Yesterday, I continued my PS4 coverage with a look at a slew of first party titles coming to the system, including Knack, which showed off some of the cooler perks of owning a PS4.
Today, I’m going to be looking at some of the more unconventional, yet ever so satisfying devs from outside the walls of Sony. The company in this last generation, has found great success within the Indie game field. While this exists as a commonality in the PC realm, consoles have a long way to go in providing the same leniency in options between the big AAA titles, and the smaller efforts from the unknowns. Some of the games available on the PSN, like Flower, Unfinished Swan, and Journey, are just some of the surprise hits that have helped to make the PSN a unique experience from what the online of the 360 and Wii had to offer.
In this way, Sony is making clear that the PS4 will continue this trend, and pushed this sentiment by having Jonathan Blow (creator of Braid), take front and center stage to explain his new game, The Witness. The games core revolves around exploration, and puzzle solving, but is promised to be a very involved and enriched experience, despite existing in a casually focused genre.
One of the main points Jon goes on about during the press conference, is “distilling that AHA” moment in gaming, those little epiphanies, that end up creating the greatest feelings of satisfaction. He also goes on to mention many games now a days, seek to wow you with the sheer mass of landscape to explore. He looks to design a game counter intuitive to this, and mentions the game having a very dense level of design, so as to entertain you, but with “the best use of your time” in mind.
One of the elements of “The Witness” that stood out to me, was the sense of “meaningful” Jonathan Blow kept mentioning in the game’s premise. Going as far to say “everything in the world is where it is for a reason”, ensuring that a lot of thought not only went into crafting an involving puzzle game, but always entertaining you with worthwhile gameplay, as opposed to padding the game with unneeded game time.
The trailer they had on hand started off in an autumnal forest, with nothing but the quaint sight of a phonograph accompanying you, the player. The trailer continues to sweep through the compact vision of this curious island, complete with layers of various environments.
One of the glimpses of a puzzle they showed involved creating pathways with small lines housed in a block. This in turn effected your surroundings, and in result, created a pathway for you to use.
Whether or not this is one of the rudimentary and reoccurring puzzles though out the game remains to be seen. There is a glimpse of vast inter relation within the island. In one example, beams of light shot up (possibly from solved puzzles) to meet a single point. Maybe opening up further areas in the game?
This follows through on what Jon said as a world with reason, and meaningful play, and it seems there is far more to the island, and how you can affect it en masse, than there appears. The whole experience has this air of mystery about it, and some of the screens were very reminiscent of my time playing Myst all of those years ago.
The game looks to be a fascinating inquisition, and with a developer like Jonathan Blow helming the project, you know the game is definitely going to deliver on a promise of something different. Let’s hope it’s timed exclusivity matches up with the launch window of the PS4.
Next up, comes a title from a developer I haven’t heard from in long enough. Bungie has long since been the darling of Halo and Microsoft fame, and quite the fps legacy to go along with it. After their partnership with Activision happened back in 2010, everyone was super curious as to what would come from the marriage of this financial behemoth, and the creative juggernaut.
Low and Behold, Destiny.
The introduction, and the awesomeness that ensued, was opened up by non other than Bungie studio co-founder, Jason Jones.
Jones makes mindful mention of Bungie’s legacy, and the amount of work in the fps arena they’ve already accomplished. With so much behind them, and Jones clearly not happy with resting on his laurels, looks to “turn the FPS genre on it’s head”. He hopes to do it with Destiny.
He indicates that Destiny will take place in a “persistent online world”, where players can grow and customize their characters. Jones continues to mention he knows the game can’t exist in a vaccuum, and looks to service both the competitive realms of the FPS, but also offer “a mind blowing” co-operative experience. We’ve seen Bungie pull both off before, even in just focusing on their with within the Halo series, and they seek to top themselves yet again.
The trailer showed off a series of beautifully rendered and far stretching vistas the likes of which Bungie is known for. Along with some quick bursts of some interesting alien designs, we got a very brief look at some co-operative and individual player roaming. All of this was set to the award winning score of one Marty O Donnell, who helped make Halo sound as epic as it did.
While no major gameplay footage was shown, I’ve always been a big fan of anything Bungie. Their creative output is normally only outdone with their good sense of humor and style. They always push themselves to create the compelling, and Destiny succeeding in it’s wild ambition would result in one more excellent PS4 title on my shelf.
Bungie hasn’t always been known for as incredibly timely in their releases, so let’s hope we see this title out before the end of 2014.
One of the last major titles discussed with any solid detail was again from Activision, but this time, from the Blizzard side of development.
While Blizzard being mentioned beyond their absence at a console event is rare, it looks as if the company seeks to further conquer the world of gaming. This is with a newly announced, and what looks to be exclusiveconsole port, of Diablo 3.
Other than the mention of “painstakingly optimizing” an appropriate controller interface, the Blizz rep (Chris Metzen) goes on to mention a thorough recreation process, to translate successfully all elements of the PC title to work on the PS4.
I would have brushed aside this announcement, with it’s incredible lack of information as an underwhelming one, from a massive conference. That would have been the case, if not for one mention of multiplayer for D3 on the PS4 that had me interested. 4 player split screen co-op will be a reality for the game, and will further encourage the console side of gaming, with four buddies being able to sit down, and play through the title together, all on one console. I love me some good split screen RPG.
That about wraps up all of the singular title mentions from the PS4 press conference. One of the only other titles mentioned (Capcom’s Working Titled Deep Down) was on display, but looked to show off the specifics of the Capcom developed game engine Panta Rhei, and not the title itself.
While there aren’t any more games to discuss from the conference, there are still a few more conceptual giants being shown off at the PS4 unveiling, which I will cover in my next update. The event was quite huge, and even beyond the hardware and games up for daring glimpses, there still exists a wealth of conceptual work I’ve yet to discuss from the showcase.
More info coming soon!