Over at Computerandvideogames.com there is a Daily Digest article detailing Oskari Hakkinen’s, head of franchise development at Remedy, interview that was published yesterday. Remedy (for context) was the studio behind the first two parts of Max Payne and Alan Wake. They are also currently working on a “next gen” project with a 20 member team.
The guys and girls at CVG took a look at 5 key features which will shape and define the next generation of gaming.
1) 4K Resolution displays - As posted earlier Sony has rumors surrounding its new line up of TV’s, one of them being a 80-inch 4k resolution monster. They are calling this ‘ultra HD’ res, which I personally think it an apt name. This resolution, to give specifics, is 3840x2160, which is double the current HD resolution of 1920x1080. An interesting side note, the new macbook pro is showing res at 2880x1800, so there could be advances for the PC gaming community as well simply due to spill over of LED based small tv’s being used as monitors. (last sentence is my own speculation)
2) Platform Ubiquity - PS3 Remote Play using the PSP, Wii U’s controller acting as its own screen, Xbox being smart with its…smart glass (I couldn’t think of anything witty). These aspects for the consoles have (and will) give players a more immersive experience, more options to play, and different ways to really get your game on. Two things I am personally interested in are the PS3/Vita Cross Buy options, and the Xbox’s smartglass, as both look to be very promising.
3) Enchanced Communication - No, this isnt a push to have MORE people yelling profanity and racial slurs in your ear, even though thats clearly the reason you play on line. (write note: Heavy sarcasm there people /sarcasm doesn’t change the font though) This is talking about expanding upon some of the advances the PC Master Race… I mean PC gamers have had for a long time now. Skype, video chat, and other social media platforms. There was a Microsoft job ad which revealed that the “next gen Xbox” will support Skype. The WiiU will also be giving you some tools, as it will be allowing customers to make video conference calls with their devices. the PSVita already has the ability to Skype so it is likely this feature (or something like it) will be added to Sony’s new Machine.
4) Digital Dominance - Going to your local game store browsing the shelves, wishing that there was a copy of <title you want> because you didnt pre-order it. Midnight launches standing in line to get your new console or game with 200 other people. These things (and the other joys of being in a small store with too many people) might be going the way of the dinosaur, minus the fiery comet of destruction. The Executive Vice president of EA games, Patrick Soderlund, said in an article that he believes the brick-and-mortar retail stores are going to be out of business in the next 10 years. Digital format is an option for many games now, and it seems to be a model which is sticking around. That said there is still the issue of you having to pay full price for bits of code floating over the internet. The biggest draw back to the “all digital all the time” business model is the disinterest of paying 69.99 for BF3 (to randomly select a game) in store AND online. Physical copies will (and frankly should) be a bit more expensive, so by that logic digital copies should be 20-30% cheaper.
5) Subscription Options - Monthly Subscription, a term normally associated with MMO’s, Netflix, and Porn, though mostly MMO’s. With Microsoft and Sony’s online service, both a paid and free version, being a bigger and bigger part of their model every day subscriptions are becoming a staple for most gamer’s, across any platform. Microsoft has been trialing a console subscription in the US where customers pay $99 upfront for a 360-Kinect bundle and 2 years of XBL gold. This is then followed by a 24month “contract” for $14.99 a month. For the Canadians in the room its upfront for this same bundle is roughly $400 kinect bundle=$299 gold sub=$48-60 per year, so the mark up on the subscription isn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. This model has been working well for Apple with its Iphone/Ipad products, and if done correctly (which Microsoft seems to have a good handle on) it could really help people who dont have the serious cash to drop on launch days on a console. This subscription model could be useful for every company as the PS3, for example, suffered pretty hard at launch due to its hefty price tag.
6) This is just a personal opinion, not covered on CVG, but I believe that their needs to be more diversity in this new generation of console gaming. Our market is so flooded with shooters that it makes it hard to have a great experience with other genre’s due to the pressure to “be the next Call of Duty”. We need more Racing games, RPG’s, Action Adventure games, Fighting games. The genre’s which carried us before the console shooter market boomed as it did. For every Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Gears of War (IE high quality shooters) there are 10 games filling the shelves which are not the proper level of quality. I like shooters, it is my primary genre of choice, but I have a hard time getting behind any thing new simply due to the amount of re-tread that the genre does to itself.
Of course, (to steal a line from reading rainbow) you don’t have to take *my* word for it
PS4 - rumors of ultra-HD resolution support to go in tandem with also rumored 4k resolution 80-inch TV from Sony
Firstly, lets start off with the ground work for this rumor.
Direct from Yahoo News (surprised me as well) We have a news piece with rumors of Sony planning to release a 80-inch LED TV with 4k resolution for the holidays. The story goes on to say that “a source close to Sony’s (SNY) manufacturing partners has given us details surrounding what could potentially be a category-changing television set from the Japanese vendor”. The source continues to say that “Sony is currently planning to introduce a flagship XBR LED TV that will be as large as 80-inches”. The estimate retail price thirty thousand dollars ($30,000).
Now you ask how this pertains to PS4, and that my friends is a great question.
With this rumored introduction of the 80-inch TV and 4k resolution, MORE rumors have become abound for the new Playstation console to also support this resolution. Much like Blu-ray, and to a less successful extentd 3D, Sony seems to be trying to push their tech in at every level so getting in early is a good way to give a consumer incentive to upgrade their television. Sony is currently already selling 4k Blu-ray players for roughly two hundred dollars ($200) so even now they are - to coin a phrase - planting the seed for this new brand of TV’s.
This is all great news. Everyone loves new shiny toys, the abillity to push graphical limits is already pretty impressive, and this may help TV, Movies, and Videogames ring that extra little bit out that they need/want and allow for broader scopes of pictures as we get closer and closer to “wall size display”. Or it could be a bunch of cool rumors to get people excited.
Of course, (to steal a quote from the reading rainbow) you don’t have to take *my* word for it
Halo 4 is fast approaching us and we are getting more and more info on how this game is shaping up.
The Latest news coming from the 343 studio’s camp is Specializations. Here is a snippet from their overview
“During their Spartan careers, players are offered Specializations through a variety of channels, allowing them to enlist in specific rank paths that come with armor sets, armor mods, emblems, and a variety of other components”
Once the player as advanced through the standard fifty rank levels, they gain access to a selection of Specializations. - This is very reminiscent of Prestige modes from other games but with a unique (and I think good) twist. - Each specialization is comprised of 10 level ranks itself, and once a player “enlists” within that specialization they need to complete that specialization to improve their overall rank, as well as be allowed to enlist in a separate specialization.
Each specialization unlocks the following items as you level up within that specific specialization. These will be items/mods which are geared towards your specific specialization.
- Armour Mod
- Armour Set - Helmet, Chest, Left/Right Shoulder
- Armour Set Skin - Texture skin for Helmet, Chest, Left/Right Shoulder
- Weapon Skin - Texture skin for one of the loadout weapons
- 4 Foreground Emblems
- 1 Background Emblem
- 1 Visor Color
The Specializations themselves are as follows:
Wetwork - Spartan optimization for stealth operations which focus on the elimination of an enemy target with the goal of leaving no tactical footprint behind. - The Stealth armour mod allows users to move quickly and silently in combat, executing enemy assassinations with lightening fast dexterity.
Pioneer - Spartan optimization for deployment into uncharted, hostile territory, such as uncolonized worlds or Forerunner constructs like Requiem, for the purpose of gathering and relaying information. - The Fast Track armour mod allows Spartans to gain more experiential data from each encounter, effectively ranking up quicker during the process. (This specialization is available at launch)
Engineer - Spartan opimization for the subversion, repair, and or reconstitution of a wide range of technology, including Conenant and Forerunner complex networks - The Drop Recon armour mod allows users to predict the locations and time of an ordnance drop, through an external suborbital monitoring system.
Tracker - Spartan optimization for long-range target tracking (trans-continent and off-world), particularly in scenarios where conventional tracking has failed or such a substantial time has passed that the trail has gone cold. - The Requisition armour mod allows user’s the abillity to recall their own ordnance request in order to acquire more helpful weapons in the field.
Rogue - Spartan optimization for single-operative missions which require a lone Spartan to be deployed on their own for incredibly long durations of time, even years if required - The Stability armour mod allows users to increase their aiming stability when being fired upon.
Stalker - Spartan optimization for target shadowing missions which require tactical invisibility despite operating at an extremely close range to the target itself. - The Nemesis armor mod allows users to target and track down previous attacking enemies, highlighting them on the armor’s passive sensors.
Pathfinder - Spartan optimization for deep, unconventional deployment within unknown enemy territory and with little to no assistance from command. - The Gunner armor mod decreases the time of weapon overheat when occupying a vehicle weapon position and increases Spartan speed while carrying a detached turret.
Operator - Spartan optimization for the operation and control of a wide range of vehicles: space, air, ground, and sea. - The Wheelman armour mod gives Spartans the ability to coax every bit of stamina and durabillity out of vehicles they are piloting
Until just recently, I didn’t even know about about PlayStation Mobile. The mobile market has always been a bit standoff-ish with me due to little travel time, and a sufficient backlog of games across Consoles and PC. What I am finding out though, is that PlayStation Mobile is a project to have developers sign on to the service to create content for the Anrdoid/Vita mobile content platform.
This has been announced by Sony during Gamescom and there is a crazy amount of developers attached to this already, with Vlambeer (Super Crate Box) previously known to be working on Playstation Mobile content. Some “out of left field” companies include THQ, Tecmo Koei, Sega, and Q? Entertainment. With 39 internation companies and 46 Japanese companies signed up so far (as of Aug 14th) there looks to be a good amount of content coming down the pipe. It looks to be a good day to own an Android/Vita.
Full list of the companies (both Japanese and International) are here