Crafting Kena: Bridge of Spirits’ new outfits for next week’s Anniversary Update

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The day is almost here! The free “Anniversary Update” for Kena: Bridge of Spirits will be live on PS4 and PS5 on Tuesday, September 27. We were very excited to see fans’ positive response to the announcement last month, and now we can’t wait for everyone to experience the new content!

To celebrate the release, we wanted to share an inside look at the creative and technical process behind the creation of Kena’s new outfits for the “Anniversary Update.” If you missed our announcement detailing all the other new content, be sure to check it out!

Our approach in developing cosmetics for Kena really boiled down to three main goals. First, it always feels good when an outfit takes some real expertise to obtain. We wanted wearing them to feel like badges of honor. Next, we felt that each one should remind us of the story and characters encountered along the way – constant reminders of who we’ve met and where we’ve been. Lastly, we love having a good variety of options that enable self expression and the ability to switch things up as we go. With these ideas in mind, we got to work!

To make sure all of the outfits represented a real sense of success, we decided to tie them to the Spirit Guide Trials, (another major new addition included in the “Anniversary Update”). As players progress through the main story, new Trials become available at the central Mask Shrine. Only by succeeding at these challenges can players unlock the new outfits. Players who have mastered each of the Trials will ultimately gain access to the full array of outfits, signifying their notable skills.

We next turned to the visual designs. During initial development, we devoted a lot of attention to the design of our cast of characters. We decided these characters provided perfect inspiration for Kena’s outfits. Each new outfit players unlock takes inspiration from a different spirit that Kena helps during her journey, but reworked and uniquely catered to her. This way, even after players have moved on from a particular story, they still get to keep a memento they can wear.

For example, one of the earliest new outfits players can unlock takes inspiration from the village attire worn by the twins Beni & Saiya and their older brother Taro. Later on, other cosmetics become available, like the Archer and Bombmaker outfits inspired by Rusu and Hana. Each one takes details from their inspiration character like Hana’s unique satchel or Rusu’s owl-crested cape. (We won’t spoil all of them.)

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Sly Cooper celebrates 20 years today

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Happy 20th birthday, Sly Cooper! Today we are so happy (and a little bit shocked) to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus! Where does the time go? Originally shipped on September 23, 2002 for PS2, this was Sly’s original adventure (known as Sly Racoon in some parts of the world) and our studio’s first-ever PlayStation game!

Before we ready our party hats and cake, we have some brand new Sly Cooper merchandise to reveal today to celebrate the milestone. But first we wanted to look back on Sly’s legacy across the whole franchise and share memories from some of our team who helped shape Sly Cooper into the series we know and love, back when some of them had a little more hair or a little less gray in it:

Doing level design for Sly 1 was a great learning experience. From prototyping using LEGO for the Muggshot rooftop to countless level iterations that took place to get the feel and gameplay just right. I remember so many different variations of levels I worked on that even when I play it now I can be surprised at what the final versions are!

Rob McDaniel, Senior Technical Artist

Sly 1 was our first BIG game, and there were multiple milestones where the game was very clearly at risk of getting canceled. To me, the biggest breakthrough was the milestone we invented the “Binoc-u-com” where Bentley and Sly would hatch plans – but really it was a great way to give the player directions without it feeling ham-fisted.

At the time we were building Sly, so many games had been pushing the visual execution bar upwards in their cutscenes – way beyond what we were capable of at the time. One of our best decisions was to reverse that trend and make our cutscenes more graphic instead—which gave us something distinct and unique, but also avoided fighting an arms race we’d never win. Great choice, and one we used for all the Sly games, and evolved for InFamous and beyond.

Sly was our first game with skinned characters – and getting his TAIL right turned out to be one of the trickiest bits. We created a bunch of failed solutions including custom spline controls for the animators. The “right” answer ended up being to animate just the very base of his tail, and build a real-time simulation for the rest. To this day we still have “tails” simulations we use in places!

Favorite moment? The ending of Sly 1 – that’s gotta be one of my favorite sequences we’ve ever shipped! The final bit with the 10-second head-start is perfection.

Finally, I remember how small the team was! The 25 of us in the credits was the entire studio, including our testers and the office staff! Seems a long time ago!

Brian Fleming, Co-Founder

The creation of Tunic’s invaluable in-game manual

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Hi everyone! My name’s Andrew, and I’m the primary developer on Tunic, which is coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on September 27. 

Tunic is an isometric action-adventure about a tiny fox in a big world, where you explore, fight monsters, and find secrets. At its core, however, the game is about mystery and discovery. Well before I started work on the project (which was originally named Secret Legend) I wanted to make a game that captured the feeling of the vast unknown — that delicious feeling of being dropped into a world full of secrets. A stranger in a strange land, ready to uncover its mysteries.

One of the ways I wanted to help players feel like they were in a world that wasn’t meant for them was to fill the game with a strange, unreadable language. Instead of a signpost telling you what’s around the next corner, it would show you some baffling symbols. Instead of the inventory screen labeling things sensibly, it would use the same unknowable runes. It was meant to evoke a feeling of transgression — like you were playing something you shouldn’t. When I was a young kid learning to read, I would play games and be bewildered by the words in them. What better way to evoke that feeling of childlike wonder than to have the text itself be a mystery!

The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that my love for this kind of mystery came not just from the games, but from the manuals they were packaged with. (Or “Instruction Booklets” as they were often called.) I would pore over these documents endlessly, while my friends were playing the games themselves. They filled my head with thoughts of grand adventures, incredible treasures, and terrible creatures — all untempered by the realities of the cartridges the actual games had to fit on.

And so, within the first few months of development, Tunic had its own language, and the beginnings of its own manual. In its final form, the manual is something you collect gradually as you play through the game. Just like those instruction booklets of old, each page is packed densely with information — illustrations, tips, maps, and of course, secrets.

One of my favourite things about those classic manuals is their layout sensibilities and variety of art styles. 8-bit sprit

How Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II’s multiplayer offers more creative ways to play

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Player expectations are high for Activision and Infinity Ward’s upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. With the game sharing a similar name to what some consider the best entry in the Call of Duty series, it undoubtedly has much to prove. At the recent Call of Duty Next event, however, Infinity Ward showed it’s rising to the challenge, adding meaningful options and innovations to the franchise’s formula.

Much like the 2019 Modern Warfare, this new title  sets out to give you greater creativity to provide an extra edge, which means even more fun. The additional pieces appear in the form of various in-game tools that allow you to move, attack, and strategize in ways not seen in prior installments.

These new options are also amazingly balanced, keeping the entry barrier low but masterfully raising the high-level skill ceiling.

Move how you want

The defining word for Modern Warfare II is “choice.” You have so many options present that you can define your playstyle and gameplay across every mode. One of those options is movement and how it plays into every aspect of the game.

Mantling has evolved, so you can use it in more ways than just getting around obstacles. Now it’s possible to hang from ledges where it was previously only feasible to jump right over or not be able to scale at all. This allows you to not only peek over at potential threats and survey the land but also pull out a one-handed weapon like a pistol and ward off or even finish off opponents.

Hanging isn’t the only new option present in the movement toolkit either. Actions out of tactical sprint have been expanded as well. You are no longer restricted to only a slide to mix up and evade enemies; you can also dive. The difference is in the ground covered and the position you’re left in. Whereas the slide keeps you to the ground, diving gives a bit of airtime and leaves you in the prone position. This tool comes into play in many areas, such as quick escapes, gunfights, and hiding. One remarkable instance witnessed during the initial gameplay reveal stream featured many players diving behind obstacles and even out of windows to avoid gunfire, explosions, and other opposition.

The biggest game-changer happens under the sea. You can swim above and underwater, with the option of amphibious vehicles also being available. While riding a speedboat above the water is pretty sweet, diving with the fishes to avoid enemy fire is even sweeter. This is especially useful in larger maps and higher player count modes like Invasion, where water travel is a constant variable in the grand battle that spans the land, sea, and sky.

Unique tricks of the trade

Another significant expansion to how Modern Warfare

Official PlayStation Podcast Episode 439: Virtual Impressions

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Howdy! This week we talked with Hideaki Nishino, SVP of Platform Experience about the origins of PS VR2 and how cutting-edge games such as Horizon Call of the Mountain are tapping into its next-generation features.

Stuff We Talked About

  • PlayStation VR2
  • Horizon Call of the Mountain
  • Star Wars Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge – Enhanced Edition
  • The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners – Chapter 2: Retribution
  • God of War Ragnarök
  • State of Play reveals

The Cast

Sid Shuman – Senior Director of Content Communications, SIE

Tim Turi –  Manager, Content Communications, SIE

Brett Elston – Manager, Content Communicat


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