Posts Tagged ‘PlayStation 4’

Welcome to “All the news that’s Futt to print” for Monday, March 4, 2013. Can’t spend your entire day on Twitter or bouncing from news outlet to news outlet? Fine, I suppose you’re entitled to your “real life” and your “job.” Here’s what you missed today.


Kotaku is reporting that Jason West, co-creator of Call of Duty, co-founder of Infinity Ward and, most recently, co-founder of Respawn Entertainment, has not been with the studio since last May. Respawn isn’t talking, and declined Kotaku’s request for comment. Interestingly, Game Informer conducted an interview last May with West and his partner at Respawn, Vince Zampella. At that time, there was no mention of West’s departure.  Respawn popped back into the news recently, as Zampella tweeted that the studio would finally be at E3 to show off what they’ve been working on.

On the PlayStation Europe blog, Sony has indicated that PlayStation Plus will have a prominent role on the PlayStation 4. Sounds like there’s reason to rejoice… right? Before you uncork the champagne, let’s examine exactly what was said.

How do you see the PlayStation Plus service evolving over the next couple of years as PlayStation 4 enters the ecosystem?

Jim Ryan [Sony Computer Entertainment Europe President and CEO]: We’re very happy with the service that we’ve been able to offer with PS Plus. It’s been really well received – the value is quite extraordinary and the take-up has trebled over the course of the past year. We definitely see that as a core part of the way forward. We’re not yet in a position to disclose our plans for the future of PlayStation Plus, but there will definitely be a prominent role to play for it in the PlayStation 4 landscape.

It is entirely possible that Sony will stay the course with the service and continue the Instant Game Collection program on PS4. I think it’s more likely that PlayStation Plus was a trojan horse to build a base of paying customers. Microsoft approached this by telling customers to open their wallets in order to play online. Sony needed to take a different approach since they promised free online play. Instead of putting social features behind a paywall mid-generation, they slowly ramped up the level of incentives. Discounts, cloud saves and free games lured in many. Sony even managed to capitalize on one of the platform’s greatest weaknesses, obtrusively long patch times, giving Plus members the option of automatically checking for updates during off hours.

The hardest part is getting customers to open their wallets for a subscription that first time. That is doubly true with PlayStation Plus, because free games downloaded using the service cease to work if a user’s subscription lapses (making renewals and easier selling proposition). Using this approach, Sony has created and reinforced a consumer habit of paying for a PlayStation service. It would be very easy for them to keep the Plus name (especially now that it has an attached perception of being a good value) and alter the service greatly on the PlayStation 4. Online play behind the Plus paywall? Sure. Access to Gaikai streaming when (if?) that ever becomes a reality? Definitely. Streaming and sharing? It wouldn’t surprise me. Continued early access to demos and betas? Absolutely. Instant game collection? Maybe… but with the service so tightly integrated into the PS4’s bullet point selling features (especially if streaming and sharing are premium offerings), I wouldn’t count on it.

According to a report on Polygon, TimeGate Studios, one piece of the infamous development quartet responsible for Aliens: Colonial Marines has laid off approximately 25 employees. You might recall that Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford attributed approximately half the work on the critically-annihilated Aliens game to TimeGate, in a conversation with IGN. According to TimeGate’s president, Adel Chaveleh, ongoing projects at the studio have not been impacted by the staffing cuts. My thoughts are with those affected by the layoffs.

inXile Entertainment is returning to Kickstarter with a pitch for a new game in the Planescape universe entitled Torment: Tides of NumeneraRight off the bat, CEO Brian Fargo and company are working to allay any fears, stating that the artists and writers have completed work on Wasteland 2, the studio’s $2.9 million Kickstarter success. They are ready for their next project. By the time art and story are finished, developers will have wrapped up their piece of Wasteland 2, leaving them able to jump right into the TormentWasteland 2 is on track for an October 2013 release. If funded at the $1 million goal level or greater, Torment: Tides of Numenera will be targeted for a 2014 launch.

The Kickstarter campaign for Torment: Tides of Numenera will kick off on March 6, 2013, at 6 AM PST.


I’ve been sitting on this one for a couple of days. I am a big fan of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block, and I have a particular fondness for The Venture Brothers. Check out one of my favorite scenes recreated in Source Filmmaker. Henchmen gonna hench.


Welcome to “All the news that’s Futt to print” for Tuesday, February 26, 2013. Can’t spend your entire day on Twitter or bouncing from news outlet to news outlet? Fine, I suppose you’re entitled to your “real life” and your “job.” Here’s what you missed today.


In an interview with Dutch outlet InsideGamer (translation), Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot opened up about Watch Dogsthe future of the Rainbow Six series and his thoughts on the future of the Vita. One of the most interesting statements made during the conversations is that current-gen work on Watch Dogs has not yet begun. Understandably, the focus is on the PlayStation 4, next Xbox and PC, but it seems that there will be significant porting considerations given the drastic differences in architecture between the PS3 and the PS4. We already know that backwards compatibility is out (even, it seems, for digital-only titles available on the PSN). This is due to the change in processors from Cell to a more common X86 (which will make programming on Sony’s new hardware significantly easier). Those planning to play Watch Dogs on current hardware would do well to keep an eye on development and the studio responsible for getting the title to work on PS3 and Xbox 360. Don’t assume that the only difference will be in the graphics department.

Given the focus on Vita at the PS4 preview, the topic turned to the handheld’s longterm viability. Guillemot indicated that the publisher currently does have Vita games in the works, but unique titles for the system down the road will be largely dependent on hardware sales. On the surface, this seems obvious. However, just underneath the skin is something Sony should be concerned about. This is a major third-party publisher openly equivocating about the stability of the platform. It makes me wonder what’s being said behind closed doors.

Finally, Guillemot was asked about the progress on the next Rainbow Six game (which was first revealed in late 2011). The game is still in the works, which is more news than we’ve had about it in a while, but there is nothing concrete to show off yet. At this point, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the next game in the series appear on the next generation of hardware.

Do you remember when Irrational’s Ken Levine walked out on stage during the E3 2011 with a Vita in his back pocket and talked about a portable Bioshock game? Let me refresh your memory…

Apparently that’s not happening yet, but before you start tweeting angrily at Levine, you should check out the entire interview over at IGN. Irrational works for Take-Two, and they aren’t willing at this point to greenlight the Vita Bioshock. That’s two stories in the past 24 hours with news of publishers expressing significant concern over Sony’s portable. With Irrational at the helm, I would feel comfortable assuring that Bioshock would sell well for a Vita game. The problem is that the install base simply isn’t large enough for publishers to want to take the chance. The worst part is that it isn’t because the hardware is unlikeable. It’s a failure to motivate potential buyers through communication and marketing. Heck, Sony has stooped to practically begging people to purchase one.


I have one, and I love it. I cannot though, in good conscience, recommend that you go out and buy one. If the price drops and the library improves, I’ll be the first person imploring you to add one to your hardware collection. Until then, save your money (and tell your friend that you’ll give him $20 to stop asking).

There’s a big Xbox Live Games on Demand sale going on right now. Each day will see big discounts (today is pretty much everything Halo on the 360), and there are titles that will have their prices slashed until the event ends on March 4, 2013. I picked up El Shaddai for $2.99 and The Darkness for $4.99 today. One thing you should be aware of is that Microsoft hasn’t quite managed to align their point prices with the cash ones. I accidentally overpaid for El Shaddai by double when using points (the difference was refunded thanks to a call to support) and willingly paid an extra 40msp ($.50) when I purchased The Darkness. Unless this gets sorted, plan to pay in cash. Update: Apparently, that whole point thing got sorted out. Visit Major Nelson’s blog each day to find out what’s on offer.

ShackNews noticed today that Blizzard Community Manger “Vaeflare” commented on some of the questions surrounding the upcoming PlayStation release of Diablo III. In short. No, there will be no cross-platform play. There will be no access (so characters will remain sequestered, limited to the platform on which they were created and, because of UI and control changes, keyboard and mouse will not be supported. None of this is really surprising, but it does quash my faint hope that keyboard and mouse support might become more prevalent on consoles next generation as an option.

Kotaku received some promotional material from a tipster for what seems to be the next Assassin’s Creed game. If authentic, the next game will be a fully numbered sequel (unlike the second and third parts of Ezio Auditore’s adventure), and will take place prior to Assassin’s Creed III and star Connor Kenway’s grandfather. Again, if this is true, the game will be entitled Assassin’s Creed IV: Black FlagThis could be a clever attempt to punk Kotaku (and the rest of us), an real leak or a savvy PR trickle to gauge interest. Oh, did I mention that it’s pirate-themed? Head on over to Kotaku to check out the goods for yourself.


Included in the big Games on Demand sale is the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. This is available digitally as two different components. The first is Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3. The other is Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD (a port of the second PSP entry). In honor of that, I present to you an OC ReMix version of the best James Bond theme ever written and performed (trust me on this), Innocent Deception (otherwise known as the theme to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater). This was remixed by Claire Yaxley and DJ Mystix.

Welcome to “All the news that’s Futt to print” for Monday, February 25, 2013. Can’t spend your entire day on Twitter or bouncing from news outlet to news outlet? Fine, I suppose you’re entitled to your “real life” and your “job.” Here’s what you missed today.


Respawn Entertainment is finally coming out of its development cocoon this June at the 2013 E3. This was confirmed today by Vince Zampella (formerly of Infinity Ward) via his Twitter account:

After its founding in 2010, it’s been (mostly) quiet on the Respawn front. After Zampella and his partner Jason West departed Activision with a security escort, and the subsequent lawsuits, gamers are no doubt anxious to see what the studios has been working on.

According to Joystiq, Zynga is closing its Baltimore office, consolidating two Austin, Texas offices, relocating a studio from McKinney, Texas to Dallas and consolidating two New York City offices. The job losses amount to 30 individuals and, in the process, should save the publisher a bit on real estate. My thoughts are with those affected by the layoffs, which come as another blow in a tumultuous time that includes the departure of key staff and the closure of games including Petville and Mafia Wars 2.

South Korean developer Nexon, known for a variety of free-to-play games including Maple Story, has made a “strategic investment” in Robotoki, the studio founded by Robert Bowling. Prior to striking out on his own, Bowling was creative strategist on the Call of Duty series at Infinity Ward. Robotoki is currently working on a game entitled Human Element that takes place after the zombie apocalypse and is focused on the interactions of survivors in a post-catastrophic world.

In an interview with Geoff Keighley of GameTrailers, Blizzard’s Chris Metzen indicated that the PlayStation 4 version of Diablo III will feature four-player same-screen play. Additionally, he mentions that the game will be playable offline and that the UI and gameplay have been tweaked to include, among other things, an evasion move for every character. As someone who played a Demon Hunter, I’m a bit surprised at the news of evasion moves for each class, as it may very well require significant rebalancing. I know that the Barbarian and Wizard also have movement-based abilities.

So, there you have it. If you want to play Diablo III offline, you need to repurchase the game on a console. In other words, you will still be unable to get your Diablo III on at 30,000 feet.


The struggle between Mario and Bowser is one of gaming’s oldest rivalries. We’ve seen it played out in a variety of perspectives, but never before in first-person view. This is some solid work that I’m sure is much more fun to watch than it would be to play.

Welcome to “All the news that’s Futt to print” for Friday, February 22, 2013. Can’t spend your entire day on Twitter or bouncing from news outlet to news outlet? Fine, I suppose you’re entitled to your “real life” and your “job.” Here’s what you missed today.


In a conversation with VG 24/7, Hideo Kojima expressed concern over the release of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground ZeroesKojima cites taboos and mature content as the reason the game might not be released in its current form. Is this a creator second-guessing his work, or are we getting played like we did with the “Phantom Pain trailer at the 2012 VGAs?

Kojima also indicated that he’d like to see more Metal Gear spinoffs, and would be glad to see Metal Gear Rising 2... but only if Platinum Games develops it.

Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, told CNBC today that games for the PlayStation 4 will be priced from $.99 to the “more traditional $60 range” (emphasis mine). While it’s great to hear that pricing won’t likely change much, the word “range” in his statement provides just enough wiggle room for a small software price increase next generation.

Last night, IGN reported that President of Sony Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, stated definitively that Dual Shock 3 controllers used with the PlayStation 3 will not be compatible with the PlayStation 4. Given the Move-like light bar used for depth sensing found on the Dual Shock 4 displayed at Tuesday’s presentation, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

In a follow up to yesterday’s story about EA layoffs at Visceral Montreal, an employee has told Game Informer that the entire studio has, in fact, been let go. Regardless of EA’s positioning, this is tantamount to a complete shuttering of the developer. On a personal note, it pains me to see employers being coy about firings. We can’t expect full transparency from corporations all the time, but this is a matter of dignity. My thoughts are with those employees who were terminated before their final game, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel even shipped.

There will be a big Xbox Live Games on Demand sale next week. There’s a full list on Major Nelson’s blog, but buyer beware. There is no guarantee that your digital purchases will be usable on the next Xbox console.


Every once in a while, a game comes along that is so addictive that setting a timer to auto-shutdown your computer is the only way to stop playing. Enter FTL. Now, this indie darling has inspired a poem from famous curmudgeon Yahtzee Croshaw. Clearly, he’s enamored of the game, and I am pleased to share that he and I approach the experience the exact. same. way.


Welcome to “All the news that’s Futt to print” for Thursday, February 21, 2013. Can’t spend your entire day on Twitter or bouncing from news outlet to news outlet? Fine, I suppose you’re entitled to your “real life” and your “job.” Here’s what you missed today.

Update: I was missing an important word in the Vita/PS3 price cut story. There will be NO immediate price cuts.


Sony had a little party in New York City last night. Apparently they are releasing something called the PlayStation 4 this fall. You can read all about it here.

Along those lines, there will be no immediate price cut for the Vita or the PS3 in the US.

Mass Effect 3 is getting more multiplayer DLC, entitled Reckoning, on February 26. Additionally, the final piece of single player DLC, Citadel, will arrive on March 5. Now I can finally play it. Really. That’s what I was waiting for…  …  … I’m so ashamed.

Visceral Montreal has suffered layoffs and the hands of EA.  Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel is slated for release on March 26, 2013. Additional EA employees have been laid off in Los Angeles. Here’s part of the statement from Frank Gibeau, President of EA Labels,

EA’s leadership on these high-growth platforms allows us to retain and attract the industry’s best talent.  Thousands of our existing employees have been retrained and redeployed to work on the new platforms and initiatives.  But when it is not possible to redeploy a team, we soften the tough decisions with assistance.  This week we let some people go in Los Angeles, Montreal as well as in some smaller locations.  These are good people and we have offered outplacement services and severance packages to ease their transition to a new job.

Console transitions are a complex and challenging experience.  I’ve helped navigate several and agree with an old saying we have at EA: Transition is our friend.  All the trend lines are converging to reward the creative and financial investments we have made in mobile and console technology.  We have never been more ready or more excited about what comes next.

I don’t suppose that the employees at Visceral Montreal who won’t even get to earn a paycheck when their game released agree about transition.

IGN’s new owners, Ziff Davis, have laid off editorial staff at the publication while simultaneously announcing plans to shut down UGO, Gamespy and 1UP. My thoughts are with those affected. To the rest of you, please don’t use ad blockers. It’s deprives content creators of revenue for their work.


Oh, you didn’t have two hours to sit through Sony’s presentation last night? Thankfully, VideoGamerTV has condensed it to 3 minutes, 22 seconds. Get ready to laugh.

Last night, 1,200 people gathered in New York City for the preview of Sony’s PlayStation 4. There are still plenty of important details we don’t know, and Sony is being coy around the more controversial points (namely a used game lockout). Last night wasn’t about coloring in the picture, rather this is the outline. We now know Sony’s vision for its next generation hardware, and the underlying tone was a conciliatory one. Without directly addressing the drawbacks of the PlayStation 3, speakers touted features clearly intended to correct them.

From a technical perspective, details were covered in broad strokes. The CPU is a classic X86 with an 8-core processor for ease of development, there is an enhanced PC GPU, 6x Blu-Ray player, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, USB 3.0, HDMI and the PS4 will come with 8GB of unified GDDR5 RAM (compared to the PS3’s 256MB for system and 256MB for video). The PS4 will feature a second chip for processing in the background. This will enable digital titles to be playable during the download and downloads to take place even while the main power is off. We don’t know all the details, but the memory spec is certainly impressive. In addition to the significant increase over the PS3, the unified RAM will give developers a great deal of flexibility. For convenience, users will be able to suspend the system into a very low power mode and resume activity much faster than a standard boot-up. This is similar to the sleep mode found on the Vita, which also got a big bump last night.

The Vita will be used for off-screen gaming, not unlike what Nintendo has done with the Wii U Gamepad. Using technology pioneered by Gaikai (a cloud gaming company Sony purchased in 2012), the fidelity of the handheld’s remote play capabilities will be greatly improved. Given the problems I’ve had in my own home with using the Wii U’s off-screen capabilities, I can only hope that Sony has a plan to boost the signal.

There is also hope that in the future the Gaikai technology will be usable to stream titles from Sony’s entire back library. It’s important to note that this is extremely unlikely for launch, and based on Sony’s history of delivering on promises like this, I wouldn’t include it in a purchase decision. It might happen later in the console cycle, but I would be astonished if it became reality in the first 12 – 24 months. Along with this, Sony made clear that the PS4 will not be backward compatible, even for PSN purchases (per Engadget). That’s a huge blow, and may harm revenues on the PSN from now until the launch of the PS4. I will not be investing another dime knowing that my PS3 will spend most of its time disconnected come the fall.

The Dual Shock 4 controller revealed last night looks similar to the prototype image that was making the rounds last week. The thumbsticks have raised rims for control, the triggers have been improved and latency has been reduced. The center of the gamepad features a touchpad, and there is a “share” button that will enable instant streaming and sharing. Similar to the Xbox 360 controller, the DS4 features a headset port. My hope is that this will not obsolete high end gaming headsets and will, instead, simply require a chat cable running to that port. Sony would do well to pack in a low cost headset for chat, much as Microsoft has done since 2005.

Development is being led by Mark Cerny, a game developer known for Marble Madness, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon. With Cerny involved, there is a significant and respected developer presence that Sony desperately needs in order to compete in the eighth generation. In addition to his work on the hardware, Cerny is working on a game called Knack, featuring a little robot that can grow and change shape by pulling in objects and particles from the environment.

The remainder of the night was a smattering of games, including:

  • Killzone: Shadow Fall – Developed by Guerrilla Games, the short gameplay we were shown displayed an uptick in graphical fidelity over this generation, a gun that can be mutated from assault rifle to sniper rifle and back and a slowdown effect similar to a first-person bullet time. It amazes me that even now, game designers can’t make a character walking down the stairs look natural.
  • DriveClub – Developed by Evolution Studios, this team-based racing game is all about the authentic experience. The view is a true first person (rather than standard cockpit), the recreations have been done lovingly and painstakingly. This title will feature a mobile app that will allow players to create challenges and put it out in the world immediately. Gearheads should keep their eyes on this one.
  • inFAMOUS: Second Son – As soon as the word “super powers” was mentioned by Nate Fox of Sucker Punch, I knew that inFAMOUS was finally coming back. The presence of multiple superpowered people might indicate that Sucker Punch has canonized one of the endings of inFAMOUS 2. Additionally, the name “Second Son” likely is a reference to the secret society/terrorist organization known as First Sons that were prominent in the first two games.
  • Jonathon Blow’s The Witness -In a presentation dripping with condescension for almost everything else Sony showed last night, Jonathon Blow  showed off his 25-hour, no filler puzzle game, The Witness. It will appear first on PS4 during the launch window. Despite his assertion that every puzzle is different, the entire montage showed similar tiles. Perhaps they are all different in the way that every Bioshock hacking puzzle is “different.”
  • Quantic Dream showed off an old man’s head. He had very expressive eyes. They said, “Why am I just a head?”
  • Media Molecule displayed some kind of sculpting and puppetry tech demo. It utilizes Move controllers. It’s OK to be sad.
  • Capcom displayed the first look an their new Panta Rhei engine. Go ahead, be funny. We exhausted the “panty raid” jokes last night. The game on top of the new tech is tentatively called Deep Dive and featured some crazy dragon-fighting action that was reminiscent of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. Even through the 480p webcast, it was easy to tell that the next generation will experience a significant graphical uptick.
  • Square Enix took the stage to show off an eight month old tech demo. While Yoshihisa Hashimoto called it a “cinematic demo,” Square Enix PR told me that it was real-time and not cinematic.
  • Watch Dogs, one of the most interesting surprises at E3 2012 will be coming to PlayStation 4 at launch.
  • Diablo III is coming to PS4 through a strategic partnership between Blizzard and Sony. Translation: Do not expect it on Microsoft’s next-gen console.
  • We got a few more seconds of gameplay footage for Bungie’s Destiny. Unsurprisingly it will be coming to PS4. Eric Hirschberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, did raise my eyebrows when he mentioned exclusive content on the system. Activision has typically done those sorts of deals with Microsoft.

Of note, EA was not present on stage. The absence of a publisher of that magnitude is surprising.

Here’s what we didn’t hear last night and should expect to get some more clarity on at E3:

  • There have been rumors of a used game lockout. Eurogamer was told that it wouldn’t happen on the PS4, but that doesn’t rule out some sort of additional fee for reusing discs.
  • During this generation, Microsoft clearly had the advantage when it comes to online services. The free PSN wasn’t nearly as powerful (or stable) as the pay-for-play Xbox Live. Will Sony put their online gaming and other services (like Netflix) behind a paywall to finance their infrastructure improvements and maintenance?
  • Speaking of the PSN, Sony addressed the terrible updating system with the dedicated second chip. However, the streaming, sharing and future Gaikai cloud gaming will require a significant improvement in the service. Is Sony prepared to invest in that kind of infrastructure?
  • We don’t know how many SKUs there will be.
  • We don’t know even a ballpark range for the system’s cost.
  • We know that we’ll have the PS4 this holiday, but beyond that, we’re still in the dark.

We’re entering a very exciting time. Sony has taken the first big steps, and now it’s up to Microsoft to respond, and I’d expect them to do so before E3. Stay tuned for more details.

Welcome to “All the news that’s Futt to print” for Tuesday, February 19, 2013. Can’t spend your entire day on Twitter or bouncing from news outlet to news outlet? Fine, I suppose you’re entitled to your “real life” and your “job.” Here’s what you missed today. (Yes, I took yesterday off on purpose. Really.)


After five years, Harmonix will be ceasing weekly Rock Band updates. It’s impressive that they carried on this long. Kudos!

Skylanders: Swap Force will require a different Portal of Power than the one used for Spyro’s Adventure and GiantsThis means that we should not expect “Portal Owner” packs. The reason is likely that the current portals are not geared to read as many RFIDs as two players using Swap Force characters would require. Interested gamers should plan to shell out the extra $15 or so that the starter packs typically cost. According to the video below from FamilyGamer TV, the starter sets will come with a Series 3 Stealth Elf (with a new Wow-Pow) and two of the swappable characters. Between this news and a change in developers from Toys for Bob to Vicarious Visions (the 3DS version of Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders: Battlegrounds), I’m optimistic, but cautious.

Joystiq found out more information about the Wii U-exclusive demo that will be coming for Rayman Legends in an update on the game’s Facebook page, Michel Ancel has revealed that early April will see the release of not a sample, but the entire online challenge mode for the game. It will be free to download.

If you are a pirate, please don’t download the leaked version of Gears of War: JudgmentDoing so makes you a jerk (that is likely to be on the business end of the banhammer). More details over at Joystiq.

Sony’s (probable) PlayStation 4 press conference is tomorrow. You can watch it live in a lot of places, but the fine folks at Game Informer have already got a page up. You can bookmark this link and head on back tomorrow around 6 PM EST when the festivities begin.


Tomorrow begins a new era of Sony memes. Let’s not forget this great one: