Tag Archives: sony

PlayStation E3 2015 Recap

PlayStation E3 2015

Sony this year came out with some heat. We all thought most of it would just be rumors because—let’s face it—a lot of it sounded absurd. A comeback? A remake? Oh come on. We should know better by now. Go back to your village and take your pipe dreams with you.

But wham, bam, holy shit. We really shouldn’t be calling out “winners” for this sort of thing, but this press conference did actually bring down the Internet. Feel free to read on or rewatch the entire thing.

The Last Guardian

Ummm, what? I guess sometimes vaporware comes back from the dead. After being in and out of development and existence for the past 2007, it was pretty safe to assume the long awaited project was simply dead and buried. After the trauma of numerous rumors, the latest rumblings that we’d see The Last Guardian at this E3 seemed to only freshen up old wounds.

But it’s all true. Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida confirmed it would release for PlayStation 4 in 2016. Coming from Team Ico and director Fumito Ueda, the same combo that brought you Shadow of the Colossus and Ico, its expectations were high. After all these delays, are they just as lofty?

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Guerrilla Games, developer of the Killzone series, is throwing quite the delicious curveball here. Going from a stock FPS to this is rather incredible. Perhaps filling the PlayStation 4’s required space marine quota earned them some laterality.

But Horizon: Zero Dawn has a fascinating premise. Something along the course of humanity’s development caused them to plunge back into a pre-civilization structure except machines are still rampant and necessary. So instead of hunting for food, they hunt for parts. Sure, the gameplay looks fun enough, but that setup is incredible.

Hitman

Even if you don’t care for the Hitman games, this is a well put together trailer. It finely composes the idea that he’s a killer of tactics, brutality, and skill. Also, the backing track that surreptitiously features ragged breathing slowly sinks in and is reinforced by the kill shot.

The trailer itself, however, doesn’t reveal much except that the series still animates people a bit too cartoonishly. I guess Square Enix assumes we already know what to expect from the game, which is kind of a sad notion anyway. Hitman lands on PlayStation 4 and PC on December 8. (Franchise reboots that simply start off with the same name is an organizational nightmare, by the way.)

Dreams

Media Molecule is still very much about games in which you create, if you were wondering. The latest is Dreams, and while the trailer is very obtuse about what you’ll actually be doing, you’ll definitely be creating…something.

It looks like you’ll be using your controller to sculpt out characters inside of scenes. The “dreams” motif comes in where everything is fast and impressionistic rather than details and builds upon a previously known (read: made) lexicon of items. You can then grab your creations and puppeteer them to life. (The short demo preceding the trailer shows more than anyone could ever say with words.)

Destiny: The Taken King

While I found Destiny to be somewhat lacking in its original release, the more that Bungie puts out for the game, the more I want to go back and play it. It seems like they’re solving the two biggest problems simultaneously with each DLC, being the lack of content for a massive world and a refinement of how to use that world in interesting ways.

Coming September 15, The Taken King will cost $39.99 for the regular edition and $79.99 for the collector’s edition, both of which will also include Destiny itself. The expansion will include new Guardian subclasses and super moves.

Final Fantasy VII

Part of the crazy heat Sony threw around yesterday. Even more dubious than The Last Guardian comeback rumors, we heard voices on the wind talk of a Final Fantasy VII remake, something fans have been clamoring for since dinosaurs walked the Earth.

And now it’s happening. This isn’t a tech demo or a PC version or an upgraded PC version for PlayStation 4, but this is a remake. At this point, it’s unclear as to what that means. This could end up just an HD remaster for all we know, but hopefully they’re not just misleading us with the word “remake.”

The bigger question, however, is if anyone still cares. Tetsuya Nomura is coming on as director after guiding the Kingdom Hearts series (and directing Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children) while Yoshinori Kitase, original director of Final Fantasy VII, will be returning to produce. Is that enough to garner interest beyond the 18-year-old fan base?

No Man’s Sky

This is the first lengthy gameplay demo anyone outside of the press has seen from No Man’s Sky. Hello Games co-founder Sean Murray hopefully imparted upon the audience the sheer size of what they’re attempting with this procedurally generated universe simulator. (If you still don’t get it, read this piece over at The New Yorker.)

Still no release date, but we do learn that every world is fully destructible. Plus there are fish!

Shenmue III

And here’s the real surprise of the event. No one was even expecting this, but Yu Suzuki, creator of an immense number of classics like Space Harrier, Out Run, After Burner, and Virtua Fighter, came out on stage to announce that he’d like to revitalize the Shenmue franchise through Kickstarter.

And then everyone lost their god damn minds. Which is the appropriate response, I might add. It brought down Kickstarter itself for a brief time as it rocketed up hundreds of thousands of dollars in a matter of minutes. It’s already hit its $2 million goal in its first day. If you’re not jacked for this, then you’re a fool. Or you were too young to have played the first two.

Call of Duty

Now we know why Call of Duty was mysteriously absent during Microsoft press conference. PlayStation CEO Andrew House announced that Sony will get all of the military shooter’s map packs first. The deal will start up with Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, coming to PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One November 6.

Map packs have traditionally gone to Xbox platforms first since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare back in 2007. While not necessarily everyone’s thing, this is a huge move for PlayStation.

Firewatch

Firewatch is pretty much exactly the kind of game I love playing. Or at least it’s the kind of game I love thinking that I would love playing based on the trailer because the trailer sells a very particular kind of game.

The adventure game from Campo Santo and director Jake Rodkin (co-host of the Idle Thumbs podcast) tells the story of a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness in 1989. Numerous mysteries begin to unfold as he goes about his patrols.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

While the return of the Uncharted series still doesn’t seem like the best creative decision, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End still looks pretty incredible. Like, visually, I mean. It seems like it’ll play like the other games, so you probably already know if you’ll be into that or not, but there’s certainly something to be said for a masterful refinement of a craft.

After a little technical hiccup where protagonist Nathan Drake froze in front of a still animating crowd, we go on a classic Uncharted whirlwind ride of shooting bad guys, running from overwhelming odds, shooting more guys, and (as a franchise first) driving a vehicle. Oh, and crackin’ some wise. Don’t forget that.

There are some other odds and ends that came out of the conference (like a new Street Fighter V trailer), but that’s the gist of it. There were several genuine surprises, capping off a rather momentous start to this year’s E3. Look for more coverage as the show continues the rest of the week.

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Let’s Talk About That PlayStation Experience

PlayStation Experience

Over the weekend, the industry saw two maiden voyages: Geoff Keighley’s independent The Game Awards and Sony’s for-fans PlayStation Experience. We can get around to the former later, but right now let’s talk about the latter. Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the PlayStation and announced back in October, this event was a two-day celebration in Las Vegas for the brand and the PlayStation 4’s current and upcoming lineup.

It is the closest to a winter E3 we’ll get, or really any industry event. It’s a little PAX in its timing (i.e. not during the summer) and in its structure (e.g. fully open to fans and organized around panels), but make no mistake that it’s skewing closer to an E3 or Gamescom than the fan convention. Most of the games available for play on the floor were largely just announced and not available for retail.

This strikes me as a prototypical move. Testing the waters, if you will. For the past several years, the utility of E3 has started to fade. It’s fun traveling and attending parties and certainly hanging out with basically everyone else in the industry all at once is pretty cool (and overwhelming), the actual benefits of the show are becoming dubious.

None of it aside from shaking the hands of PR people you’d only ever exchanged emails with and squeezing in unscheduled interviews with industry luminaries could not also be accomplished through Skype calls and Dropboxes of demo builds. Otherwise, it almost certainly is a bust for everyone. That’s a full week of being tired, getting sick, and getting great coverage getting swallowed up by a deluge of other great coverage. It’s numbing for developers, journalists, brand reps, and readers.

Similarly for the past few years, though, Nintendo has taken a slightly different tack. They don’t participate in the traditional keynote madness anymore, instead opting for a couple Nintendo Directs during the week topped off by a press roundtable. And instead of making the games exclusive to the industry folk angrily meandering the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center, they let fans take part all around the country. Not only that, but those Nintendo Directs? They can happen whenever Nintendo wants, and they happen all during the year, albeit when convenient for Japan.

And guess what: Nintendo won developer of the year at The Game Awards. And do you know how many of the games that won their categories were Nintendo games? One: Mario Kart 8. (Granted it won in two different categories.) Then, when you consider the ratio of nominees as well, Nintendo falls far behind. Their win is…strange.

Mario Kart 8

But that’s if you don’t consider what they do. No, not release games. It’s about what they do differently, and it seems that Sony caught on, hence the PlayStation Experience. They’re testing the waters with this inaugural event. It’s just convenient that it managed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the original PlayStation. Aside from a few obligatory mentions and the LittleBigPlanet 3 video, the anniversary might as well have not even been a factor.

Instead, we had a keynote packed with announcements—a few of them were genuine surprises, too—and premiere trailers. It felt an awful lot like the efforts and energy you’d usually feel at Day 0 of E3. And the floor definitely carried the teeming joy you’d find in the weeklong LA showcase. Certainly the timing of the event was a huge factor as well. With the holidays right in people’s faces and Amazon shipping deadlines looming, what better than to remind people that PlayStation has great games out right now.

Microsoft’s response was, more or less, Phil Spencer’s Twitter. He absolutely handled it with tact, but it’s very much an impossible world where Redmond execs didn’t see the response to the event (which coincided with the similarly major fan-based The Game Awards) and didn’t feel a pang of panic. Especially when prompted with a question about the X0 shows, it’s hard not to wonder why Microsoft wasn’t already riding this wave.

Xbox X0 Event

The answer, of course, is the fans. They carried Nintendo to the Developer of the Year award and they—straight from the floor in Las Vegas—made Sony the talk of weekend and certainly will make Sony the talk of the pre-holiday sale rush. You take the mix of fans finally taking in hand the journalist privilege of playing unreleased games and interacting with press coverage and YouTubers posting reaction videos and you get a storm of organic hype.

Microsoft has gotten off to a slower start this generation than Sony and now it’s falling behind in its media handling as well. Much like the overt use for E3 has shifted (though the secret E3 still goes strong), Sony and Nintendo have recognized not only the growing influence of fans in fresh coverage but also that they way they consume and interact with news is evolving. While Spencer is not wrong about having an important E3 and Gamescom, he fails to recognize that it’s not just about trade shows.

Nintendo has its Nintendo Directs. They sponsor SXSW Gaming. They showcased their games Best Buy locations all over the country. And Sony came storming out of the gates with the PlayStation Experience, riding the wave of their strong start of the PlayStation 4 to an equally strong holiday buzz. And where’s Microsoft? I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the fans.

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PlayStation 4 Launch Event Recap: Uncharted, The Last of Us, and More

PlayStation 4 Launch Event Recap: Uncharted, The Last of Us, and More

How was your night last night? Go out anywhere? Maybe stand in a big line and get a $400 piece of technology? I didn’t, but I did go check out a couple of midnight launches of the PlayStation 4. For one of the biggest metroplexes in the country, Dallas didn’t really have anything crazy to offer, although a couple of dudes offered me some queso, so there’s that.

UPDATE: just kidding. Apparently I missed Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant buying five lucky line-standers their PlayStation 4s.

Of course, it (and whatever was happening at your closest GameStop) didn’t compare to Sony’s big launch event in New York. It was just a big ol’ celebration for Sony’s step into the next generation, but they still decided to throw some news in there. Geoff Keighley even asked about The Last Guardian! (We’ll get to that in a second.)

New Uncharted for PS4

In perhaps the teaseriest tease of all teases, we see nothing more about the upcoming Uncharted for the PlayStation 4 except that 1) it exists, and 2) it has betrayal. Oh, also, I guess that is has a super high resolution logo?

At least it tells us what Naughty Dog has been up to since putting out Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and The Last of Us. And over on the PlayStation Blog, it has been confirmed that creative director Amy Hennig and game director Justin Richmond are both attached to the rather green project and that Todd Stashwick of Heroes fame provides the excellent voiceover.

The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC

Speaking of Naughty Dog, we see them release their first single-player DLC with Left Behind. The teaser is short and poised for a lot of emotional drama as the franchise is wont to do: Ellie and Riley Abel, her school chum from the Quarantine Zone, happen across a carousel.

Like, nothing happy can come from that, right? But it will hopefully at least be a fantastically sad. It’s based somewhat on the Dark Horse comics The Last of Us: American Dreams (which are pretty great) where it shows Ellie and Riley meeting, but this is Ellie telling Joel what happens after that.

Don’t worry, I’ll bring the tissues. Look for it in early 2014 for $14.99.

Destiny Beta

Along with the above trailer, Bungie COO Pete Parsons (what a comic book superhero name) announced that the beta for their upcoming online first-person shooter Destiny would be coming first to the PlayStation 4.

“We’re going to give first access to the PlayStation nation, PS4 and PS3 owners,” he said. If you want to get in on it, you’ll have to have preordered before October 1st, though I’m sure there will be other avenues available as it creeps closer.

Classic Snake in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

I guess not everything old made it out when the new stepped in. In a confusingly nostalgic move, Konami will be including Classic Snake as a skin in the Sony-exclusive mission “Déjà Vu” for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. So yay next-gen graphics? Whatever, as long as I get to choke dudes.

Dammit

Geoff Keighley asked Sony’s Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida and Vice President of Publisher Relations Adam Boyes about Team Ico’s mysteriously missing The Last Guardian. God dammit. JUST GIVE IT TO ME.

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An Errant Fealty

An Errant Fealty

I’ve never quite been one for things like school pride. I went to a building, I got a degree, and now I’m done. It’s over. That time of my life is done. Insulting it then or now has no bearing on what I accomplished there or here.

It’s kind of the same reason I don’t buy into sports rivalries that don’t involve individuals. The longstanding Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins rivalry, for instance, doesn’t make sense once you consider that all the original folks involved are either dead or a nonfactor at this point. The rivalry lingers largely because of fans and players that grew up with it and seemingly live and die by “we’ve always done it that way.”

So I may not be the best person to analyze this, but throwing around die-hard allegiances to video game consoles—especially those that don’t even exist for the public yet—is absolute nonsense. It happens, of course, for the current and past generations of consoles as well, but years of filtering feelings through objectivity have clarified many opinions. (The N64, for example, was kind of trashy but hot damn those games.)

Nintendo 64

Being fans of companies is even somewhat understandable on a certain level, though the parallel problems of sports fandom persists here as well; an ever-shifting landscape of management, ownership, and players erodes the logical foundation of athletic loyalty. The people that run console manufacturers come and go, as do those of other companies. Would you still hold Apple’s design aesthetics in such high regard if Jony Ive wasn’t there?

But loving the shit out of the PlayStation 4 before you’ve even put hands on it is absolutely bonkers. Praising the virtues of the Xbox One when you’ve only seen it in streaming press conferences is lunacy. Assumptions can be made, sure, like they will be functional pieces of technology upon purchase and that the list of features are not a list of lies. But as to the quality of both the hardware and software along with developer relations goes unseen.

If you recall, Sony basically mopped the floor with Microsoft with both its announcement event and following press conferences. Their PlayStation 4 had all the features that, on paper, the Xbox One did not have or did not tell us. It didn’t have to be always online, it didn’t block used games, and it was cheaper. Fans rallied around these pillars of superiority and never looked back.

Xbox One Reveal

Now, it seems that Microsoft has somewhat of an upper hand. The Xbox One’s launch lineup seems to be quite a bit stronger (and less diminishing) and most of the things you thought the PlayStation 4 would be able to give you lies behind a day-one—and beyond—patch. At least among those in the industry, favor has shifted to Redmond.

But make no mistake, as this is still a fealty based on assumptions and guesswork. It’s a leap of faith that either of these consoles will do what their PR says they will. (To be fair, though, from what I’ve seen, read, and played, it’s all mostly true.) So those that still strive to turn making mountains from molehills into their day job, they grab onto the slimmest chance of object fact.

This is how you end up with comments on news stories and video reviews of next-gen games that dissect the graphics because that’s all they have at this point. It’s hard proof that these textures on this console are higher resolution than the ones on this console. It’s undeniable that the framerates are better here than they are there.

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal

And they aren’t wrong. Those are, indeed, facts in some cases, despite the inanity and aggression they are asserted in the face of none of it mattering at all. The differences are often indiscernible to most people that aren’t part of an organization called the Digital Foundry, and yet they cling. Rose and Jack be damned they cling.

No matter how hard they never let go, though, it doesn’t matter. Not this early, anyways. Do you remember how butt ugly PlayStation 2 games were when they first came out? Now do you remember how great Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal Looked when it came out? It’s a lifecycle for a reason; it grows and evolves. (Besides, how are graphics the biggest deciding factor for a game’s quality? Stop thinking that.)

The same goes for services and features. The PlayStation 3 was far and away an inferior product when it came up against the Xbox 360. From its social interactivity to its online store to its appeal to developers, it was worse. At best, you could say PSN was free. But then Sony added chat and trophies and made PlayStation Plus a heck of a deal and cleaned up its act and managed to attract some amazing indie games.

PlayStation 4

Yet those loyalties persist. Those that live and breathe Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will never give up the noble quest of educating the fools around them. It should be an objective evaluation, a rolling and shifting line of top quality. Arguing in comments over non-final software and hardware and comparing screenshots of different builds is going to get you nowhere. Or at least nowhere that matters.

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Puppeteer Review: Whimsy on a String

Puppeteer

What makes children’s folklore have real sticking power is a fine blend of whimsy and an unexpected darkness. “Jack and the Beanstalk,” for example, features beans that grow a humongous beanstalk into the sky where a hidden floating castle awaits (whimsy) only to find that a giant lives there, one who wants to grind human bones into his bread (darkness). Or “Hansel and Gretel” where a brother and sister stumble across a house made of sweets (whimsy), but unfortunately for them a witch who wants to cook and eat them lives there (darkness). It’s the darkness that makes the story stick, far more than one about boys and girls made of sacks.

That is where Puppeteer, a 2D platformer from Sony Japan, excels. It is masterfully crammed full of whimsy: you play as a boy named Kutaro who must fight back against the Moon Bear King; the entire game is framed as a theatrical play where sets quickly and almost violently shift as you reach the end of the scene; and nearly every character is acted with such extreme melodrama that it’s hard not to just smile at the voices. It is also, however, tinged with darkness: the Moon Bear King is taking the souls of children and trapping them into puppets; Kutaro is one such child until he gets his head bitten off; and many of the 12 generals you fight are rather…unsavory.

As you can tell, there is a lot of stuff going on in the game. None of it is very deep, but there is enough variety to always keep you smiling like a kid listening to his favorite story. Kutaro’s head, for instance, isn’t much of a problem. It reveals that he is the only one who can stop the Moon Bear King (who isn’t a Moon Bear made into a King, but rather a Bear calling himself a King after stealing the Moon Goddess’ Moonstone and mystically inclined pair of scissors called Calibrus) and wield the snippers. So he just gathers up three replacement heads at a time and sets off to fix the order of the universe.

The three heads add a lot in the way of whimsy. Each one is different and pops off whenever you get hit or damaged, forcing you to either catch it as it rolls away (kind of dark, don’t you think?) or put on a new one, though if you run out of heads, you lose a life and start over at a checkpoint. Each head has a special action, but they really only matter in very particular locations where you can unlock bonus levels or items. On the rare occasion, they will come into play during boss battles where they will change how you approach your combat strategy, something I would have liked to have seen more of throughout the entire game.

The scissors, though, carry quite the load in terms of mechanics and milieu. Everything in the game’s stage production is presented as a prop-heavy play, so a giant pair of scissors is actually quite the powerful tool. With it, Kutaro can defeat enemies (which he can follow up on by walking over and freeing the trapped soul contained within) and chop through any paper-like material. As clouds and leaves and flags go by, you can jump up and start cutting by hitting the square button in rhythm. This will help you propel yourself along in the air where you can remain aloft as long as there are things to cut and you are cutting them.

This adds a very nice wrinkle to the otherwise overly simplistic proceedings. While the base level of jumping between things is sufficiently engaging, the scissors make it so you now have a considerable manipulation over the timing of faraway platforms and moving obstacles. And then you introduce the zip-line (snip-line?) sequences and the mesh-cutting and so on, well it’s easy to see where the do-it-all attitude comes in.

Puppeteer

Pikarina is another facet that adds another layer to the 2D platformer foundation. You control her, a spritely fairy, with the right stick and activate her against the background with R2. She can reveal treasure and pop out extra heads and general do things for Kutaro when he can’t. She sometimes requires an annoying precision in her placement to get these things to happen, but I was usually mashing and moving the button and stick too much to notice or care. What is unequivocally bothersome, though, is the character herself.

The rest of the world is rife with overacting and sincerity. You won’t find a single person who doesn’t carry on with the vaudevillian bravado consistent with this otherworldly stage and the genuine belief in every word they say…except for Pikarina. As your sidekick and guide, you hear her talk a lot, but she delivers every line as more of a valley girl and with the acerbic cynicism that usually comes attached. She undermines a lot of the gleeful nonsense that spouts out of the game and it’s kind of a buzzkill. (She’s also the only character who pronounces it as koo-tar-oh instead of koot-uh-roh.)

But that doesn’t matter because there’s such so much of that joyous, carefree randomness in Puppeteer that you don’t really mind. The commitment to the theatrical presentation is absurd and lovely and altogether unbelievable, especially when it looks so good doing it. If you had shown me Puppeteer and told me it was a PlayStation 4 launch title, I would have believed you. There is an overwhelming amount of variety and charm to the artistic design that it’s hard to wrap your mind around it all.

Puppeteer

The way the sets haphazardly swap as you finish scenes really makes you feel like the stagehands backstage are actually moving the pieces and props around, and when the audience oohs and ahhs with big, overacted monologues or battle sequences, you feel like you’re watching this fantastically fantastical performance as much as you are informing it. And as you linger about in the game or in the menus, the audience and the narrator will let you know. You can see the proscenium, you can see the light rigging, and you can see all of painterly details on the props and sets; it’s impossible to not fall in love with this overwrought and whimsical production.

The music, the art design, and the sheer variety in the things you’ll do (and see and hear) are all simply exemplary. As much as I enjoyed actually playing the game—moving the sticks and pushing buttons—seeing the delightfully silly story unfold in such a wholly genuine presentation is the true joy of Puppeteer. The whimsy and the underlying darkness are irrepressibly impressive and lovable when taken hand in hand, and Puppeteer is something truly to be taken whole cloth.

Just don’t let those scissors near it.

Puppeteer

+ Absolute commitment to the theater conceit
+ Gorgeous world and unbelievable art direction and design
+ Voice (over)acting is phenomenal
+ The sheer variety makes the simplistic base platformer engaging again
– Pikarina doesn’t fit with the rest of the puppet world

Final Score: 9 out of 10

Game Review: Puppeteer
Release: September 10, 2013
Genre: 2D platformer
Developer: SCE Japan Studio
Available Platforms: PlayStation 3
Players: singleplayer offline, multiplayer online
MSRP: $39.99
Website: http://us.playstation.com/games/puppeteer-ps3.html

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Sony Gamescom Recap

Sony Gamescom Recap

Yesterday was pretty interesting. It was basically press conference day, or Day Zero, of Gamescom over in Cologne, Germany, similar to the day before the madness starts in Los Angeles for E3. The difference, however, is that there are far fewer than E3. Yesterday saw EA and Sony take the stage (Microsoft just went for a smaller showcase event) and both highlighted what they have currently going on and what they have to look forward to.

EA was, well, EA. There were no big announcements, though there sure were big trailers, the biggest of which were for Titanfall and Battlefield 4. They also showed off The Sims 4 (with an extremely…odd example of human psychology and emotion), FIFA 14, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, Need for Speed: Rivals, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Command & Conquer. Titanfall, if you weren’t aware, looks great and, based on what I’ve gotten my hands on, plays great, and Battlefield 4 looks pretty and, well, that’s about it. Not much to say there besides Levolution. (God damn nonsense marketing.)

But then Sony went up and opened with what can only be called an interactive theater art piece. Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, sat motionless in a giant armchair facing away from the audience. Then he just began to mess around with the PlayStation 4, signing in and streaming Killzone: Shadow Fall before seamlessly jumping into the action himself (and then tweeting a screenshot). It was nearly five whole minutes before a single word was uttered.

Things went less stranger from there, though the camera man was regrettably chaotic. So here are the highlights!

Sony’s Indie Acquisitions

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

After announcing that Borderlands 2 would be making its way to the Vita, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Jim Ryan revealed that Fez, Starbound, and Velocity 2X would all be headed to the Sony portable as well.

We’ve known for a while that Phil Fish was in talks with Sony to get Fez onto the PlayStation Network, but combined, the three acquisitions (with Rogue Legacy from Cellar Door Games and Wasteland Kings from Vlambeer and and and, talked about later in the event) represent that Sony isn’t just interested in bringing developers into the fold but also getting interesting games along with them. Starbound and Velocity 2X have existed for quite some time before yesterday, and Sony saying that they managed to convince the developers to partner up and port those games over show a commitment to their new philosophy.

Vita Price Drops

PlayStation Vita at Gamescom 2013

As of yesterday during the press conference, all Vita models are $199, down from $249 for the Wi-Fi and $299 for the 3G models. This coincides with a price drop in memory cards, the 4 GB going from $19.99 to $14.99 and the 32 GB going from $99 to $79. Both of these are pretty big news seeing as how price is probably the biggest hurdle for consumers to clear now that Sony has put on display their commitment to making the handheld work. They’ve got new games, they’re porting over popular games, and they’ve got new, lower prices. This could be a big move from the company.

Gran Turismo Date and Movie

While the Gran Turismo has long since stopped getting me all revved up, I do realize that each release into the franchise is a fairly big deal. As such, we can all look forward to Gran Turismo 6 on December 6, 2013, though a new trailer should hold us over until then.

We also got confirmation on those weird movie rumors floating around a few weeks ago: The Social Network and Fifty Shades of Grey film producers Michael de Luca and Dana Brunetti are indeed working on the big screen adaptation of Gran Turismo. Because that makes sense.

More Potshots at Microsoft

Andrew House at Gamescom 2013

Overall, you could say Sony is confident. They’ve got some great exclusives lined up, they’re getting great feedback, and they’re console ostensibly works. I would say they’ve earned some of that swagger. But they also continue to take potshots at Microsoft. Remember when they made that video demonstrating how sharing games works on the PlayStation 4? Well, now they’re eschewing the production values and just going for body blows. Andrew House, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, had this to say as he announced the launch date of their upcoming console:

“While others have shifted their message and changed their story, we were consistent in maintaining policies and a model that is fair and in tune with consumer desires.” (They also tweeted something to the same effect.)

It’s an obvious and pointed jab at the fact that Microsoft did a 180 on pretty much everything people were complaining about. It started out fun and cute, but now it’s becoming, I don’t know, aggressive? Instead of pointing out what they’re doing right, it feels an awful lot like Sony is pointing out now what Microsoft is doing or has done wrong. At what point does it become too much?

Indie Announcements

So we already know Sony is bringing over a few existing, high-profile indie games over to their platforms, but they’ve also got new ones coming, too. The big one that really grabbed people was this horrifically strange and dark game called Murasaki Baby, a side-scrolling touch-control platformer for the Vita from Ovosonico. You play as this girl with an upside-down(?) head and must traverse a terrifying landscape by seemingly breaking through the fourth wall to aid her.

Tequila Works is also developing Rime, a beautiful action adventure game that looks like a cross between Ico and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. You may recognize the studio as the one behind Deadlight, the 2D survival horror game from late last year. It was a promising game full of neat ideas but ultimately failed to execute many of them. Hopefully they can get both halves working together this time because boy is my interest piqued.

The Chinese Room, the developers behind the fantastic and hard-to-explain Dear Esther, is working on Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture for the PlayStation 4. They’ve already got Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs in the works, so it’s obvious they’ve got a thing for atmospheric titles, and this looks extremely that. It’s a first-person adventure game made in CryEngine 3 and, well, that’s all we know.

There’s also a band festival simulator thing called BigFest where you’ll promote events and bands and I don’t know but it looks interesting, thought admittedly we’ve known something named BigFest has existed since January. Helldivers and Resogun, a top-down and a side-scrolling shooter respectively, also look pretty neat.

Launch Date (and Other Things)

PlayStation 4 with controller

Perhaps the biggest piece of news from yesterday is that the PlayStation 4 will officially be launching in North America on November 15th and in Europe and Latin America on November 29th. Pre-orders are already over one million, so jump in now if you so desire. Or don’t, whatever. I’m not your accountant.

In regards to services, Sony has officially partnered with Twitch for streaming and you can now listen to music while you play games via Sony’s Music Unlimited service. Plus there’s this new broadband access plan that sounds pretty gross since it includes tiered access priority, but who knows. It might prove fruitful for those struggling to get consistent Internet access.

Oh, and we also got a new trailer for both Infamous: Second Son and Watch Dogs (with a movie incoming) and a new gameplay demo of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

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Aware Of The End

Aware of the End

The ending is coming. Can you see it? To me, it looks an awful lot like a finish line, but to you it might appear to be a light at the end of a tunnel, a runway cleared for landing, or pool full of jelly beans. Whatever it is, you can see it, and it lets you know that you’re almost done. It’s a little bit reassuring and a bit reluctance-inducing all at once. We’ve been on this road for a while, but at this point, we’re so intimately familiar with it, stopping the journey seems cold. Unbearable.

Being able to see the end, though, and knowing it exists are two vastly different things in terms of psychology. Most things we can logically assume will, at some point, stop. They run their natural course and then slowly fade away. With the exception of the worldwide desire to purchase and consume Coca-Cola products, a sudden and poignant cliff face appears, a drop-off in existence, one that we slowly inch towards until we tip over the edge and go over forever.

We know this exists, this line in the sand between existing and not. It’s a fact of life. But seeing it rouses a drastically contrasting feeling within us. It’s something I was thinking about when I went back to play the final few hours of The Last of Us again. A friend of mine had recently finished it and wanted to discuss it, but I’d long forgotten many of the finer details of the story and the turn it takes in terms of gameplay. So I went back just before it was very clear the game was on its downward slope, readying itself to dump you out into your jelly beans.

The Last of Us

Spoiler Warning: I will be talking about the last section of gameplay of The Last of Us. I’ll leave the very last story bits untouched, but that’s simply because I don’t think they’re necessary in this discussion. So stop reading or stop caring about spoilers or save this for later or whatever it is you do when you encounter a spoiler. Maybe cook up some churros? Man, I really like churros.

I started right at the beginning of Spring when Joel and Ellie are walking down the highway around Salt Lake City. It’s a stark contrast with what occurred moments before during Winter when Joel grabbed Ellie after she killed that super creepy David dude at the lakeside resort, but it feels somewhat comforting as well. Joel is back in what appears to be fine health and Ellie is, well, distant.

At this point, you kind of suspect that the ending is approaching, and rather rapidly at that. You’re coming up on a full year in terms of story timeline, so it kind of makes sense that for a game that would divide itself up into seasons, you would wrap it up after you’ve seen all four. You’ve found every weapon according to your filled-in upgrade display. The number of upgrades you desire has finally fallen below the number of upgrades you can buy and you’ve stopped seeing new things.

The Last of Us

The types of enemy encounters have varied somewhat consistently since the beginning of the game. Infected will rush you or Clickers will stumble around and you have to maneuver around them or you’ll hide and take out armed humans, but they’ll almost always be put in new or interesting configurations. In one particular encounter in Salt Lake City, you are in an underground tunnel, and it appears as if they’ve done nothing but put you at the start of an area and filled the space you need to navigate with everything you’ve seen yet. Including Bloaters! Before, you’d just seen them in isolated situations. Now there are multiple Bloaters in a single environment. Less different and more of the same? It kind of tickles the “this is it” sense of your gamer brain.

In terms of story, Joel has had a revelatory moment of changing wholeheartedly in his perception of Ellie, calling her “baby girl” as he picks her up from the burning winter cabin and now openly engaging her in personal conversation. For a heavily themed and bleak narrative like this, it’s obviously all downhill from here. Ellie is aware of—or at least suspicious of—something that Joel either doesn’t know or is choosing to ignore, which can really only end poorly for both of them.

And I don’t know about you, but for this much of the game, I’ve never dipped below a certain threshold of supplies. I’ve always been fully stocked on health kits and other craftable items like bombs and shivs and consistently had to leave supplies lying about in the world untouched. Ammo has never been a problem as only once do I recall ever being absolutely empty on any particular weapon. I’ve been hording for the entire game out of fear for the next encounter being insurmountable lest I come stocked and ready to rock.

The Last of Us

So when Joel gets knocked out trying to save a drowning Ellie and wakes up with Marlene and the Fireflies, you truly know that this is the beginning of the end. We just went through an entire downtown area reinforcing the notion that we’ve seen all the game has to show us in terms of mechanics, systems, and inventory. Narratively, we’re finally back with the person who first gave us the impetus for this gargantuan journey and with the group of people that can solve our and the world’s problems. Either they are going to take Ellie and tell us they can use whatever made her immune to save humanity or that they can’t do anything with her. Either way, this is it.

Then, when things get hostile, you are Joel on your own. This happens so rarely in the game, but every time it does, something huge comes out of it. In this case, he is killing the very group that saved him and Ellie and means to save the world. There’s only so much forgiving people can do, and I don’t think shooting and choking dozens of dudes fits within that quota.

And you are given a new weapon, the assault rifle. As you pick it up, you realize that there was no slot for this at any workbench for upgrades. It appears this is a weapon to simply pick up and use, and use it you do. The encounters in the hospital seem especially geared towards firefights instead of sneaking around. You are presented with ample hallways with cover that can handily operate as chokepoints against the Fireflies. Pin them up in the hall and then shoot them as they come out.

The Last of Us

I was burning through ammo and just taking shots for the sake of getting a kill, two things I never did in the rest of the game. Missing shots wasn’t that big of a deal since these dudes were dropping ammo like crazy and this thing could hold almost 100 rounds. And if I had a good bead on a guy’s head, I would stand out of cover just to make sure I got the shot, even if I was getting peppered while I was doing it. Health kits were in abundance if you wandered the floors of the hospital. Everything was pushing you to play this game like you hadn’t played it for the past 12 hours.

And it’s wonderful in that sense. You finally get to let loose not because certain elements of the level design nudge you in that direction, but because you know this is the end. This is the last charge you have to make and everything you’ve been holding back can come out. For 12 hours, I never took a shot unless I knew it was going to be in the head and it would be a killing blow. I never used my melee weapon unless I had to defend myself against Clickers. All of my Molotov cocktails and shrapnel bombs and smoke bombs went unused because paranoia told me that the next room was full of things that I could only take down with a Molotov or a bomb.

But now it was all I could do to get to Ellie faster. The fact that the narrative and mechanical impetus for slowly revealing to the player that this is the final segment of the game (or at least believe that it is) is masterful in its dovetail. The meld together and you come to only one solid conclusion: that you must use everything at your disposal to rescue Ellie (or rather “rescue,” but that’s for another narrative-focused time) as quickly as possible. The Last of Us may not be a game that forces ticking clocks on you as a player, but the narrative push to see this through and the desire to make sure your young ward is still alive are what makes you want to go faster. And knowing that you have nothing to lose by blowing through your stockpile of post-apocalyptic wares facilitates that.

The Last of Us

The confluence of factors that indicated the approaching end in The Last of Us made me appreciate how finality affects us. It, for the most part, pushes us to do new things, drives us to be new people. That’s why we like to fantasize about what we would do with our last day on Earth. When a game manages to ask that same question and make our answer meaningful, it’s striking, just as it was striking in The Last of Us. It was my last day—my last moments—with that game. What would I do with it? Apparently nothing involving jelly beans.

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A Question of Identity in The Last of Us

A Question of Identity in The Last of Us

“Shut up, man. Don’t you know who that is?”

He doesn’t. His friend, apparently, does and apologizes for speaking out of turn. The pair was simply lingering out on the street, leaning against a wall and talking about the rather mundane activities within the quarantine zone. Walking by, I stop and listen for a while. What they’re saying is filling in a lot of blanks that I have about where I am and what’s going on, but I drop one too many eaves and the confrontational fellow instigates with a hearty “what the hell are you lookin’ at?”

I don’t know what I’m looking at. In fact, I don’t know who I am. I’m not capable of answering either question, despite both being mostly rhetorical in nature. Gruff as I am, though, an apology is thrown at my feet, one that I dismiss. “No harm, no foul.” But what if there was harm? What if these two fools had crossed me in some way? The hasty verbal retreat, the confidence with which I respond, the assertiveness I bear as I stand my ground. What exactly am I capable of?

Having played so many franchise titles as of late (in this year alone we saw DmC Devil May Cry, Dead Space 3, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Crysis 3, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Tomb Raider, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum), it’s somewhat rare now that we get to experience a triple-A title in hazy wonderment like in Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. Reboots and spin-offs skew only slightly from the source in Tomb Raider and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Sequels like Crysis 3 continuing pulling out the thread their predecessors had already teased loose.

It’s a specific type of mystery, though, that I’m talking about. BioShock Infinite had plenty of questions to answer, mysteries to solve as you played the game. But those were tied to telling a compelling narrative. Even by forcing myself to limit the amount of marketing I took in, I already knew the setup to the story. I knew Booker was looking for Elizabeth, I knew Elizabeth had unknown powers, and I knew we would be in a city in the sky that was ruled by a fellow named Comstock. I knew all of the ingredients to the soup. I just didn’t know how it would taste.

But I also knew Booker. I knew all about him before we started the adventure. He was a Pinkerton, he obviously regrets the things he did, and he is in a bad way with some unsavory people. Finding out about who Booker is and used be was not the point of BioShock Infinite‘s story. Instead, it was all about finding out how he fit into the skyward city of Columbia and the blossoming life of Elizabeth. The mystery shrouded the story, not the character.

These men on the street, though, seem terrified of me and I don’t know why. The opening chapter of The Last of Us is powerful and intense in ways I haven’t experienced in video games in quite some time (maybe ever), but it shows a different man. Joel pre-plague and Joel post-plague only share a name and a past, but now they are different people. Would that same family man with a brother and a daughter be the one that scares people just be staring at them?

Slowly, things begin to come into focus. We take our lens and point it at Joel and Ellie and the image gradually sharpens. And it’s not because we can but because we want to. Situations like this where two men are visibly scared of a single man beg questions and questions always deliciously demand answers. They had vocalized what I’d been wondering for the past 10 minutes. Who is this man?

It’s a subtle psychological affirmation of your gaps in knowledge. Something diegetic to the game doesn’t know the answer to your question, so it feels reassuring that you don’t know either. But that makes your thirst that much stronger. To find the solution to the riddle, to crack open this peanut of answers and be able to push back against this substantive intellectual pressure is an intrinsic human desire. We may not have the answer right now but we’ll get it, god dammit.

This type of desire is reinforced with the introduction of Ellie. Joel doesn’t care to find out who she is and doesn’t even much want to go through with the deal that brought them two together in the first place, but pertinent questions arise that tie back to things we want to know about Joel. The implications of who Ellie is and what she’s capable of invite a deeper analysis of what Joel hopes to gain from this newly ravaged world. And it opens up a wound long sewn shut that left little more than emotional scars and a strident personality.

Same as before, we know what we’re making. We know this is going to be a stew, but what are the ingredients? We know Joel takes Ellie across the infected country, but we know nothing about either of them. Joel is a man, Ellie is a girl, and that’s it. With BioShock Infinite, I could have at least pumped out two paragraphs on both Booker and Elizabeth before the game even started. The Last of Us crafts a more complex narrative around the question of what we’re doing with who we are. It adds texture and layers to a rather straightforward tale and set of tropes and is refreshing amongst a familiar world of well-met cyborg soldiers and space miners.

“Don’t you know who that is?” No, but neither do I.

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What to Expect from E3 2013

What to Expect from E3 2013

I’m filled with dread. And excitement. I’m anxious and paranoid. I’m filled with a glut of emotions that I reserve for times when I’m under prolonged duress, and in this case, it’s because I’ll be in Los Angeles for a week for E3. I feel like a hot little turnip of feelings because for six solid days, I’ll be surrounded by tens of thousands of other people in downtown LA (probably more due to the Kings playoff series once again looks to ravage the bustling, hotel-filled area) and set to meet dozens and dozens of them as I talk about and play almost as many games. And for some reason I do this voluntarily.

And that’s because there will be just so much to see. Outside of the tremendous networking opportunities, there’s just a lot of games to get my hands on and share with all of you. If there’s something in particular you want me to investigate or check out, just let me know in the comments or tweet at me and I’ll do my best. Last year, I tracked down Tokyo Jungle for some folks, an adventure that led me to faking a British accent and landed me square in a room full of European press I didn’t recognize. This year, well, who knows.

But here is what I’m looking forward to most.

Xbox One/PlayStation 4 Drama

PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One

Word on the street is that the Microsoft press event is going to be…aggressive, which makes sense; they were the last next-gen console to be revealed and now they’re going to be the first out of the gate at E3. By all counts, the initial announcement seemed more aimed to appease partners and shareholders, so let’s so what happens when they have the opportunity to set the tone for an entire week of video game coverage. I’m expecting more games (probably some actual gameplay from Call of Duty: Ghosts this time) and “surprises,” as Geoff Keighley put it. Microsoft did, however, cancel the post-conference press Q&A, so who knows what that means.

As for Sony, well, a lot has happened since the Xbox One announcement. They’ve since been able to cultivate a strategic response to the kerfuffle surrounding used games, always-online requirements, and all that goodness, but they will also have to follow Microsoft (and everyone else seeing as how they’re the last presser to take place) next week. How well will they be able to execute a proper PR message turnaround if something unexpected happens? We’ll probably even see the actual hardware this time, too. This will, undoubtedly, be the most exciting pre-E3 press conferences in recent memory.

Saints Row IV

Deep Silver will be there repping Volition’s Saints Row IV and I have two hours set aside to bask in its glory. I don’t know if I need to say anymore. Just look at that trailer!

Nintendo’s Unusual Tact

Nintendo E3 2012 press conference

Nintendo won’t have their usual press event and is instead opting for a Nintendo Direct streaming thing. This isn’t unusual (big news dropped last year in the following online videos while their event skimped on the goods), but it does beg a lot of questions. Has Nintendo given up on mainstream marketing for the Wii U? Do they have latent plans for taking up the E3 news cycle that no one knows about? Last year they had one of the biggest booths with an entire second floor dedicated to appointments and private demos. The Nintendo Direct is also at the same time as a Square Enix Final Fantasy thing, so, um, yeah.

Plus they’ll have all those games demoed at 100 Best Buy stores across the country, saying they’re “making an E3 for the people.” That’s a smart ploy to put games in more gamers’ hands that won’t be at E3 (which is to say the vast majority of people), but it also feels like a concession in the console battle at a pivotal point where giving an inch anywhere is costly.

Franchises, Franchises

We’ll see more of Call of Duty: Ghosts, for sure, along with Battlefield 4 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. There won’t be any sign of Grand Theft Auto V at the show, but there will be Super Smash Bros. Wii U, which obviously has a lot of people excited. Rumors have hit an all-time high for Mirror’s Edge 2 and Rare has been teasing a revival of a “historic” franchise (I’m hoping Viva Piñata, but I’m expecting Perfect Dark or Killer Instinct). We’ll see how Batman: Arkham Origins is shaping up and if Bayonetta 2 is just as ridiculous as the first.

Fresh-Baked Games

And then there’s the new IPs that we hopefully get to learn more about. Watch Dogs will be Ubisoft’s ace, probably, as it will likely take over its mantle for new annual franchise. Harmonix recently dropped the news that they are working on Fantasia and Double Fine will be talking about its latest Kickstarter endeavor Massive Chalice (and might show off Broken Age). Sony will also be showing off Puppeteer, one of the most exciting things I’ve seen in a long time, and we’ll finally see some of Bungie’s Destiny. Of course, there’s much more to E3 than that, but you’ll read about it all next week.

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PlayStation 4 And The Necessary Hardware Divide

PlayStation 4 and the Necessary Hardware Divide

It’s been over a week since the PlayStation 4 announcement/event/meeting/whatever Sony is calling it nowadays, and there’s been a lot of interesting fallout. Tech industry folk were disappointed that they didn’t get to see the actual console, game industry folk were excited at the proposition of new games, and developers loved the thought of an x86 architecture. There’s been a question, though, that’s floating around. It comes and goes in the middle of conversations but it never seems to be the point of any of them, perhaps because it’s an arcane inquisition of parents and People That Don’t Understand.

Why do we need a new console?

Back when we were jumping from 8 bits to 16 bits and 16 bits to 32 bits, the reason for a hardware refresh was obvious and almost immediate. No one really ever questioned the notion of selling a new machine to play new games. The developers did their thing and the consumers got their stuff, so it seemed rather moot to battle this established (albeit relatively fresh) order.

This latest generation of consoles, though, doesn’t provide that same immediate revelation of existence. To most people who don’t care about streaming games or spend an inordinate amount of time demoing and downloading games or even just reading about the industry, the thing that stands out most when comparing consoles is the graphics. It’s definitely an incredibly superficial thing to do, but what else is there to judge beyond the surface when all you know is that Mario is a plumber and Sonic is a hedgehog?

And that PS4 event didn’t show much that those not in the know wouldn’t understand. Knack is interesting because it will ostensibly support thousands of complex objects in any given scene instead of the current few hundred. That Media Molecule thing is cool because of its technical implications for development processes and opening people up to a digital artistic medium. But nothing showed would categorically WOW the muggles.

That’s not to say, however, that it’s limited to people interested in games that don’t understand the hardware cycle. This goes beyond the parents that ask their kids, “What do you mean a new machine? Are you saying you have to buy new discs? But you’ve got dozens already!” Let alone that the concept of backwards compatibility is a somewhat unprecedented concept in the world of consoles (it used to be that you just assumed anything you owned before wouldn’t work with anything you bought later; the fact that the N64 and the SNES both used the same power adapter was HUGE and that the PS2 could play PS1 games was nothing more than a happy accident), the features of a console are as intrinsically tied to the hardware as the hardware itself.

We have Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network, the eShop, and all the social stuff that is tied into that: wallets, trophies, achievements, digital libraries, friends, etc. And all of that, in some ways, is interoperable with the new stuff because they all exist in both spaces; your friends list will undoubtedly transfer over seamlessly.

But what, then, to make of features that don’t match up? The streaming capabilities of the PS4, for example, simply would not be possibly on the PS3. The simultaneous download/play can’t happen either. That is enabled by the hardware, and the hardware is the console. That necessitates the new machine.

You would be surprised, though, that purely software-related aspects have similar clout in that regard. Most of the features of the 360 and the PS3 are nothing more than bolted-on odds and ends that served only fill in cracks that emerged in the dam. Digital downloads were originally intended to be only things in the vein of Geometry Wars—tiny 200MB titles that would works more like Flash games than full retail products. But now the Marketplace and the PlayStation Store both offer full disc-based products, whopping 19GB whales like Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, and neither system’s infrastructure or interfaces were made to handle that.

The 360 has cloud saves but don’t seem deeply connected to the system on any significant, fundamental level. The same goes for PlayStation Plus features on the PS3. PSN has poorly integrated social features simply because they were originally designed to be poorly integrated. For all the complaints you have about how Facebook is disorganized and feels disjointed switching between profiles and photos and events et al., the same can be said about the ecosystems of the 360 and the PS3: they’re nothing more than haphazardly stacked debris to meet the incessant demands of innovation, renovation, and fun.

New consoles, however, give manufacturers a chance to start over. More than anything, the PS4 is a blank slate for Sony (and presumably the Durango will serve the same purpose for Microsoft). All the backend architecture of Live and PSN can be rebuilt with little to no regard for the current setup. Servers will run and APIs will work, but it all works as a Band-Aid that only translates old to new. They will build a shiny new monolith that serves to only cast a shadow over the old one, information flowing in and out of its seemingly endless and impenetrable facades.

Which gives rise to the question of what happens when it ends? When the old Live and PSN stuff is finally scuttled and swept under the rug, what happens to your stuff? Well, that ties back to the notion that backwards compatibility is a modern invention. The amount of hardware devices that feature full backwards compatibility is severely outnumbered by those that don’t. Pre-PlayStation consoles, anything ever played on a phone, arcade cabinets, and now most of Nintendo’s handhelds all serve to only play one specific section of gaming history. PCs appear to be the only safe haven for collection and storage of classics and artifacts.

Evolution is a necessity, and these consoles are evolving. The fact that we have new hardware is just a fact of owning consoles. The question of why we need a PS4 and a Durango is largely pointless. What we should be asking instead is are consoles necessary? That ability to evolve does not guarantee existence. Could we be witnesses to the extinction of a breed of hardware?

That’s a question for another time.

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