Sony will be introducing their games with a new PlayStation Studios brand, unifying original franchises including God of War, Ratchet & Clank and Uncharted in one label.
An official opening video is eerily similar to that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, giving players an assortment of original PlayStation characters in big controller lettering. The DualShock button shapes converge into a clean PlayStation Studios logo, creating an “umbrella” term for future exclusive titles. This also leaves a familiar “Sony Interactive Entertainment Presents” message behind and PS5 players won’t be greeted with the silent black-and-white screen anymore.
SIE Global Marketing head Eric Lempel told GamesIndustry the new animated logo celebrates original franchises built over the past decade and will be a reminder for players.
“We have been thinking about how we unite all of these great games under one brand, and really the purpose of that is to make the consumer understand that,” Lempel said. “When they see this brand, they’re getting ready for a robust, innovative, deep experience that they’ve come to expect from games coming from PlayStation. So we came up with PlayStation Studios.”
The brief 17-second video gets players familiar with PlayStation Studios ahead of its countless showings behind future games developed for the PS4 and PS5. However, it won’t be making an appearance in upcoming games such as The Last of Us: Part II or Ghosts of Tsushima while it’s likely they could be some of the last games to have the current SIE presentation intro seen over decades.
PlayStation studios will also be mainly used by Sony’s on first party developers including Naughty Dog, Insomniac Games and Guerrilla Games for future releases.
A popular character from Scandinavian folklore might make their way into a DLC for Ubisoft’s upcoming Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, using its Viking setting with supernatural elements.
According to Gamespot, the info comes from a tease in Ubisoft Germany’s product listing for Valhalla. When translated, the DLC states its larger season’s pass “Includes the story mission: The Legend of Beowulf. Discover the cruel truth behind the legend.” Beowulf appropriately fits into the game’s timeline as he fought giants and dragons during Eivor’s conquest across Norway. Players are also expected to experience a different version of the folk tale and unlock unique abilities across the DLC.
It’s not the first time Ubisoft has touched on mystical aspects in Assassin’s Creed. Both Origins and Odyssey separated fact from fiction with DLC that took players to places such as Atlantis while getting an opportunity to fight creatures such as Medusa and Anubis. Players even gained their own supernatural abilities to help beat the super-bosses while exploring new territory apart from the main storyline. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is likely to keep the format, with Beowulf joining the Season’s Pass and presents a few opportunities to connect with other games.
Narrative Director Darby McDevitt also told Gamespot players will get to find out what happens after beating Odyssey‘s Fate of Atlantis DLC. Through Valhalla, the present-day character Layla will also make an appearance through a connection with the Animus as their story continues.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is set to release for current systems and the PS5 and Xbox Series X in Holiday 2020. You can see our preview of the game here.
Ubisoft will be hosting their own E3-type event in place of the cancelled conference on July 12, 2020. Simply called Ubisoft Forward, the studio will be making new reveals for games while adding more details for existing ones such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
The lineup also gives audiences a number of surprises in original games and possible sequels for Ubisoft’s collection of franchises. In a brief announcement over their website, a screenshot of a landscape teased the event while it’s “an E3-style showcase with plenty of exclusive game news, exciting reveals and much more.”
Ubisoft Forward is among some of the digital programs developers are switching to after COVID-19 lead to the cancellation of major annual events.
E3, Gamescom and the Tokyo Game Show are a few traditional industry staples changing their presentations from the worldwide pandemic. For Ubisoft, they’ve also taken notes from Nintendo’s own Direct series of streams as they provided their own content reveals online.
The studio recently showed audiences a first glimpse into Assassin’s Creed Valhalla while making an appearance on Inside Xbox’s early Series X gameplay reveals to talk about it.
The upcoming event is set to take place on July 12 at 12PM PDT and 3PM EST over major streaming platforms.
In a trailer, the new remastered version featured a makeover on familiar locations players can roam around in with a collection of skateboards. Both also keep the same gameplay style seen in the original cult classic titles from 1999 and 2000. Almost mimicking the original Tony Hawk games, each title also plays in 4K resolution while its visuals were compared with screens from the older versions. Players even got a glimpse at split-screen multiplayer and a series of Legendary skaters that can be unlocked.
The first two games were produced by Neversoft Games, who helped push the skateboarding genre forward in a mix of third person action and skilled button combinations for tricks. Players in the first Tony Hawk Pro Skater games had to time their jumps and skateboard directions for performing aerial feats. A new and revised soundtrack will also play over the experience for skaters just like in the originals.
Keighley also sat with Tony Hawk and Vicarious Visions Studio Head Jennifer Oneal over video chat, who both shared details on the game’s revival for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. One of the biggest details came from adding a new level creator, letting players make their own skate parks for others to try out in sandbox fashion. Hawk was also involved in adding more to the look and feel of Pro Skater for two games.
“The basis of it was the feel,” said Hawk, adding the focus of the remasters was to make the movesets respond better than it did before for players. “There’s been a lot of requests over the last few years, I would say over five years and I can sense it ramping up. Especially when we approach the 20th anniversary of the release of the first THPS.”
“Online gaming is naturally an expectation from the modern game world,” Oneal said. “Of course, we got all of your favourite modes from Multiplayer that are now online, but it’s interesting because I think actually Splitscreen is still kind of a novelty these days so we’re bringing that back.”
The couch-coop is the tip of a nostalgic iceberg for fans of the series, who will also be treated to modernized Create-a-Park and Create-a-Skater modes. These features can also be used for sharing while a release stated players can access familiar skaters “including Tony Hawk, Bucky Lasek, Steve Caballero, Geoff Rowley, Andrew Reynolds, Elissa Steamer, Chad Muska, Eric Koston, Rodney Mullen, Rune Glifberg, Kareem Campbell, Jamie Thomas and Bob Burnquist.”
Player who pre-order the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 & 2 collection can also have early access to the legendary Warehouse map featured in the original games while the collection is set to release on September 4, 2020 for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Jack Black, aka. Jablinski Games will also be streaming a demo of the game’s iconic map shortly after the reveal. A demo is also coming soon over digital download with early access opportunities.
The videogame industry continues to grow, Brazil, in particular, is booming thanks to the efforts of the growing independent scene and the insurgence of development studios, not just in Brazil but in neighbouring territories as well. Since its inception in 2012, BIG or the Brazil Independent Games Festival has been the central hub for both local and international audiences to interact with an equally eclectic group of insiders, developers and game industry professionals.
CGMagazine had the pleasure to sit down with Eliana Russi, the Executive Manager of Brazil Games and the Content Director of BIG Festival, alongside Gustavo Steinberg, the Director of BIG Festival and BIG Digital, the first online-only venture for BIG.
For those unaware, BIG or the Brazil Independent Games Festival traditionally takes place every June and is Brazil’s largest games expo in the country with free access to the general public. Unfortunately, due to the current global climate, the in-person event has been pushed to next year. Thankfully, BIG will still take place this year in the form of BIG Digital, which, as the name implies, is the inaugural online-only incarnation of the prestigious event.
CGMagazine: As BIG typically takes place in-person, how will the online event manifest, and how will it impact the B2B (business to business) aspect of the event?
Gustavo Steinberg: It is a new platform for us, but I think we will do it fine. It is mostly B2B, but we are contemplating holding an eSports event. Its’ not a sure thing yet, maybe we will do something connected to covid 19, like a competition and promoting institutions and places outside of the city, like the outskirts.
Eliana Russi: BIG Digital will be online but the BIG Festival has always been open to the public.
CGMagazine: As BIG is a large event, what is the process in selecting the games that will be featured during the yearly event and Big Digital?
Gustavo Steinberg: usually for the general public, a selection of 70-80 games are available on the show floor for attendees to enjoy. We breakdown the games to different categories, specifically for competitive titles which is around 400-500 games but that number is larger for games that are still in development and fall under other categories.
Both Steinberg and Russi went on to comment on the fact that they are still planning on what games will be present online for BIG Digital, but an emphasis on competitive games will be taken into consideration.
CGMagazine: what would you consider to be your biggest avenues of interest in terms of what is generally present during the yearly event (mobile vs pc vs other specific consoles), including the categories of what is present?
Gustavo Steinberg: We don’t have a preference because the reality is most indie developers tend to create games for the mobile and PC spaces. We have categories for best overall game, best Brazilian game and best Latin-American game. Our categories include best mobile, best game for kids, and one called BIG Diversity, which is related to games related to diversity issues.”
CGMagazine: What kind of games are on display aside from competitive titles?
Gustavo Steinberg: We have a section that is parallel to the competitive games that feature quality Brazilian games, so we have a way for developers and publishers to engage with each other.
CGMagazine: Are there any initiatives BIG partakes in that helps smaller studios or those trying to break into the industry?
Gustavo Steinberg: We are always scouting for new talent in other events, but its basically two separate teams, one is scouting via an application, which is then evaluated. We don’t have a specific invitation category. We invite and then we evaluate all the games that are sent in. More and more we have been getting lots of VR games. We’ve had the category for three years, and last year we had almost 80.
CGMagazine: Why is BIG important to the country, what sets it apart from other large conferences such as E3 and Gamescom?
Eliana Russi: Publishers were unaware of Brazil as a games industry and considered it primarily a consumer-country, but thanks to BIG, both Brazil and some of the neighbouring countries such as Argentina and Chile have become known for having very good (development) studios.
Brazil is the13th largest contributor and the 4th largest consumer of games, so it makes sense that events such as BIG help promote both sides of the industry.
Finally, when asked about how BIG Digital aims to recreate the atmosphere of the in-person festival, Russi and Steinberg stated that for the BIG Digital event, they aim to recreate the feeling of a more traditional experience through the inclusion of a digital mixer. In other words, attendees will be able to listen in on the various lectures at the event then partake in a digital mixer where people can mingle and enjoy themselves from the comfort of their own homes.
Gustavo went on to mention the possible inclusion of a non-professional eSports competition, something more accessible for a general audience, in addition to panels that help those wanting to break into the world of professional gaming. It is not certain, but it something both Gustavo and Eliana hope will be a part of BIG digital when it kicks off later in the year. The event is planned to spread out through an entire week, rather than the typical two-day event, as it will be online, giving people more time to enjoy the show leisurely.
As someone who only heard of BIG through other outlets, it was fascinating and very informative in getting the opportunity to interview both Russi and Steinberg. Undertakings such as BIG are not only crucial to the games industry but are paramount in promoting independent and new talent. It will be interesting to see how BIG Digital unfolds, and CGMagazine wishes all those involved the best of luck.