It’s official: the new console is called the PlayStation 4.
Andrew House started the event talking about Sony’s consumer-centric vision for the company. From the Vita to previous consoles, they’ve strived to create play on the goal and in the home. A new console is the result of Sony’s desire to match parity with gamer demands for connectivity and developer insight into the needs of a system.
House promised a console that will be the most personalized system, the most adaptable, and offering more opportunities to remain connected even away from the primary console.
Lead system architect and industry veteran Mark Cerny explained that development on the new console bgan four years ago. The key talking point of his time on the stage is in connecting a broad range of services with a single console. Netflix and other services worked well on the PS3, he explained, but they wanted to offer a more fluid, larger world for gamers. In working with developers, he describes the PS4 as a system where the developers are happy, leading to better games.
Talking specifically about the tech specs, the PS4 will have 8 GB of unified memory, an X86 GPU, an enhanced PC GPU, and synchronized PC architecture. The new console places both the CPU and GPU together. The enhanced GPU will make computing easier, with a live display of stacks of blue cubes dropping into an environment.
Cerny then showed off the trailer for a game that he’s directing with Japan Studio: the action-adventure (?) title “Knack” featuring an artificial being made of combined geometric shapes leading a battle against attacking goblins in the present day.
A look at the new Dual Shock 4: sleek, rounded, with a colored light on the front, and touchpad. Looking forward to hearing more about it.
Some new features: downloadable games can be played while they’re downloading, and if you turn off the system while in the middle of a game, you can resume it where you left off when powering on again.
Talking about video sharing, you can access the PlayStation menu and scroll through capture footage, view comments, and help friends out who are in trouble in their own games.
Discussing the new PSN, Sony’s moving towards more of a social network model. While PlayStation IDs/aliases will remain, they’d like to have players using real names. Their aim is to be predictive of a player’s need based on their style and type of play, ultimately reaching the point where a game that the player might want is already downloading for the player when they come home and boot up their PS4.
They’re also looking to connect mobile devices and tablets, allowing you to browse available games on your Vita or phone.
One-time developer and Gaikai CEO Dave Perry talked about creating “the first social gaming network with meaning.” They want to allow gamers the opportunity to spectate, post comments to their friends’ screens, and allow friends to take over a player’s controller to assist. They’ve also partnered with UStream to allow players to set up streaming times, and are working with developers to allow them to jump into a game to add signposts or modifications to the game live while friends can, for example, drop in a health potion.
Remote Play is getting a shout-out, with “Knack” playing on both the PS4 and the Vita’s screen similar to the Wii U.
Perry teased the ability to make PS1, PS2, PS3, and PS Mobile titles available on any platform. Sony has greenlit this project for the Gaikai team.
Worldwide Studios’ Mike Denny promised a synergy between the hardware, software, and what Sony is touting as the fastest gaming network in the world.
Continuing to show off the games for the PS4, Guerrilla Games’ Herman Hulst showed off “Killzone: Shadow Fall,” an early cinematic sequence setting the game in the year 2381. It looks like we got a little bit of gameplay (or at least the vision of gameplay) with one of the devs onstage navigating an ISA city after a massive explosion takes out numerous civilians. The big change here is the color scheme and lighting which tends away from the familiar blacks, grays, and browns of previous “Killzones.” The low-slung UI appears to have gotten an overhaul. It’s more sleek, glass helmet, than utilitarian HUD.
“Driveclub” is a next-gen team racing game, based on collaborative driving. “The gameplay isn’t specially about racing,” with the emphasis instead on challenges. It sounds a lot like some of the Autolog features that EA has rolled out across their racers with scope encompassing hundreds of racers simultaneously. The game lives on its first-person perspective, featuring meticulous details like variable light based on the way the cloth on the interior is brushed down. Event details, etc. will be shared across devices.
“Second Son” is the latest from Sucker Punch, the developers of “Infamous.” Nate Fox talked about the games in terms of a battle between an increasingly authoritative state and average citizens gaining super powers. We didn’t get to see any gameplay, just a trailer.
“Braid” developer Jonathan Blow talks about “The Witness,” his open world game built on “ah-ha” moments, in a world that’s compact where the player is able to discover something within 20 seconds of walking in any direction. It’s a puzzle game, but “the puzzles aren’t arbitrary,” Blow says. With 25 hours of gameplay in this PS4-exclusive
David Cage of Quantic Dreams showed off their new PS4 engine featuring hyper-realistic faces. Charting the history of film alongside the history of polygon counts in games, he talked about a vision of allowing players to detect emotional subtlety based simply on character facial animations. “We are now only limited by our imagination.”
By contrast, “LittleBigPlanet” developer Media Molecule is seeking to get away from what they describe as the “Tyranny of the polygon.” Their hope has been to allow players to jump into dreams, and to do that, they’ll be relying on the Move controller. In a video displaying Media Molecule devs sculpting using the controller, they found what started as an experiment became fun. It can be a resource for both beginners and advanced sculptors to create in 3D spaces. Whether the intent of this is make the Move controller a development tool remains to be seen.
Next up, Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono, allowing Sony to tout the support of their third party partners. Ono walked us through a history of Capcom’s relationship with Sony consoles, from “Resident Evil,” up through “Monster Hunter” on the PSP,” to “Resident Evil ” and “6.” For the PS4, Capcom has been developing Code Name Panta Rhei, a new development engine.
That engine is used in their in-development title, a brand-new IP codenamed “Deep Down,” a fantasy RPG (maybe) that looks like a heavily-detailed “Skyrim.” The game is being developed concurrently with the Panta Rhei engine.
Square Enix didn’t bring a game to the event, instead showing off a real-time software demo of their previously-revealed Luminous Studio engine. (If memory serves, some of this is the same footage we saw last year). “Final Fantasy” Brand Director Shinji Hashimoto told the audience to please be excited for this year’s E3.
Ubisoft CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot says that next-gen games will blend the experiences of the real and virtual worlds, allowing players to be brought closer together across platforms. Jonathan Morin from Ubisoft Montreal was up to talk about “Watch Dogs” and the idea of “Smart Cities” (think the Superintendent in “Halo 3: ODST”). With “Watch Dogs,” the player will be able to control the city and invade anyone’s privacy. In the demo (well, not quite a demo), the hero was able to follow a potential crime victim, track, and capture her assailant. Again, I’d really like see this game in action and not such a tightly-controlled interactive video.
Also: “Diablo III” is coming to both the PS4 and the PS3 as part of a strategic partnership between Sony and Blizzard. It will have a revised control scheme and full-screen, four-player co-op.
Bungie also came out to show the briefest few seconds of “Destiny” in-engine footage. The “shared world shooter” will launch simultaneously for the PS3 and PS4 with exclusive content for the new console.
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