves” are back in Mortal Kombat X; one such move has Cassie pulling an homage to her father’s iconic split attack. Not clear enough? She does a split and punches her opponent in the genitals, which I watched explode in X-ray mode. It was the only demo at E3 where I turned to the demo assistant and said, “Really?” Even he, a Netherrealm Studios employee, was a bit bashful about it. Anyway, the other new characters I tried were neat as well, with Ferra/Torr standing out as a highlight (dude throws a person at you to attack — pretty serious!). The game is way early at this point, but it looks to be shaping up really well already.
Ben Gilbert, Brad Molen and Joseph Volpe contributed to this report
[Image credit: AFP/Getty Images]
One of the roadblocks to really enjoying an all-digital game collection is that it’s a lot faster to drive to the store and buy a new PlayStation 4 release at midnight than it is to snag it off of the PSN Store. Sony’s been prepping a fix for this for awhile now, but we thought it wouldn’t be starting until this fall. That changes today, with a post on the PlayStation Blog stating that any purchases made on or after May 20th this year will take advantage of the games automatically downloading and installing in advance, and the first big title to do so is next week’s Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark. Next up after that is the DLC pack for Infamous: Second Son, dubbed First Light, and then holiday season heavy hitters like LittleBigPlanet 3 and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Curiously missing, however, is the remastered version of The Last of Us due out next month. This feature is coming to digital preorders made on the PS3 too, in case you haven’t upgraded just yet, too. Pretty handy, right?
Source: PlayStation Blog
Ever heard of Joe Danger? That’s okay, you’re not alone — most folks haven’t heard of the motocross-based platformer, despite it receiving glowing praise from critics and earning healthy sales from gamers. That said, if you followed last week’s annual game industry trade show, E3, you’ve likely heard of No Man’s Sky. The same small team of scrappy Brits that created the cartoony Danger series, Hello Games, is applying its years of game industry experience to a much more ambitious project in No Man’s Sky. This is how Hello Games lead Sean Murray described the game at Sony’s E3 2014 press conference:
“We’ve created a procedural universe. It’s infinite, and it’s one that everyone can share. We’re gonna start every player on a different planet so no two people will have the same experience. This universe we’ve created…it’s so vast, it’s so boundless, it’s actually infinite, and we don’t even know what’s out there.”
So, how in the world did a team of four game developers transition from indie hit makers to triple-A rogues? We asked Hello Games just that, late last week in an evening demo session for No Man’s Sky.
” I couldn’t picture myself turning around and working on a game that’s the same scale of Joe Danger.”
The last time I saw Sean Murray and David Ream, they weren’t quite so serious. The previous games from their 10-person studio, Hello Games, are great in their own way, but not anywhere near the scope or scale of No Man’s Sky. Not by a long shot. Let’s run a quick comparison, just so you’re clear. Here’s Joe Danger for PlayStation 3:
Here’s No Man’s Sky for PlayStation 4:
Pretty major difference, no? Murray says it was an intentional move to go bigger, but not their only intention. “We were really pleased with the success and stuff, but our ambitions were much bigger, I think. I couldn’t picture myself turning around and working on a game that’s the same scale of Joe Danger,” Murray says.
Beyond that, Murray and co. wanted to break out of the game-development formula. They were tired of beginning development by asking, “What type of game are we making?” and going from there. “You start to have conversations like, ‘We’ll make a platformer next! We’ll make a point-and-click adventure,’ or something like that. And you’re not pushing yourself as a developer. We wanted to try and do something really landmark,” Murray says.
Sound arrogant? That’s a measure of text not conveying tone. Every time Murray made a statement like that during our half-hour meeting, he’d couch it with a statement like, “But we didn’t talk about it [in] that kind of arrogant way or cocky way,” abashedly looking away. Even in his statements above, he can’t help but add caveats like, “I think,” as he goes (I’ve cut out most, for your sake). This is a man with grand ambitions and, thankfully, a sense of self-awareness.
I begin our piece on No Man’s Sky with this profile of Murray and co. for good reason: There’s pedigree, heart and passion backing up the seemingly too grand plans for the space-exploration game. It’s important to understand not just the background of the team in terms of resume — Criterion, Kuju, Sumo Digital — but also the people that make it up. These are the kind of guys who appear on a podcast late at night after a long day of showing their game on a loud conventional hall show floor. It’s for all these reasons I have tremendous faith in their ability to pull off No Man’s Sky as they describe it.
“Can I see myself doing this on that indie circuit? Going to PAX every year and killing myself on something that long-term isn’t … am I gonna look back on it? Will they all blur into one?”
Hello Games is an indie studio. There are 10 staffers. Four of them went dark internally to concept No Man’s Sky (including Murray and Ream), and even now, the four-person team that initially created the project works closely together. They’re not scaling up for No Man’s Sky, either; the game was built around the concept of a small team creating a massive project. It’s procedurally generated and it’s made of voxels. But what does that mean?
For one, it means that the usual army of artists required to create the artwork of a massive game aren’t required. Murray explains: “Our artist, just like on any normal game, builds something like this: a tree. And he would have to build dozens, or maybe a hundred of these, to create a forest. And then if you had another forest with a different type, then you have to build a different type of tree. Another several dozen.”
All of those trees take time and money! While third-party solutions like SpeedTree exist (which creates a whole bunch of virtual trees), small teams aren’t exactly flush with cash for extra software. So, instead of the standard operating procedure for game development, Hello Games built a system to create all that time-intensive stuff — known as “assets” — for them. Even better, that system creates on the fly, based on a variety of parameters, meaning no two planets/creatures/ships/trees are exactly the same. The system solves two problems at once: producing all the assets of the game (music included) and making the game infinitely explorable.
If no two planets are the same, then the world is infinite — there’s no reason to stop exploring, which is exactly what Murray wants. There aren’t defined goals or conflict in the game just yet, nor a quest log or some form of points/scoring. He’s only vaguely hinted at the gameplay of No Man’s Sky beyond exploration; your ship has a weapon to fire, and the dinosaur-like creatures in the E3 demo could absolutely stamp you out with a single step. There are resources to gather, and Murray sent out a pulse to scan for said resources in the demo we were shown. What you’ll do with those resources is another question; there are many, many questions about the game of No Man’s Sky, though we’ve got a pretty clear picture of what its world will be.
“If you play it, I want you to play it not because you’re interested in indie games. I want you to play it because you prefer it to Call of Duty, not because it’s more ‘legitimate’ or ‘credible’ or something like that, but because it’s more entertaining.”
No one I spoke to at E3 2014 said, “No Man’s Sky looks pretty great for an indie game.” They all just said, “That game looks crazy!” This is an important distinction, and one that Hello Games says it’s glad to hear. This was also intentional. “That’s really meaningful to me,” Murray says. “I wanted to make games, and have spent a long time being ‘the indie dev.’”
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. Indie devs make great games, and even some of the world’s most popular. Minecraft was created by a single man. Rovio was a small studio when it stumbled on a hit with Angry Birds. Hell, Oculus VR mostly exists from Palmer Luckey tooling around in his spare time.
But there’s still a separation. The three aforementioned indies all broke out of that world into the mainstream, and Murray’s aiming to repeat that success for Hello Games. It’s not the only goal, of course, but it is a concern to Murray personally with No Man’s Sky. “We don’t actually want the story to be, ‘Oh they made it with a handful of people,’ or whatever. We just want it to be good.”
The good news for Murray and co. is that all of us — the folks who play games — also “just want it to be good.” With an unannounced release date and only PC and PlayStation 4 platforms named thus far, Hello has the flexibility with expectations to impress us all. Now all they have to do is do it.