PS3 Attitude

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PS3 Attitude

Friday, 26 September 2008

SCEA hints at new LBP Public Beta Key Locations

We're assuming that, just like the vast majority of the rest of us, you didn't get a LittleBigPlanet public beta key. If you did, we hate you and you can stop reading the following. Still here? Great. With the public beta scheduled to end on October 11th there have been a lot of rumours flying around about a second bout of keys showering down on eager would-be level creators. Well, Mark Valledor, Marketing Manager over at SCEA, has posted on the PS blog some vague (note: not vague) clues about where these keys might be found.

The following sites are quoted as being hotzones for new beta key sightings.
No mention of when keys will magically appear on the above sites so you'll have to just perpetually F5 the lot of them in the vain hope of eventually being greeted with instructions of how to get an early look at Sackboy and friends. And then pray to all that is holy that the servers don't implode.

UPDATE: ThreeSpeech have now posted a new trailer entitled "Play Time" for your perusal.




*We don't have any keys but feel free to F5 the hell out of us anyway. And click on some of our sponsors' links. And buy some merchandise while you're at it. It's all for a good cause.

Source: PS Blog

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Strewth! Silent Hill won't be coming home to Oz.

The silly season of banning games outright appears to be continuing with ScreenPlay, the Australian online technology supplement of broadsheet The Age, reporting on the decision of Australia’s Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) to ban Silent Hill: Homecoming.

This is the fourth game of late to receive the wrath of banners in Australia, joining an ignoble blacklist already populated by Shellshock 2: Blood Trails, Dark Sector and Fallout 3. The latter two finally made it through the rigorous classification hoops after some cuts; Fallout 3 needing to change all references to morphine to the euphemistic "Med-x" for example.

We suppose the gratuitous violence which includes “[...] ramming pipes through enemies’ heads and stomping on their faces to pull them out, tearing their entrails loose with an axe, or simply some good old-fashioned bludgeoning.” just didn't sit well with the antipodean law-makers. One wonders how the hell Dead Space got past their judgmental eyes however.

Silent Hill: Homecoming will be released in November (apart from in, you know, the above), is developed by Double Helix and is the sixth game in the popular survival horror series.

Source: ScreenPlay - via Edge Online (quote from Edge Online)

Kratos Sackboy available in UK's PlayStation Official Magazine

You may have heard the rumour, but we're here to confirm the truth.

Your Kratos Sackboy redemption code is waiting for you in the latest edition of PlayStation Official Magazine UK, which also includes an in-depth review of the game on everyones lips.

Subscribers of the magazine received their copies this morning (like me!).

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Thursday, 25 September 2008

American PS Store Update For September 25th

WipeOut! WipeOut! WipeOut! WipeOut! WipeOut! WipeOut!
Burnout! Burnout! Burnout! Burnout! Burnout! Burnout! Burnout!
Mega Man! Mega Man! Mega Man! Mega Man! Mega Man! Mega Man!

What is a GEON?

Downloadable Games
WipEout HD ($19.99)
Burnout Paradise PSN ($29.99)
GEON Emotions ($9.99)
Mega Man 9 (free demo, $9.99 to buy)

Add-on Game Content
BUZZ! QuizTV Question Pack, National Geographic: Safari ($7.99)
BUZZ! QuizTV Question Pack, Videogames ($5.99)
BUZZ! QuizTV Question Pack, Sci-Fi ($5.99)
Soul Calibur IV Customization Equipment 2 ($1.99)

Rock Band
“Limelight (Original Version)” – Rush ($1.99)
“Tom Sawyer (Original Version)” – Rush ($1.99)
“Red Barchetta” – Rush ($1.99)
“The Camera Eye” – Rush ($1.99)
“Vital Signs” – Rush ($1.99)
“Witch Hunt” – Rush ($1.99)
“YYZ” – Rush ($1.99)
“Moving Pictures (Album)” – Rush ($10.99) This pack includes “Tom Sawyer (Original Version),” “Red Barchetta,” “YYZ,” “Limelight (Original Version),” “The Camera Eye,” “Witch Hunt,” and “Vital Signs” by Rush.

“Bandage” – Hot Hot Heat ($1.99)
“Love Spreads” – Stone Roses ($1.99)
“She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult ($1.99)
“Shoot the Runner – Kasabian ($1.99)
“Sorrow” – Bad Religion ($1.99)
“You’re No Rock n’ Roll Fun” – Sleater Kinney ($1.99)

Game Demos (free)
NBA 09 The Inside Demo
NBA Live 09 Demo
Mega Man 9 Trial

Game Videos (free)
PAIN Amusement Park-New Characters Video
Resistance 2 Shattered History Trailer
Brothers in Arms: Hell’ Highway Eyes Only Network Trailer
Burnout Paradise Bikes Network Trailer
Dead Space Animated Comic Issue #5 Network Trailer
Dead Space Animated Comic Issue #5
Tomb Raider: Underworld Gameplay Network Trailer

Movie and Blu-ray Trailers (free)
88 Minutes Blu-ray Trailer
Made of Honor Blu-ray Trailer

PS3 Wallpaper (free)
Soul Calibur IV #5 Tira Witch
Soul Calibur IV #6 Voldo Jack-O-Lantern

PS3 Themes (free)
Buzz! Quiz TV
Wipeout HD Theme - All Teams #1

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Sony VP discusses PS3 "Advantage"

SCEA’s Vice President of Product Marketing Scott Steinberg has posted on Edge Online a rallying report stating why he believes the PS3 is the console that best embodies "consumer choice" and the "future of gaming".

Highlighting the PS3's future-proofing technology and ten year plan, Scott rattles off a veritable shopping list of reasons why Sony's position in the industry is not only strong right now but will only get stronger and soon leave the competition behind. Keywords like "blu-ray" and "first party exclusives" are offered as keystones in the Sony battle plan but he also discusses the PSN's less restrictive download constraints.

Regarding the burgeoning digital downloading model itself (which Microsoft have publically come out as a staunch proponent of) Steinberg believes Sony offers the best of both worlds. He claims: "PlayStation offers both downloadable content and Blu-ray, built in. That’s a choice consumers want. We’ve got you covered if you’re a downloader, and we’ve got you covered if you want to have that collectible."

Touching on the games front (where we believe the battle will be won or lost) the Marketing President exalts Sony's position on diversity as, not only are "the biggest blockbusters [only] found on the PS3", the garage scene is supported and thriving in what he likens to "the 16-bit days".

We're preaching to the converted of course but it's interesting the note the overall tone of the piece. It's been a while since we've seen Sony coming out with such bullish comments. "The brilliance of PS3 is that it’s not a dead, dumb terminal like other machines" may not be an overt attack on Sony's rivals but when it's immediately followed with "if you’re a competitor I’ve got bad news for you" you can't help but feel that Sony, finally finding traction in this generation, are brimming with confidence with a future outlook that can only be seen as positive.

"In the next few years, you’re going to start to see us separate from the herd. Some of the other platforms are going to look very dated because their life spans are so much shorter than ours." Strong words; only time will tell how prophetic they might be.

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Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Dead Space Web-site Officially Creeps Us Out

Have you been following the weekly updates up on NoKnownSurvivors.com? Eh, yeah - neither have we. We reported some time ago about the Dead Space promotional site's emergence but since then we have been more focused on things like bans rather than the spooky events on board the Ishimura. Better late than never of course and we are now masochistically enjoying playing catch-up.

For you fellow late-comers out there: the evolving stories are presented over nine weeks with two separate tales of woe and dismemberment spanning four episodes each. The attentive of you will immediately note that this insinuates a missing episode. Correct, patrons of the Dead Space Grind-house double-bill will also be treated to an "intermission". Considering the freakiness of these stories we'd like to recommend this period become known as the "time to change your pants interlude".

The first misery-fest has now ended; a story of unreciprocated love onboard the Ishimura entitled "Misplaced Affection." We are hence now in the aforementioned moratorium with the next chilling tale ("13") to start on Monday the 29th of September.

As the stories are apparently linked, we'd recommend visiting the site and checking out the five available episodes in preparation for Monday's new instalment. Note: the site is somewhat experimental with each chapter taking the form of different content therefore you may uncover video, interactive media, dossiers and sound files to help you unravel the lamentable stories.

For those more interested in free swag there is also the ability to partake in some sci-fi sleuthing with the Ishimura Aptitude Test. With the answers to each of the chapters' brainteasers found scattered (literally) around each of the episodes, intrepid fact-finders can decipher the ongoing mystery and put themselves in the running for one of a hundred free copies of the game. You'll need to register (and be over 18) and considering the splash screen is a mélange of mutated body parts (and the prodigious amount of crying in the first story); we'd suggest also skipping breakfast.

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PS3's Bioshock gets custom Little Sister animations and a Ferris Wheel?

Grant Chang, animator over at 2K Boston and diligent worker on the Add-On Content Challenge Rooms section, has posted on the PS blog about his work on the soon to be released PS3 version of the popular sub-aquatic FPS Bioshock.

Apart from revealing that the Little Sisters will display an extended repertoire of animations, Chang also mentions the inclusion of a Ferris Wheel in one of the new rooms. Chang says, "The finished asset was actually physically in the original release of the game, but never used. It was a shame, because it’s a really well crafted piece."

From the screenshot above it surely does look like an interesting artefact which we look forward to playing with. Bioshock surfaces on the PS3 on October 21st in North America and on the 24th in other territories.

Source: PS Blog

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TheSixthAxis spend four hours with Sackboy

Our good friends over at TheSixthAxis have written up their first four hours playing LittleBigPlanet, and all we can say (apart from being green with envy) is that the title seems to live up to everyone's expectations.

Head on over to read more about their four hours with Sackboy - you won't be sorry you did...

"Make no mistake, Microsoft and Nintendo must be kicking themselves: if LBP isn't a system seller then the games industry's dead to us and we're starting a website about kittens that can't spell instead. From the very beginning, when you first boot the game from the XMB, LittleBigPlanet's insane production values and complete easy of use scream out. The game's extended later development has paid off, and whoever thought about hiring Fry for the voiceovers deserves a pay-rise..."

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Qore UK is on the way

SCEE and Future Publishing have announced an agreement today to bring a digital magazine to the UK, in exactly the same way SCEA and Future combine in the US to bring Qore to the North American masses.

Whether the UK version of Qore will share the same name is unclear. What we do know is that the new digital mag will include the same mix of HD video, previews and 'exclusive content' (i.e. wallpapers, demos,Beta invites) that Qore already delivers to our US readers.

The new venture will launch in early 2009.

"We are very excited to further strengthen our relationship with Sony, working together on this ground-breaking product. As the publisher of Official magazines and digital content for Sony PlayStation in the US and UK, we are creating powerful integrated media solutions for readers and advertisers across different platforms, in print and online. This product will provide a unique way for advertisers to connect directly with gamers through their consoles using the very latest high definition content." - Robert Price, UK Chief Executive at Future
So, the sweepstake is open as to what to call the UK mag. Since the US does seem to be SCE's 'Qore' market and us Europeans tend to get everything late, maybe ours will be called 'Qlose but no cigar', 'Qeep on waiting' or 'proQrastinate'.

What do you think it should be called?

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Pure Motorstorm Fuel: Off-Road Racing Comes in Threes

In the early PS3 days Motorstorm languished in an unchallenged pole position on the console. With some of the most dazzling graphics to be found anywhere in the current generation of consoles, it earned a deserved following of fans.

Never before had brutal off-road racing been so well executed through the combination of a great physics engine and extremely impressive AI programming.

Baja and Colin McRae: DiRT followed later to a race hungry audience. DiRT was brilliantly designed to build on what had come before in the series, and impressed gamers and critics alike with a mighty Metacritic score of 83. It lacked the open-world feel of Motorstorm, opting instead for a larger number of tracks and a more realistic approach.

It was only a matter of time before the gaming public had confirmation of Evolution Studios’ upcoming sequel, Motorstorm: Pacific Rift. This time things are different though. Whilst the success of Motorstorm was still shining, a couple of developers were squirreling away on new IPs, namely Pure (from Black Rock Studios) and Fuel (from Asobo Studios).

Pure is now available on the high street and has been doing well with a Metacritic score of 83 – beating the lofty heights set by the original Motorstorm by just one point. With some beautiful graphics, clever trick systems and a huge variety of customization options, Pure has clearly been very carefully designed.

Previously, I was rather short with my hands-on with Pure. Having played some more of the game I feel that it is only fair to address this now. Pure is an exceptionally playable game. All the pieces which constitute a “good” racing game are there in spades. It simply comes down to personal taste as to which a player prefers between Pure and Motorstorm.

I maintain that the latter is my first option, but hasten to add that this is only because it released first.

What about Fuel? Four years in the making and not due for a release until 2009, does this extraordinary racer have the drive to throttle the competition?

The game certainly can’t be criticized for a lack of ambition; containing a predicted 5,000 square miles of continuous terrain this is surely the (physically) largest game that has been attempted. With a proprietary engine doing some serious number crunching behind a veil of dazzling graphics the gaming populous is sure to fall over its collective self to get hold of this when it is released next year.

The big question is, will it beat the Evolution powerhouse that has been building up the hype train in recent months?

Set on a Pacific island crammed full of new dangers such as lava and water hazards, Motorstorm: Pacific Rift is the very epitome of brutal off-road racing. With new vehicles, split-screen multiplayer options and a bigger and better overall package than its predecessor, can MSPR pull ahead of the competition in the coming year?

Only time will tell, and we’ll probably have to measure the difference in hundredths of a second.

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Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Punisher: No Mercy Exclusively Coming to the PSN

The PS blog has announced an upcoming exclusive for the PSN in the form of "Punisher: No Mercy". The first FPS game to tackle the Marvel multiverse the game will see Frank Castle in a new adventure of vengeance, skull-symbolism and, no doubt, ultra-violence.

The Punisher has had a troubled past, and we're not just referring to that whole "family getting wiped out" business. A previous PS2 version of the game was criticised by some as taking its violent element a step too far with graphic torture scenes yet still managed to shift buckets of units for a character recognised by Marvel as probably their most "anti-hero" in nature.

The new game will utilise the Unreal 3 engine and is being developed by Hungary based Zen Studios. Game producer Zsolt Kigyossy has promised to answer questions directly on the blog about the future title and we'll also see if we can "extract" some screenshots out of the guys from Budapest. We won't be putting heads through windows of course; we'll be relying on our natural charm and, if that doesn't pan out, pleading usually seems to work.

Source: PS Blog

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Hydrophobia exclusive artwork revealed - Blade Interactive Interview Part II

Welcome back to the second part of PS3 Attitude's interview with Blade Interactive. In the first part we talked with Rob Hewson and Pete Jones about the setting and story of Hydrophobia. In part two we discuss game mechanics, what it's like developing on the PS3 and the future of Blade Interactive's new development tools/toys: InfiniteWorlds and the much extolled HydroEngine. Finally, we share some exclusive artwork of never before seen characters from the Hydrophobia universe - with a couple of new screenshots from the latest build of the game thrown in for good measure.


[PS3 Attiude]: One would expect that the use of a breathing apparatus would add an extra dimension to the game when certain areas become flooded. Will players have the ability to revisit previous locations that are now submerged to explore and interact with in a different way?

Rob Hewson: Yes, and sometimes the change is much more immediate. You can fight through an area one time and there might be a foot of water flowing around and effecting the environment, another person might play through the same area and blow out walls or windows causing a great deal of water to flow into the scene, meaning perhaps the gameplay switches to floating cover. Another player might shoot fuel barrels which let even more water into the scene but also spawn floating fuel fires which are carried around with the flow and find they need to resort to underwater action.


[PS3A]: An aquaphobic in a drowned world has got to be the epitome of bad luck. How does Kate’s hydrophobia manifest in the game? Does it affect her actions and do we, as players, need to manage her fears in order to progress in the game? Or does she just suck it up and get on with things with the phobia acting more as a plot device rather than a game mechanic?

[RH]: A movie is primarily told in images, with Hydrophobia we wanted the story to be told primarily through interactions. The phobia system begins as a game mechanic where, for example, Kate's survivors instinct kicks in when she is in extreme danger of drowning and highlights possibilities for escape. That mechanic is portrayed with a particular aesthetic and in the particular context of Kate's dark side to reveal a deeper narrative thread.

As that thread is explored and pushes Kate's character arc forward it feeds back into the development of Kate's abilities and releases a greater power. So yes it is a plot device, and yes it is a game mechanic. The two are intertwined and evolve symbiotically.


[PS3A]: Kate joins a long list of strong female gaming protagonists. With her titular phobia and reluctant hero persona however she does appear to be somewhat more subtle and grounded than some of her fellow fairer sex counterparts. Was there a particular reason why you chose a woman for the lead character?

[RH]: But do we really have a long list of strong female characters, or do we just have a list of unlikely action heroes with impossible figures? We approached our main character in the same way we did for the setting as a whole. We didn't want another space marine, soldier or back-flipping wonder woman; we've got plenty of those already.

We wanted to create a character who is multi-dimensional, reluctant, flawed... somebody you could truly empathise with. Kate grew into the character she is over the course of countless hours of conversations and debates. As you know she has evolved visually several times, that’s a cosmetic reflection of the way we allowed her to grow around the game, to the point where we can't imagine Hydrophobia starring anybody other than Kate ... she has become almost real to us and we hope she will be for player as well.

[PJ]: And then there’s the dreads. We wanted Kate to have a unique look. When, as she will do, she graces the cover of the specialist press we want her to be immediately recognisable.

There is one interesting footnote to this. We have made Kate’s sexual preferences somewhat ambiguous and although we never intended this directly, some lesbian gaming sites have been speculating as to whether Kate is in fact a “baby dyke” – their words not mine you understand.


[PS3A]: As PS3 Attitude is obviously focused on delivering news specific about the PS3, can you comment on any PS3-centric aspects of the game’s development? With the game also coming out on the 360 how has developing on the two different architectures impacted development? How would you describe your experience with the PS3 so far?

[RH]: PS3 is a different beast, the key is not to think you can just do things the same old way and expect to get the performance you need. From a designer's point of view we don't notice any difference, InfiniteWorlds is platform agnostic, so we can all be editing the same level simultaneously while play testing it on completely different platforms.

The tech team has had to develop specific solutions to take maximum advantage of the PS3s abilities, but that all goes on behind the scenes. At the end of the day I can have a PS3 on my desk playing the same game as the guy opposite me who has a 360. I make a change, he immediately sees it update on his screen, that's why we love InfiniteWorlds.


[PS3A]: From watching the tech demo the HydroEngine is obviously an impressive and powerful piece of software. With studios like EA announcing plans to licence the engines behind their games (i.e. Dead Space) is this a direction Blade Interactive would be interested in? Are there any plans to licence HydroEngine as a middleware component or will it stay strictly in-house?

[PJ]: We're keeping our options open. Clearly we'd like to get Hydrophobia out there first, but after that making the technology available to others would be a benefit to the whole industry, so it's definitely an option.


[PS3A]: Can you comment any more on your new InfiniteWorlds development suite? Will all future games developed by Blade Interactive utilise this new tool and will it also be kept in-house?

[RH]: InfiniteWorlds is phenomenal. Real-time, in-game, on platform editing where multiple users can be working in the same area at the same time. Now we've got InfiniteWorlds we'll never go back. In the early days we looked at other engines and editors, and they fell far short of our aspirations for Hydrophobia, so we built our own and approached it from a completely new angle.

The great thing about using our own tools is that we get to design them around our needs, it puts us in control and allows us to push things which we couldn't otherwise do if we were licesning someone else's technology.

[PJ]: The importance of IW cannot be understated. It has changed the way we make games, moving the creation of the game environment from the artists to the designers (where it should be!) and boosting productivity by an order of magnitude in the process.

IW has one further trick up its sleeve. It creates a game that looks better than anything that’s out there, but gives it an impossibly small memory footprint allowing for the very real possibility of digital distribution – watch this space.

And yes, in the future we also see IW licensed out as middleware.


[PS3A]: Time for the obligatory questions we ask all studios. Will there by any DLC for Hydrophobia? What about Home and trophy support?

[PJ]: Hydrophobia will be released episodically, trophy support – absolutely.


Released episodically, Boston as the setting for Hydrophobia 2 and new character reveals. We don't know what we've done to deserve all these exclusives but we promise to keep doing ... whatever it is we're doing.

Check out the below for an exclusive look at concept art of some of the game's characters: the regal Benedict (one of the Five Founding Fathers?), the androgynous Charlotte, the "Oldman", an irascible Kurt Cisco and, of course, our heroine, Kate Wilson. And is that her left hand glowing? A portent to the nascent powers Rob hints at above perhaps?



We'd like to thank Pete and Rob for taking the time to talk with us about Hydrophobia. Planned for a release in the Spring of next year, we've pencilled in another chat closer to the release date so expect an update some time in March/April 2009.

By the way, Rob also revealed what the population of the Queen of the World is. First person to guess correctly in the comments section (it's a nice round number) wins a prize*.

*Note: prize may be the standard PS3 Attitude virtual cake award.

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Monday, 22 September 2008

PS3 Slim one step closer to reality

We have a sneaky feeling that you love your PS3. It gives so much yet asks for so little in return. After all, all it really desires is some real estate beneath your mammoth HD plasma screen and the giddy tingle of electricity, piped directly into its power source.

The greedy of you out there are probably shaking your heads at this trade-off and thinking: "No, look at the size of the thing! It should take up LESS space, not consume the power of FIVE refrigerators and while you're at it - it should be even CHEAPER!"

Well, obviously Sony agrees with you on this as if it can make a PS3 more power efficient (and smaller) it will save on their build costs thus driving down what you will pay for it on the high-street.

Rejoice! Japan's 日刊工業新聞 (Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun - Daily Business and Technology Newspaper) reports that Sony and Toshiba will go into full scale production of the 45nm cell CPU next year resulting in a cheaper chip that also consumes 40% less power (That's three fridges versus five if you're still counting).

Though Sony have reiterated time and time again that there will be no further PS3 price cuts this year, it's a safe bet that, as soon as their internal costs are driven down by cheaper hardware, they will pass these savings on to a consumer base who are still yet to embrace the PS3 as they have done its predecessor, the PS2. It would also be a good time to redesign the aesthetic of the PS3's monolithic "brick" appearance as we all know people love getting things slimmer and smaller. Our guess is that you should expect to see a PS3 Slim model some time around Fall 2009.

Source: Nikkan.co.jp via Engadget.

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Bombardment of LBP related news

Fans of Sackboy unite! In the last few hours we've been bombarded with news concerning Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet. Shall I kick off with the good news or the bad news?

Let's start with the bad news (for originality).

According to a producer of LBP one major feature of the game will not be included on the game disc. More specifically, he stated:


"The ability to create with your friends online will be available with the first important update for the game, after its release. Available from the beginning, however, will be the offline create feature with up to 4 people 'working' together on one PlayStation 3. A specific date for the release of the update doesn't exist. It is, however, on the top of our list".
Wait a minute; this is not really 'bad' news. It will take us a month or two to get to know all the features of the game anyway. The update will be available (hopefully) by the time we've honed our creative skills.

And now the good news! First of all, the development of LBP is now completed and the title has 'gone gold'. It will hit the stores in October; 21st for America, 22nd for Europe and 24th for the UK.

Sony also included in their statement that a PS3 bundle is on the way.

The European PS3 bundle (80GB) is scheduled for October 29th.

Furthermore, additional content will be available through PlayStation Network on the day of release, but for a limited amount of time. This extra free content will comprise of an astronaut suit and a rare t-shirt ("I was there Week One") for Sackboy.

So, pre-order LittleBigPlanet already!*

*Remember, ordering games through our site generates additional revenue for our charities. If you were due to pre-order LBP anyway, please do it through PS3 Attitude to help the cause...

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Hydrophobia sequel revealed - Blade Interview Part 1

When our friends over at ThreeSpeech posted their three part exposé on next year's survival-on-a-ship adventure Hydrophobia we here at PS3 Attitude were eager to see if the game's creators were prepared to divulge any more details.

Luckily for us all, Rob Hewson and Pete Jones, game designer and Managing Director respectively at Blade Interactive, were more than happy to take the time and talk with us. During the two part interview we cover such diverse topics as advances in real-time fluid dynamics, suicidal adversaries and the current position of strong female characters in gaming.

They even exclusively reveal the location of the sequel!

For those of you who haven't checked the ThreeSpeech interview (which we heartily recommend), here's the short version: It's the mid 21st century and things are not looking too good for mother earth. The oceans have risen and the remaining dry land, overcome by the Great Population Flood, can not support mankind which results in global chaos.

Salvation for the wealthy comes in the form of the Queen of the World (which we've already revealed), a massive floating sea-city where things are also about to take a turn for the worse when the ship experiences a terrorist attack perpetrated by the Malthusians. Named after English economist Thomas Robert Malthus (who predicted the whole population meltdown crisis 350 years prior to these cataclysmic events) the marauding eco-militants espouse a different methodology: "Save the world, kill yourself."

Thrown into the watery mix is Kate Wilson, one of the Queen's security officers who must now not only escape from the sinking vessel but uncover the secrets of the microcosmic pseudo-society all the while battling again her own fear of water.

On to the interview:

PS3 Attitude: During the Three Speech interview you candidly discuss how the tech came first which, in turn, drove the narrative. The story deals with some heavy issues such as climate change, terrorism and the fate of humanity; all quite deep and cinematic in tone. Was the decision to involve respected scriptwriters and directors to create a formidable story that is worthy of the advances in technology something that was key to the project?

The advances alone in water physics would pique most people’s interest in the game but Blade Interactive seems to be really pushing the boat out here (pun unintended) in terms of narrative quality.

Pete Jones: Yes, absolutely. We don't believe in doing things by halves, we set out to make a truly great game, not a glorified tech demo.

We are very serious about the message being portrayed. Overpopulation & scarcity of resources is going to be the hot issue of the 21st century – we’re already seeing this happen.

We also wanted to make our terrorists real; to stand for something, not just to be game cannon fodder. It’s about treating gamers as intelligent, well informed people. If they check online they will see that Malthus was indeed real and that these people are fighting what they believe to be a very real war. That is a mean feat to pull off without upsetting any political, ethnic or religious groupings out there. I suppose it boils down to creating a world that feels real, not just a story.

Rob Hewson: The HydroEngine technology is truly astounding, and allows for an incredibly unique and dynamic gameplay experience, and we wanted this feeling of uniqueness to echo through the entire experience.

Hydrophobia has its own heart and soul, when you pick up the game we want you to get the feeling of discovering a brand new universe, not fighting yet another improbable alien invasion, or facing off against the Nazis yet again... we want you to think wow, this is a world I'd never imagined before, and we want you to feel that it's relevant to the world we live in today.

[PS3A]: The game takes place in the mid 21st century where, over a few short decades, our world has seen a dramatic rise in water levels. Considering the futuristic setting, can we expect to see associative advances in in-game technology? We know Kate can manipulate controls on the ship with her MAVI engineering tool but will weapon and other gadgetry progressions over the fifty years or so also feature - or has the decline of civilisation stymied such advancements?

[RH]: As you say, the world has been engulfed by the Great Population Flood, and inevitably that has a negative effect on technological advancement in general. Of course things have developed, the Five Founding Fathers of the Queen of the World are all examples of big corporations who have prospered while the rest of the world drowns, so there is development but it is unbalanced.

We discussed this very early on. We all felt that the future shouldn’t be a brave new world of gleaming technology where even your toaster is intelligent, that’s actually the easy thing to do, but it doesn’t feel real.

It comes back to this issue of relevance and tangibility again, we want you to buy into this world and invest your belief in it. So we focused on what the up and coming technologies were and how they were predicted to develop over the next few decades. We then factored in the effects of the Great Population Flood, global warming, civilisation collapsing under its own weight. The result is a world that has many different layers and nuances, and feels like a credible future projection of the world we live in today.

[PS3A]: The cover system is quite dynamic due to the very nature of how the objects providing this cover are moving on a body of water. How difficult was this to implement and what other cover systems have you studied? Should we expect a Gears of War and Uncharted type of delivery or is this something on a whole new level?

[RH] : We've certainly studied the standard bearers out there, to see where they worked, and where they didn't. We've developed beyond the boundaries that exist in these games and really pushed for a seamless and immediate feel. We're lucky enough to have some incredibly talented individuals who meticulously pour over every detail, and some exceptional technology to develop with.

Floating cover gives you a platform to shoot from in the water, but you can also duck your head beneath the surface to hide from Malthusians as you float down stream... of course Kate can't hold her breath forever.

As you suggest the floating cover system was a different beast altogether. We are using an excellent procedural animation system and that really helps the situation because there are so many different kinds of floating cover, and Kate has to be incredibly agile in the water around floating cover. With the water being completely dynamic, a traditional animation system would not have given us the scope and flexibility to achieve what we have done.

[PS3A]: The Queen of the World is pretty massive in scale and suggests Kate will have more than enough to do on the super-ship during the course of the game. Will we however get to see any of the other bastions of humanity? Do we get to witness the full extent of the global catastrophe?

[RH] : The Queen of the World is not only vast, it's also extremely varied socially and culturally. The workers who prop up the infrastructure live on the lower decks in rather poor conditions, and the wealthy individuals live in luxury penthouses in the buildings which tower above the deck.

So you've got this beautiful social hierarchy which you can literally see evolve from bottom to top in the ships structure, with the foundations of the Five Founding Fathers piercing through every layer and stretching into the sky above.

When you are down in the neon-lit slums christened Proleville by the inhabitants, you begin to realise that the propaganda presenting the Queen of the World as a triumphant reserve for the super-wealthy isn't the full story.

The influence of the global population flood is evident at every level, from the elitism of the rich and influential at the top, to the tolerance of terrible conditions that the poor endure in favour of living in the utter chaos of the outside world, to the blind eye turned to the gang culture in Proleville.

The Queen is deeply controversial; a reactionary consequence of the worldwide chaos, and ultimately it’s this sense of extremity of reaction that provides the richest perspective on the tragedy the world has endured.

[PJ] : As for the rest of the world out there, the player doesn’t see it directly in this game; the QOTW is the player's universe - the ship is around 2km long and about a kilometre wide.

Actually the sequel to the game is set in a drowned Boston – that’s an exclusive by the way - (New York has had more of its fair share of fictional and real disasters over time) so we do have plans for an expansion of the Hydrophobia world.

[PS3A]: Considering the ethos of the Neo-Malthusians is “Save the world, kill yourself” how does this ethical code manifest in the A.I. of the enemies Kate encounters? Can such a nihilistic attitude be seen in their attack strategies? i.e.: Are the Neo-Malthusians precarious and somewhat indifferent to the own safety?

[RH]: Great question. We absolutely wanted to imprint the Malthusians beliefs in their behaviour, particularly because they are so extreme. They want to ensure they wipe out as many people as possible, this is there general attitude, but they are logical about it too – the longer they stay alive the more people they can kill. However if they are on the back foot, say the rest of their squad has been wiped out, they may resort to a form of kamikaze to finish the job honourably.

In a different situation, say a squad of Malthusians is out numbered and falling back, the squad leader may issue an honour call for a kind of mass kamikaze. The higher ranking members of the Malthusian hierarchy are viewed differently however, these are the scholars of the new order in the world the Malthusians want to create, so they will be protected at all costs.

[PJ] : The main thing is that the Malthusians place absolutely no value on human life – even their own. Some of the leaders however may not respect the value of other people’s lives but do recognise their own through this delusion of grandeur they have built up.

So there you have it. Bostonians, prepare to have your wetsuits ready.

Check back tomorrow when the interview concludes with talk of underwater breathing, how Kate's phobia manifests as gameplay and the future of the tech behind the game. We'll also reveal some exclusive artwork of four other characters from the universe of Hydrophobia.

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GAME get Limited Edition Fallout 3

If you're looking forward to Fallout 3 (like we are) then you are going to have to make a few extra choices in addition to your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. characteristics.

GAME have now added a third purchasing option to their listings with an exclusive Limited Edition version of the title.

Sporting a figurine and packaged in a cardboard sleeve, the Limited Edition version is in addition to the standard and Collector's Edition versions available elsewhere. The Collector's Edition is the 'big one', weighing in with a 'Making Of' DVD, an art booklet, a figurine and a tin 'lunch box' container.

GAME currently list this new edition at a shade under £45, and GAME Reward Card holders will get the equivalent of an extra £2.25 off that price to spend on future purchases - not bad.

You can pre-order the Limited Edition now, or grab the Standard/Collector's Edition if that one doesn't take your fancy.*

Fallout 3 is due for release on 31st October.

*Remember, every penny we make from sales through the site goes to charity. If you're going to order Fallout 3 at all, please get it through us to help make a difference...

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Wishlist; Braid and Flipside for the PSN

Time after time we see interesting and innovative games appearing on other platforms that we would love to see on the PlayStation Network.

With that in mind, we got some time with Jonathan Blow and Thomas Pilgaard to talk about their respective creations; Braid and Flipside.

Along the way we find out what inspired them and the chances that two of our favourite non-PS3 titles might eventually make it on to the black monolith, and how Braid may even get a PSP outing.

Let's begin with Jonathan Blow and Braid.

[PS3A] Thanks for sparing us some of your time Jonathan. Tell us more about the original concept for Braid...

[JB] I wanted to make a game that was about visiting different worlds, where time would behave differently in each world. When creating the ways that time behaves, I wanted to explore some of the paradoxical things about relativity and quantum mechanics and the ways in which those branches of physics seem to contradict our daily, human-scale existences.

In presentation, I wanted the game to tell story the way a book tells story rather than a film (which is what games usually pattern themselves after). Italo Calvino's book "Invisible Cities" was the primary influence.

[PS3A] We've seen a few 'time shifting' games in the past. Why do you think Braid has caught people's imagination where others in the genre failed to ignite an interest?

[JB] Braid is designed differently from those games. Time manipulation is in the absolute core of Braid's gameplay, whereas in other games it has been a tacked-on feature. The rest of Braid's design had to conform to the time manipulation in order to make the most harmonious construction.

For example, there are no "lives" in Braid; you can never really die. What is the point in that if you could just rewind whenever you want to anyway? So now if you can never die, it doesn't make sense for the game to be about life-threatening action situations, because all the tension would be gone from those. You know you can't die and you know you could just flail your way through even the hardest challenge, so the game had to become something else. That's why it's a puzzle game.

[PS3A] Have you considered bringing Braid to the PS3 and PlayStation Network? Is there anything stopping you from approaching SCE about this?

[JB] Yes, I have considered it. There is a time-limited exclusivity clause in place that prevents me from going to Sony now, but in the future I could if they are interested. I could do the PSP now, but I am not sure how technically feasible that is and most publishers don't seem very interested in that, anyway; I guess they think it won't sell.

[PS3A] What forthcoming games excite you right now?

[JB] I'm interested to see how Flower turns out. Also, whatever Jonathan Mak is working on, whatever Rod Humble is making next, and whatever non-sketch game Jason Rohrer is making next.

[PS3A] Where do you get the inspiration for your games, and what's next for you?

[JB] The inspiration just comes from somewhere. The idea for Braid had some initial seeds that had been hanging around for a while, but when I sat down to work on the game, it just all popped up at once. The same thing happened last month, when I started seriously thinking about my next project. I'm not saying much about that project right now because I might change my mind. In some ways it is related to the ideas in Braid, but in other ways it has absolutely nothing to do with Braid at all.



Another game that has raised our interest is Flipside. Developed by 13 Danish students from universities and art schools, this title captured the imagination when it was released. Thomas Pilgaard told us more about this unique game.

[PS3A] Thomas, please tell us more about the original concept for Flipside.

[TP] The main character of Flipside suffers from split personality disorder and rapid mood swings which is manifested in the way the player can flip between playing on either side of a flat level in a three-dimensional game world.

The two-dimensional game world in three-dimensional space paved the way for the card-board aesthetics that was considered in all aspects of art, sound and animation. The player plays out an imagined escape from an asylum. Depending on which point of view the player decides to take it will be either very lush or gloomy to reflect the main characters extremely volatile state of mind. The possible actions of the player are reflected by this, which means that he can do no harm to his surroundings on the lush side but move around rapidly whereas the gloomy side enable him to deal damage while movement is somewhat obstructed.

[PS3A] I understand you created it using the Half-life engine, but it couldn't look any more different to that game if you tried. Why did you choose that route? And what benefits did the engine deliver for you?

[TP] Using the Source engine was a requirement from the Danish National Academy for Digital, Interactive Entertainment. This is a collaboration between universities and art schools in Denmark that makes student game productions such as this one possible.

We definitely set out to challenge preconceptions about what a Source engine modification should be. Rather than accepting that we had to do a FPS-style game we wanted to explore the possibilities more freely. This presented some challenges and occasional show-stoppers that directed our work towards the result that is seen today.

Even though the Source engine is well-documented in comparison to many other alternatives out there it can be very difficult to work with once you dive into the more esoteric aspects of the engine. However I am sure other engines work similarly; I expect it would be difficult to do a FPS in a RTS engine for instance.

[PS3A] Have you considered bringing Flipside to the PS3 and PlayStation Network? Is there anything stopping you from approaching SCE about this?

[TP] When we first considered whether or not to continue work on Flipside we also discussed advantages and disadvantages of many different platforms and distribution models out there. There are definitely a lot of interesting ways of bringing games with smaller budgets to their audiences today than just a few years ago.

Flipside in its current form does have many things going for it. However there are also quite a few risky aspects. For instance, however enjoyable the prototype level in its current form, it does not prove its potential to entertain players beyond the first 10-15 minutes of play. The main reason for this was the one month of intensive development that went into Flipside with the goal of creating 3-5 minutes of gameplay represented through a vertical slice of an intended game experience.

Taking the potential and difficulties of making Flipside into a full-fledged game into consideration the PSN is an intriguing possibility, but something that is unlikely to happen unless current circumstances are significantly changed.

[PS3A] What forthcoming games excite you right now?

[TP]There is a lot of great stuff in the works with a lot of developers, but to keep some restrain on myself I'll just stick with one game on each of my favourite platforms: Spore on the PC, LEGO Batman on the Wii, LittleBigPlanet on the PS3 and finally Fable II on the X360. LittleBigPlanet is particularly interesting as we actually toyed with some ideas for a physics-based gameplay in Flipside.

[PS3A] Where do you get the inspiration for games like Flipside?

[TP] The inception of the game concept happened as a collaboration between the game director and myself. However the realisation of our dreamy vision required the creativity and professional competencies of the rest of the team of students we were a part of. The expression and reinterpretation of the initial game idea through art, sound, animation and code was necessary for it to form the whole of the experience that is Flipside.

As we began conceptualising what would become Flipside I was very attentive of the inspirations of the game director on the project. From the beginning he was intrigued by Danish artist Hannibal Hildorf, a musician/entertainer who is extremely happy and positive as well as the aesthetics of two-dimensional cardboard pieces and the ways in which their arrangement/size can be used to simulate depth.

Through a joint creative process we bridged the concepts by introducing a dark contrast to the seemingly eternal happiness of Hannibal Hildorf and fusing them in the mental instability of the main character. This came together with the idea of using flat objects in the game world as either side could be used to express one of the two mindsets we were working with.

Keeping in mind the technical limitations and possibilities of the game engine we were required to use we came up with the idea that the player should have freedom to experience the game world freely from both extreme moods and with the differing abilities that could be derived from them. This put the flip in Flipside and led us to the solution of turning the camera 180 degrees around the player character when switching sides.



We'd like to thanks both Jonathan and Thomas for giving us their valuable time. Maybe one day we'll see their brilliant creations on our favourite platform...

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