by Joseph Leray
Sony used last night's indie showcase to not only introduce the raft of self-published games coming to the PlayStation 3 and Vita in 2013, but also to announce two new first-person shooters for their upcoming PlayStation 4: Lukewarm Media's "Primal Carnage: Genesis" and Zombie Studios' "Blacklight: Retribution."
If those sound familiar, it's because they've already been released on the PC.
The original "Primal Carnage" was a class-based, multiplayer, dinosaur-vs.-humans affair, but "Genesis" is an episodic, story-driven game, according to Lukewarm's post on the official PlayStation Blog. The choice to take the series in this direction was "due to the versatile nature of creating a story episode by episode," says Lukewarm Media founder Ashton Andersen.
"It allows us a lot of wiggle room, because one unique advantage of the episodic model is the ability for player feedback from the first episode to affect the development of the following episodes," Anderson explains. If fans respond negatively to a certain mechanic or set-piece in one episode, Anderson promises that Lukewarm will steer the development of future episodes accordingly.
Andersen is promising a mix of open-world exploration and linear action for the next-gen version of "Primal Carnage," touting the Unreal Engine 4 as a way to capture the "magic" of the prehistoric world, "from towering behemoths like the brachiosaurus and the tyrannosaurus rex to smaller creatures like the velociraptor and the dilophosaurus."
I don't mean to be negative, but we weren't exactly jazzed by the demo at last year's PAX, citing "lethargic controls on the dinosaur side and a map that felt both oppressively empty and hard to navigate," so you'll forgive my tempered reaction to "Genesis." Still, here's hoping Lukewarm learned something from their time with the original "Primal Carnage" -- maybe a change in direction and added support from Sony will be just Dr. Ian Malcolm ordered.
Zombie Studios' "Blacklight: Retribution" is a more straightforward port: the free-to-play PC first-person shooter is making the leap to home consoles with the same structure and content, though creative lead Jared Gerritzen told Destructoid that his team is "redeveloping everything."
"The content and gameplay will still be the same, but we're redeveloping all of the controls for the [DualShock 4] controller," Gerritzen explained. "We're going to start using the touch screen for it, and doing all sorts of fun stuff with that. Anything that makes sense that the PlayStation 4 has we're going to try and integrate it into the game."
"Blacklight" made waves on Steam because it was a free-to-play game that didn't feel particularly exploitative, and Gerritzen hopes to further improve the monetization system on the PlayStation 4, especially since Zombie Studios are self-publishing the port: they're in total control of every aspect of the game. "We're completely restructuring the monetization system," he said. "It will still be a free-to-play, which is really exciting, but we're going to be doing a lot of new things with it."
"If we can even make a moderately successful free-to-play that's going to be a huge success for us," Gerritzen elaborated. "With most free-to-plays, the money that you have coming in is not going to buy a Lamborghini or anything, it's to keep the game going. If it becomes a success then the game will become even bigger and we'll be able to put it back into the community and all that fun stuff."
As for "Blacklight: Retribution" itself: it's an online multiplayer game with a heavy focus on customization. One of its defining mechanics is the Hyper Reality Visor, which allows players to see the entire battlefield, locate enemies, and coordinate with teammates. It will feature nine different modes and ten maps upon release (whenever that is -- Sony aren't saying).
If you're interest is piqued, be sure to check out Destructoid's full interview with Zombie Studio's creative lead Jared Gerritzen: they cover everything from prototyping, to PlayStation 4 development, to why his designers called him "a f*cking idiot" for introducing the see-through-walls mechanic.