The launch of Ultra Street Fighter IV on the PlayStation 4 hasn’t exactly gone as planned, with gamers complaining of input lag, shoddy netcode, glitches, a start screen that refers to a button on the controller that doesn’t exist and other issues. Tonight Sony announced that a patch is “expected to land next week,” but did not provide any other details on exactly what it’s addressing. While some reported the issues waned after the game was fully installed, others still report problems. The PS4 was slotted as the system of choice for the Evo 2015 event in July, but co-founder Joey Cuellar tweeted that the event is “evaluating” what system to use.
Ultra Street Fighter IV update: PS4 patch expected to land next week, we’ll keep you posted on details. Thanks for your patience!
– PlayStation (@PlayStation) May 30, 2015
Acclaimed developer Frictional Games has fully taken the wraps off SOMA, it’s super-hyped new sci-fi horror title. The company, which built it reputation on terrifying first-person games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Penumbra, that focus on atmosphere, exploration and hiding (a lot of hiding). And you can expect more of the same from SOMA apparently. In the first extensive gameplay trailer released an unnamed protagonist wanders around what appears to be an abandoned factory, talking to a robot that thinks its a person, redirecting power through the crumbing facility and generally avoiding a frightening robot that’s not terribly unlike the Big Daddies from the Bio Shock series. We won’t spoil all the fun though. You can watch the full video after the break and pick up the game on September 22nd for PC and PS4.
Filed under: Gaming
“When people think you’re dying, they really, really listen to you instead of just — “
“Instead of just waiting for their turn to speak.”
This scene from Fight Club encapsulates one of the driving ideas behind Pillar, a video game starring a series of characters with disparate personalities and quirks, each given mysterious puzzles to solve. Indie developer Michael Hicks is interested in how people communicate and the unique way every human perceives the world. Pillar distills these broad observations into just a few characters running around a wintry town, searching for a secret artifact. Each character is different, but their goal is the same — it’s a lot like real life. Hicks wants his game to inspire conversations; he isn’t looking to start arguments or incite rants. He’d love for people to truly connect with each other and Pillar might make that happen.
“I hope it encourages players to consider other people in real-life conversations, which we rarely do,” Hicks says. “If someone says something we don’t agree with, the knee-jerk reaction is to argue or superimpose our views. I think the world would be a better place if we tried to understand where other people are coming from and accept them for who they are.”
Pillar has roots in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, a personality test that rates people based on four dichotomies: deductive, inductive, subjective and objective. Hicks ran into the Myers-Briggs test during a psychology class and was struck by the mechanical way it approached personality traits — almost like a game would.
“Originally, I made Pillar to express how it felt to be around a girlfriend I had,” Hicks says. “It’s hard to verbalize, but she was strong at things I was weak at, and I was strong at things she was weak at.” Hicks interviewed her and discovered they had two traits in common and two opposite, just as he intuited. “Pillar isn’t a perfect reconstruction of the test, but all of the main traits are there somehow,” he says.
It started with the test, but Pillar doesn’t stop there. Hicks doesn’t see Myers-Briggs as the silver bullet of personality analysis — “It’s clearly not a science, but that doesn’t mean it has no value,” he says. Overall, Hicks has grander thoughts about relativity, morality and the rejection of subtlety in everyday communication. As he discovered with his girlfriend, opposite traits between two people can equalize both parties, but this often requires people to step outside of themselves, recognize their own shortcomings and accept the faults in others.
It’s hard to have constructive conversations when we just preach and don’t listen to the other person.
“The whole concepts of right and wrong, good and evil — I think those are horrible things to subscribe to because they separate people and cause conflict,” Hicks says. “What I think is ‘right’ is a reflection of my environment and upbringing; everyone thinks they’re right. The game explores the idea that maybe there’s a purpose for both extremes we find in life, even things that are detrimental to us. I’m not saying we should be quiet and not speak our mind, but so many do it in a toxic way. It’s hard to have constructive conversations when we just preach and don’t listen to the other person.”
Pillar launched on PlayStation 4 back in February, but Hicks wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of it. He “flubbed” the marketing, he says. For one, he didn’t receive review codes until a few days after launch. “I should’ve announced the release date a month or so ahead of time to avoid things like this,” he says.
“But I’ve been happy with the number of people playing so far,” Hicks continues. “I have a ways until I’m where I’d like to be but I can’t complain. What’s cool is there’s a steady stream of new people playing even after three months; it’s had a very grassroots way of growing so I’m thankful for that.”
Sony has long been willing to discount certain PlayStation games if you’re a Plus subscriber, but it hasn’t offered the certainty of Xbox Live’s Deals With Gold. You don’t know that you’re going to get a steady stream of bargains, especially not for newer titles. That doubt should disappear after today, though. Sony has launched PlayStation Plus Specials, a sale program that gives you a break on games and add-ons that are still relatively fresh. How fresh? To start, you’re getting 20 percent off Bloodborne in the US — a sweet deal for a big PS4 hack-and-slash that’s only a couple of months old. It’s too soon to tell whether these offers will be as tempting down the line, but it’s also hard to object to getting more savings for your money.
Source: PlayStation Blog
Like any Mad Max fan thrilled by the film Fury Road, I approached Avalanche Studios’ new video game translation hoping to find echoes of the film’s anarchic spirit. And while the full game may deliver — we won’t know until review time — the current demo feels more like a mundane snapshot of Max’s offscreen life in that post-apocalyptic world than an adrenaline shot from Fury Road. Mad Max, due out this fall for PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One, just doesn’t have the same level of enervating detail.
It couldn’t, though! Fury Road is a two-hour movie, while Mad Max is an open-world video game a la Grand Theft Auto that can be played for much longer. Fury Road‘s greatest strength is its specificity and that’s something Avalanche couldn’t possibly match. Every frame, every second of the blockbuster film’s full of fittingly mad detail. Take, for example, sinister despot Immortan Joe and his altars of individually designed steering wheels: each one fitted to a different car; each car fitted to a specific War Boy.
Mad Max is not lacking in the series’ ridiculous car fights.
Both new Mad Max entries sport similarities: The film and game share the same heroes and villains; they share the same physical components of action like crazy battle cars and mean fistfights. But the game requires variety on a scale the movie doesn’t. The movie’s heart is in its individual, spectacular stunts that last only a few minutes, whereas the game needs to give players a huge desert wasteland to explore at leisure, full of specific missions to complete. Otherwise, why would people play it for a dozen or more hours?
In the “Magnum Opus” demo I played at a pre-E3 event, much of the gameplay revolves around scavenging for spare parts and scrap metal to customize Max’s war car. As you drive around the game’s desert and canyons — the looks of which impressively evoke George Miller’s world even if they don’t quite match the fidelity of other WB games like Batman: Arkham Knight and Shadow of Mordor — you find fortresses and hideouts, and get in many fights with other cars and survivors. It’s these battles that reward you with new car parts.
On the road, Mad Max feels as desperate as it should.
Those fights, at the very least, feel pretty awesome. My jalopy, kitted out with some stock parts provided at the beginning of the demo, looked like a bruiser straight out of an Ed Roth Rat Fink trading card. It rumbled as I tore over the flat roads in the sandy wasteland, and when going off-road to outrun attacks from enemy cars, it chugged. On the road, Mad Max feels as desperate as it should; resources are used up quickly and you have to be smart in how you use them. When I had ammo to fight back, I could blast the baddies with explosives or flamethrowers, but my bombs were in short supply and the flames used up precious fuel. I could collect more of both, sure, but only if I could find them on felled enemies or in some rough shanty.
Unlike the lonely wasteland of the movies, Max is always meeting new people in the game.
That driving desperation is profoundly affecting, and it’s something that’s helped Max’s world endure these past few decades. He’s a lone, honorable toughie driven to survive on his own in a dying world! In the game, though, that stoical badassery doesn’t last. One thing that dilutes the Mad Max-ness of your trip is Chumbucket, Max’s scavenger partner who goes everywhere with him in the demo. Chum functions as both comic relief and Mr. Fix It, repairing your car if you need it and endlessly commenting on what’s happening. But by my third random fight against roadsters, I just wanted to abandon him out in the desert so he’d stop with the incessant quips. [I’m trying to have a lone adventure here. Mad Max needs to keep it down to maintain the flow.]
The thrill of the open, and lonely road also fades a bit when Max gets out of his car. When you’re driving around, running away from marauding convoys, it feels like you can do anything as long as your car doesn’t explode. When you get out of it and start throwing punches against Scrotus’ armies (Yes, as in all Max stories, the big, bad evil guy has an absurd name), Max feels slow and trapped in the landscape. Fighting Scrotus involves taking out other smaller warlords in their ramshackle fortresses and weakening his overall power, then stealing their resources to power up yourself and your car. Drive up to a base, wrench off its doors with a harpoon attached to your car and then wander in and just beat up all the War Boys inside.
The thrill of the open, and lonely road also fades a bit when Max gets out of his car.
Speaking of which, the War Boys are about as varied as those in a ’90s arcade game like Final Fight. Some I fought were bald and pasty just like the War Boys in Fury Road, but the ones employed by old Stank Gum (the warlords are at least awesomely named) were purple. Why? Just to differentiate themselves from the other, nearly identical thugs from before. Max beats them up with a combination of heavy punches and “fury” finishing moves. The brawling’s repetitive, but ultimately satisfying, which isn’t surprising as it mimics the flow of the fights in WB’s Batman: Arkham City and Shadow of Mordor identically.
Is it a bad thing that WB seems to have a house style for these games? Not necessarily. Mad Max is especially well-suited to the Arkham City-style open world structure that sends you around collecting stuff and beating people up. Amusing as it can be at times, though, that rote gameplay eventually became numbing during my half-hour demo. When I drove past a wanderer who informed me of the warlord Gut Noose and his weaknesses, I found myself wondering which primary-colored dudes I’d have to beat up next.
There is something satisfying about souping up your own war machine.
In its translation to an open-world video game, Mad Max: Fury Road’s unique charm’s been traded in for monotony. This is, indeed, what it must be like when Max wakes up and just goes about his everyday business. For fans addicted to the steampunk world of Mad Max, this game may be exactly what they want: more time with Max, and an opportunity to tinker with his war car. Who knows? Maybe with some extended playtime, I’ll discover that I’m that guy; that I just want to fill Max’s dusty shoes.
After this demo session, though, I still wanted to live in Max’s world, albeit the one with the stark, propulsive detail of Fury Road and not the game’s cycle of purple people to punch.
[Images credit: WBIE]
Lego has something up its sleeve to lure you away from Skylanders and Disney Infinity: future-proofing its toys-to-life-game, Lego Dimensions. Along with the announcement that a handful of new figures will be sold in “Team” and “Fun” packs, the press release wasn’t afraid to get passive aggressive about what separates it from the competition:
“Future expansion pack purchases will continue to work with the LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack, even in the fall of next year. No compatibility chart necessary.”
That last portion refers to the aforementioned games’ need to point out what does and doesn’t work between different expansions and figurines in each game. Cheeky, yeah? That means the Joker and Harley Quinn minifig/vehicle Team Pack, and Superman and Bane minifig/vehicle Fun Packs won’t have any trouble getting along with anything released in the future, it sounds like. Nor will a certain Timelord when he meets the likes of Doc Brown of Back to the Future fame and some more Ninjago characters.
So! In theory you could have Bane driving the Delorean in the Hill Valley set or Harley Quinn rolling through The Simpsons‘ Springfield with Chell from Portal. Sounds a whole lot like last year’s Lego Movie, right? That’s probably intentional. And if you need more movie magic, peep the video below and watch Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd, show you how Dimensions‘ inter-operability gets down.
It’s getting real for Sony’s Project Morpheus. The electronics giant has posted job listings (eight, all told) for veteran animators, level designers and a few others to fill out a studio dedicated entirely to making virtual reality games. “Based in the North West of England, we aim to build a small but highly experienced team who want to build great games to showcase this exciting new immersive technology,” the postings say. As Eurogamer reports, the Morpheus-exclusive studio should wind up in Manchester, and staff that formerly worked at Driveclub‘s Evolution Studios are involved here. Perhaps that’s why the available positions are somewhat limited in number. Regardless, if you were questioning how serious Sony’s push into VR was, this might sate your curiosity a bit.
Source: PlayStation Jobs
Not to be outdone by Guitar Hero Live, the folks over in the Rock Band 4 camp unveiled the first handful of tracks for this fall’s face-melting simulator. And they’re pretty diverse! As noted on IGN, the half-dozen ranges from Avenged Sevenfold to The Who. Developer Harmonix is debuting gameplay on Twitch with the IGN folks as well. Sadly there’s no word of Deftones, High on Fire, Katy Perry, Mastodon, or Taylor Swift yet, but we still have a long ways before this new tour kicks off. There’s that whole song request form in case there are any dream songs you’d want included, too. Prep your air guitar and jump past the break for the full list.
Songs announced so far:
Avenged Sevenfold – “Hail to the King”
Fleetwood Mac – “You Make Loving Fun”
Jack White – “Lazaretto”
The Killers – “Somebody Told Me”
The Spin Doctors – “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong”
The Who – “The Seeker”
[Image credit: Vince Bucci/Invision/AP]
Lots of people thought that Diablo 3 wouldn’t have been possible on consoles and it proved the best version of the title. Now it’s time to see if the same holds true of last year’s breakout role-playing game Divinity: Original Sin in the form of an Enhanced Edition. The decidedly old-school RPG’s getting a revamped interface, split-screen couch co-op and full-on voice work throughout for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The tweaks don’t stop there either, as it’s also getting some new quests among others along with tweaks to the combat system (likely to accommodate gamepads) and story.
If you were worried about the Kickstarted fantasy game abandoning its PC roots for the console peasants, backers get access to Enhanced Edition as part of a free update across Linux, Mac, SteamOS and Windows. When it all happens isn’t immediately clear, but developer Larian Studios teases more info will come at next month’s Electronics Entertainment Expo.