Is it time to give your refresh button a rest?
As we near the one-year anniversary of the PlayStation 5’s release, it feels like a good time to address a lot of the questions from those who are still feverishly searching for one. It’s clear that, whether because of the ongoing pandemic or the shortage of certain materials, trying to secure a PS5 in the past year has grown increasingly frustrating. If you aren’t utilizing Twitter users who post deals to help you track down PS5s, chances are you’ll have to get extremely lucky in refreshing a store’s website. Many people are having to ask whether sitting at their computer or watching their phone just in hopes to see a restock alert is actually worth it.
When deciding whether it’s worth the hassle of trying to find that PS5 even if you might have a working PS4, it’s best to look at the major advantages you’ll be getting when switching over. The biggest advantage is no doubt the PS5-exclusive games. As of this time, there are not that many, but what is available is definitely impressive. Games like Returnal, Demon’s Souls, and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart all do a fantastic job of utilizing the system. While graphics are usually the showcase for a new generation’s games, this past jump has seen the solid-state drive (SSD) and DualSense controller as the features to take the spotlight.
It’s easy to undersell how revolutionary the SSD feels. PC users have known for years how big a quality of life improvement SSDs can be, so it’s great that console gamers are now getting a taste. You won’t have to spend time browsing your phone as games load, as you’ll now only have to wait a couple of seconds to go from the menu to in-game. Quickly booting up games is incredibly welcoming; it’s not the same leap that was seen from the PS3 to the PS4, but it’s still greatly noticeable.
One of the big surprises when first getting hands-on PS5 experience was the revolutionary DualSense. Controllers themselves haven’t advanced much since the early days of rumble on the N64, so to see such a large leap was refreshing. From the moment you get to experience it in games like ASTRO’s Playroom, you’ll understand why it’s been praised to the degree that it has. Returnal, for example, incorporates haptic feedback and adaptive triggers in a number of ways. You’ll be able to feel simulated raindrops as they “drop” on the controller, and the triggers will vary in resistance based on whether or not you’re using alt-fire on your weapon. Whether that’s worth upgrading an entire system for is up to the buyer, but it’s definitely a solid incentive.
Slowly but surely, many features promised when the PS5 was first revealed are also beginning to manifest. The SSD expansion slot is now finally being made available to use, which will allow players to have more usable space to install games. Of course, this also means you’ll have to go out and purchase the hard drive itself, which at this time will cost a pretty penny. However, over time they will continue to decrease in price. Unlike the Xbox Series consoles, which also feature a slot for SSD expansion, Sony did not opt to use a proprietary SSD, meaning you can buy any SSD as long as it fits within their recommended specifications. This was a problem Sony dealt with when the PS Vita was released, and perhaps they learned from that mistake which cost their handheld dearly.
Sony, as well as other publishers, have also made it easier than ever for those waiting to make the next generation jump. Almost every week you’ll hear about a game on PS4 receiving a PS5 upgrade, and oftentimes it’ll be free of charge. These include titles like Resident Evil Village, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, and even the upcoming remaster for Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water.
For those holding onto their older console because they’re still just playing PS4 games, the PS5 has a couple of really solid features. One of the most impressive aspects about the PS5, as well as one of the most surprising, was seeing how it handled backwards compatibility for the majority of PS4 games. If you still have a lot of PS4 titles in your backlog, there’s a good chance that if you play them on PS5, they’ll run even better. Many titles that aim for 60fps on PS4, but instead run at fluctuating frame rates, will routinely see that ironed out completely. Games like Blue Reflection or The Last Guardian (if you use an unpatched disc version) will smooth out the game’s framerate. There are also extreme cases like Disaster Report 4, which ran horribly on PS4, but now runs great on PS5.
However, from a UI standpoint, the PS5 could actually be seen as a bit of a step back from the PS4. All those themes that you might have purchased and enjoyed looking at on the PS4 are useless on PS5. There’s no longer an activity feed to see what your friends have been up to. Trying to navigate through menus to easily access trophies can be tiresome. Thankfully some annoyances are being addressed, but a lot of these problems seem here to stay.
Last year, it became clear that Sony and Jim Ryan, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment, had a goal in mind as to how they were going to handle the transition from PS4 to PS5. In speaking with gamesindustry.biz, Ryan’s statement about believing in generations is still somewhat puzzling. It leaves one left to wonder whether PS5 games being released on the PS4 will somehow be “held back” because they now have to work on the older console. When Spider-Man: Miles Morales was revealed as both a PS4 and PS5 title, many hand-waved it because it was a launch title. However, that tone changed when Horizon Forbidden West and the forthcoming God of War sequel ended up being announced as cross-generation titles.
Many consumers are now wondering whether upcoming PS5 games are also coming to PS4 as well, highlighting the question of whether the hassle of searching endlessly for a PS5 is worth it for what the system currently offers. At this point, with new games and the PS5’s backwards compatibility, the system has more than enough positives that make it worthy of a purchase. However, for more casual gamers, it might be worth waiting if you don’t want to spend your time scouring websites for the latest restocks.
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Evan has been passionately writing about video games and movies for years. He loves collecting physical media from around the world, including Blu-rays and video games.
PlayStation Making New PS5 Triple-A Online Game – TheGamer
No details have been announced, but we’ve dug through the job descriptions to piece things together.
PlayStation's London studio is currently hiring a team to get development underway for an upcoming online PS5 game. Based on the job descriptions, it seems the project is in the very early stages of development, so we likely won't see a trailer or even a name for a while yet.
What we do know is that this will be "an ambitious AAA project," one that will likely feature co-op gameplay and potentially some procedurally generated levels. The job descriptions also point to this being a live-service title, something Sony is currently lacking. There is Dreams, but that isn't triple-A, and Genshin Impact isn't on Xbox, but it's not a first-party game either.
The available roles range from leads with shipped titles under their belts to juniors just getting started, and even one that requires no games industry experience whatsoever. Each role also includes a clear commitment to increasing diversity across the studio, something that appears sorely needed if the almost all-white team photo on the website is anything to go by.
Many of the job listings require experience with online triple-A titles for console and PC, Unreal or Unity game engine knowledge, and procedural environment generation. There's also relatively standard stuff like character artists and AI programmers, so we can expect to be interacting with NPCs in the game.
One requirement for the lead level designer was "experience designing for online multiplayer combat," but whether that'll be PvP, PvE, or a mix of the two remains to be seen.
Each lead is expected to help build their own teams, and the studio is also hiring for an internal recruiter, so it looks like these hires are just the tip of the iceberg for the new project.
The appeal of PlayStation has always been its exclusives, so if this upcoming game is any good it could help PS5 sales stay even further ahead of the Xbox Series than they're predicted to be already. Sony's stock value plummeted by $20 billion after Microsoft's ABK purchase, so seeing new games are being worked on – especially in a genre as profitable online live-service – could ease shareholder fears.
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Issy is an avid film lover, writer, and game-player based in the UK. He combines his love of film and games in his writing, trying to find as many connections between the two mediums as possible. When he’s not writing, playing, or watching, Issy loves to DJ and look after his growing collection of houseplants, as they make him feel more adult.
The story on how John Madden came to be involved with wildly popular EA Sports NFL video game – USA TODAY
If the creators of the NFL video game so many millions of people have played had their way, the wildly popular franchise would not have been known simply as Madden.
According to a story ESPN published in 2016, legendary coach and analyst John Madden was the third choice of Trip Hawkins, the eventual founder of video game maker Electronic Arts (EA), to be the pitchman of the game that eventually became Madden NFL. An avid football fan, Hawkins’ first choice was legendary Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and former Vikings and Patriots quarterback and Cal Bears coach Joe Kapp.
Madden, who died at the age of 85 Tuesday, continues to be one of the game’s most prominent icons. He was first a player, though a knee injury in his rookie season in 1958 with the Philadelphia Eagles cut his career short. He went on to be the head coach of the Raiders, where he won a Super Bowl. He became a television analyst during NFL games and made the game accessible for millions of viewers. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the Class of 2006.
But it’s his constant presence on the video game franchise, arguably, that serves as his strongest connection to new generations of football fans and gamers alike.
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According to ESPN, Montana could not be involved because he had a conflicting endorsement deal with video game console maker Atari, while Kapp wanted royalties. According to the article, Madden was so impressed with Hawkins’ credentials — he went to Harvard and worked at Apple — that he agreed to sign on.
It proved to be a shrewd decision. Despite slow production and years of releases before it became a household name, Madden NFL has generated more than $4 billion since its inception and has sold more than 130 million copies, according to EA. Barron’s estimates that Madden NFL generates around $600 million annually for EA.
Still, Madden lamented one major mistake that cost him millions more.
According to ESPN, after “John Madden Football” was released in 1988, Hawkins approached Madden and said EA was about to have an initial public offering and that Madden could “have as much stock” as he wanted, though he would have to pay the initial price of $7.50 per share.
“Hell, I’m just a football coach,” Madden told ESPN. “I pointed with my finger, all knowing, and said, ‘I gave you my time. I’m not giving you my money.’ I showed him!”
In only the 10 years from 1989 to 1999, the price soared to $70 per share, according to ESPN.
Said Madden: “That was the dumbest thing I ever did in my life.”
Originally, the game was planned as being a seven-on-seven competition, due to the limitations of computing back when it was being initially programmed. Madden, however, balked at that idea and wanted the game — if he was going to appear on its cover — to be as authentic as possible.
“If it wasn’t real football, I didn’t want my name on it,” Madden told Grantland in January 2012. “I wanted it to be real football — pro football — with the sideline, the numbers, the hash marks. Everything had to be pro football.”
One other unique aspect of the game is how the plays and formations users can call and execute are taken directly from NFL playbooks. Madden sent a 1980 Oakland Raiders playbook to Hawkins and former EA producer Joe Ybarra.
To elaborate on that, the game’s producers sought to mimic the playbooks of the teams featured in the game.
“For our playbooks, I would say to (former San Francisco Examiner beat writer and consultant) Frank (Cooney), ‘Go find out what a team’s five signature plays are,’ ” Hawkins told ESPN. “He would go up to the assistant coaches, hand them paper. And they would draw up plays! We collected a huge amount of plays that way.”
The video game franchise has evolved over the years to incorporate new game play modes and features, as well as tweaks to game play. Its reach across the NFL is comprehensive. Gamers within each locker room undoubtedly have their own copies and challenge each other during games.
Even one of the game’s most reserved and self-controlled figures — and one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport — has his own exposure to the video game.
“I haven’t played it in quite a while,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday after he opened his press conference with a tribute to Madden. “When my kids were growing up, they would play it and I would watch them. They would beat me.”
Belichick grinned as he told that anecdote, likely thinking back on those memories with his children —two of whom, sons Steve (outside linebackers) and Brian (safeties), are assistants on New England’s staff.
Perhaps that’s the enduring legacy of the Madden NFL franchise. Similar to the way he used charm and humor in the broadcast booth to make the sport appealing to all, the video game allows even those without expertise in the NFL or even in football to simulate the strategy behind it.
“It’s a way for people to learn the game and participate in the game at a pretty sophisticated level,” Madden told Grantland.
Blizzard's new IP: Modern meets fantasy online survival game – TweakTown
Blizzard’s next big IP might be an interesting take on a Kid in King Arthur’s Court and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Today Blizzard confirmed it is working on an ambitious new IP. The unnamed project is a survival game that merges modern and fantasy together, as per details gleaned from a brief concept art glimpse. Job listings also confirm the new IP will be an online-based adventure which is Blizzard’s usual fare.
“Blizzard is embarking on our next quest. We are going on a journey to a whole new universe, home to a brand-new survival game for PC and console. A place full of heroes we have yet to meet, stories yet to be told, and adventures yet to be lived. A vast realm of possibility, waiting to be explored,” reads a job posting.
We’ve known about Blizzard’s new IPs for a long time. The company has been incubating this new IP and another unannounced multiplayer shooter for a while, and Blizzard is also trying to create a shared games engine to power its future titles.
Alan Adham discussed the new incubation pipeline back in August 2021:
“We’re tight-lipped about it, but our new game pipeline has been in development for many years and it’s greater than it’s ever been across our core franchises and mobile, new IP and new genres. I’m looking forward to our teams launching their already announced new games in the not-too-distant future and in due course announcing a few new ones that you’ve yet to hear about,” Adham said.
So what is Blizzard working on? Here’s a selection:
Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man’s Sky with the magic of VR.
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