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Platformer, multiplayer and music fans: why Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a must-play

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PlayStation Plus gets a dose of colorful 3D-platforming fun this month in the form of Sackboy: A Big Adventure.

Originally released in 2020 and created by Sumo Digital, the UK-based developer tapped into its previous experiences across platformer and multiplayer genres (LittleBigPlanet 3, Team Sonic Racing) to craft a captivating yarn. Levels are imaginative and reward exploration, and occasionally stray into musically-led stages backed by pop hits. Collectibles are many and worth discovering – offering secret pathways and increasingly dazzling costumes to deck out your character. Co-op (up to four players local or online) is joyful in its continuous tandem of cooperative and competitive.

To mark its launch on PlayStation Plus, we talked about the game’s origins with XDEV Producer Mark O’Connor. O’Connor shares some early concept sketches and gives his insights into how the core gameplay pillars came to be.

A highly interactive 3D world

“The concept for Sackboy: A Big Adventure started way back in 2017. The original pitch was simple (to say the least): Sackboy: A Big Adventure at its heart was to be a brand-new platforming experience set in Sackboy’s familiar home of Craftworld; complete levels, battle bosses and save the world!

“We wanted to reimagine the LittleBigPlanet franchise within a vibrant, (and for the very first time) fully 3D environment, that had that familiar feel of physicality woven into the game’s DNA. Everything is physical, from the gameplay, to the world, through to the UI and beyond.  Advanced real-time physical behaviors create a highly interactive 3D world: cloth stretches and tears, sponges squash and absorb, balloons inflate and burst, fluids ebb and flow.

Caption: These early concept sketches show how real world materials influenced the look and feel of the levels and their inhabitants. At the top, a Himalaya-like area built with carved foam and metallic paper, below, an enemy with a cardboard cylinder halo.

“We wanted to make certain that each level had a unique twist ensuring there’s something new and fresh around every corner. All whilst making sure it was responsive, had accessible controls and took advantage of what the PlayStation 5 had to offer.”

Levels tailored for both solo and multiplayer…

“The LittleBigPlanet titles were always designed as games that could be played solo or co-op and this is something that we didn’t want to change for Sackboy: A Big Adventure. It was always important to us that Sackboy’s very first 3D platforming adventure could still be played solo or with family and friends, with every player still being able to create and control their very own Sackperson.

“So, Sackboy: A Big Adventure was built from the ground up as a four-player co-op adventure with fun, physical character interactions that give players loads of ways to cooperate (and target each other). We wanted to encourage players to join forces to push, pull, slap and roll into objects (and each other).

“One great example of this is being able to stack Sackboys and Sackgirls to create a precarious “Sack Totem” and get to hard-to-reach places. These different ways to play make the game truly co-op. Players now have more meaningful interactions and are no longer just running through the same level side-by-side.

The Elder Scrolls Online – Necrom chapter gameplay revealed

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During the Necrom Chapter Preview livestream, the Elder Scrolls Online team showcased the upcoming chapter’s (arriving June 20 for PlayStation) new features and gameplay, including the Arcanist class, new group challenges, and a part of Apocrypha never seen before in an Elder Scrolls game. 

Master the arcane

When it came to the Arcanist, ESO’s first new class in four years, the team saw an opportunity to integrate it and its mechanics into Necroms setting and themes. As a result, the Arcanist draws power from Apocrypha itself, and the team relished the opportunity to combine elements of Hermaeus Mora’s realm into almost every aspect of the way the class looks, feels, and plays. 

The Elder Scrolls Online – Necrom chapter gameplay revealed

The Arcanist utilizes three unique Skill Lines, each supporting a different playstyle: Herald of the Tome (damage), Curative Runeforms (healing/support), and Soldier of Apocrypha (tanking). You’re never locked into any one Skill Line, and you can mix your abilities with any others that are already available.  

The team also discussed the Arcanist’s all-new mechanic, the Crux System. When in combat, select Arcanist abilities generate a new resource called Crux, while others spend any saved Crux to receive a buff. If you seek to master this new class, you must learn how you utilize both your Crux-generating and spending abilities effectively. 

Explore a new aspect of Apocrypha 

In the Necrom Chapter, you can explore the realm of Apocrypha, an endless library containing unknown volumes of knowledge. Be warned—many seek to understand Apocrypha’s hidden secrets, but Mora’s realm also contains a terrifying host of dangers for those who come unprepared. 

The team also revealed an all-new aspect of Apocrypha not seen in the Elder Scrolls series before now: Chroma Incognito. A roiling landscape of mind-bending color, Chroma Incognito is a world shaped by what never came to pass—a realm of possibility rejected by cruel fate that stands in vivid contrast to the rest of Apocrypha. 

This distinct biome was an opportunity for the team to create something brand-new for Elder Scrolls fans while expanding upon the Prince of Knowledge’s domain. 

PlayStation Plus Game Catalog lineup for April: Kena: Bridge of Spirits, Doom Eternal, Riders Republic and more 

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Today we’re happy to reveal the PlayStation Plus Game Catalog for April 2023. All games will be available on Tuesday April 18. Let’s dive in. 

PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium | Game Catalog

Kena: Bridge of Spirits | PS4, PS5

Immerse yourself in a story-driven action-adventure set in a charming world rich with exploration and fast-paced combat. Play as Kena, a young Spirit Guide travelling to an abandoned village in search of the sacred mountain shrine. Find and grow a team of tiny spirits known as the Rot who maintain balance by decomposing dead and rotting elements. Enhance your companions’ abilities, create new ways to manipulate the environment and uncover the secrets of a forgotten community hidden in an overgrown forest where wandering spirits are trapped.

Fight for PS VR2 glory in upcoming Zenith: The Last City PvP mode

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Our PlayStation VR2 MMORPG, Zenith: The Last City, has its next major content patch – Skyward Summit – on the horizon, and with that we are bringing a host of new features to the game.

Today, we are thrilled to announce that one of the features we will be introducing is player versus player (PvP) combat! We believe this feature will add a new layer of depth and excitement to Zenith. Players will now have the opportunity to test their skills against each other in a fun and engaging way.

Challenge yourself with thrilling one-on-one and team duels that will test your skills and push you to the limit. With our unique class system, including the brand new Cyber Ninja class, you can explore an endless variety of playstyles and strategies. While we are exploring additional options for PvP in future patches, Skyward Summit’s PvP will primarily focus on the implementation of one-on-one and team duels.

We believe that the addition of PvP in Zenith is a significant update that opens up new gameplay opportunities for players. We’re excited to see how players will explore new tactics, test their strategies, and learn from their opponents. We’re confident that PvP will provide a thrilling and engaging experience for our players.

Alongside the highly anticipated PvP mode, we’re excited to introduce the brand new Cyber Ninja class and a host of other thrilling additions. From player housing to resource harvesting and crafting, this patch has it all. We can’t wait for you to explore these exciting new systems and discover everything Skyward Summit has to offer.

Mark your calendars – the Skyward Summit patch is projected for release in Q2 2023. Stay tuned for more information and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.

(For Southeast Asia) The Songkran Sale comes to PlayStation Store

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Update: PlayStation Store’s Sale gets a refresh on April 12, bringing with it new titles and add-ons, giving you discounts of up to 80% for a limited time*. That includes FIFA 23 Ultimate Edition (PS4/PS5), Ghost of Tsushima DIRECTOR’S CUT (PS4/PS5), ONE PIECE ODYSSEY (PS4/PS5) and Dead Space (PS5).

The list is so huge we can’t include everything here, head to PlayStation Store to discover your regional discount pricing.

*PlayStation Store’s Songkran Sale ends 26 April.

Uncover new ghostly tales in Ghostwire: Tokyo Spider’s Thread update – out now 

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As nearly all of Tokyo’s populace vanished in an instant and beings from another world took their place, players in the role of survivor Akito made an unlikely alliance with the ghost detective KK to save the city from catastrophe. With the free Spider’s Thread update, available for all Ghostwire: Tokyo players on PlayStation 5, Akito & KK face new stories and challenges that require their supernatural expertise. 

Featuring a new rogue-lite “The Spider’s Thread” game mode challenging players to navigate a 30-stage gauntlet putting their ghost-hunting skills to the test, this update also includes added enemies, enhanced combat abilities, extended story cinematics, Photo Mode enhancements and yes, areas to explore with two new side missions to uncover! 

Fear for the Children 

Akito & KK explore the new Middle School location added with the Spider’s Thread update to investigate reports of missing students, only to discover the two aren’t alone as something – or some things – stalk the school’s hallways. Uncover the secrets behind the strange phenomena occurring in the haunted school, including an eerie science mannequin, a paranormal sighting in the bathroom and even the legend of “Hananko-san,” a malevolent spirt that’s been doing some nasty studying-up of her own…

Spirits of the Modern Age 

Our duo uncover a series of 25 strange photographs, each seemingly taken near a source of supernatural evil. Noticing the photos respond with psychic effects and unsettling markings as they near the places they were taken, Akito & KK set out to find on a mission to find and purge these areas using their detective skills. Use landmarks, signage and other key clues in each photograph to find and stop the darkness that’s encroaching.

“Spirits of the Modern Age” also offers an opportunity to use an all-new feature debuting in The Spider’s Thread update: Reduced Psychic Effects. When toggled on, it eliminates certain psychic effects and replaces them with adorable SHIIBUYA♡HACHI stickers, allowing players to sprinkle some cute over their creepy as they explore.

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State of Play presents a special look at Final Fantasy XVI

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From the moment Final Fantasy XVI debuted in our 2020 PlayStation 5 Showcase, fans around the world have eagerly awaited details on the game’s dark fantasy setting, the powerful Eikons and the Dominants who house them, and the flashy battle system teased in those early trailers.

We’re happy to announce this week’s State of Play will dive into all this and more, so tune in live on Twitch or YouTube April 13 at 2pm PT / 5pm ET / 11pm CEST, then get ready for Final Fantasy XVI’s PS5 launch on June 22. 

State of Play presents a special look at Final Fantasy XVI

Regarding Co-streaming and Video-On-Demand (VOD)

Please note that this web broadcast may include copyrighted content (e.g. licensed music) that PlayStation does not control. We welcome and celebrate our amazing co-streamers and creators, but licensing agreements outside our control could possibly interfere with co-streams or VOD archives of this stream. 

If you’re planning to save this broadcast as a VOD to create recap videos, or to repost clips or segments from the show, we advise omitting any copyrighted music.

God of War Ragnarök New Game Plus Build guide

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God of War Ragnarök’s New Game Plus (NG+) update is now available and with it comes a ton of new options for Kratos builds!

Without our amazing QA team, both God of War Ragnarök and NG+ would not have been possible. Not only do they have incredible game knowledge, but our QA folks are also some of the most creative when it comes to coming up with unique playstyles.  

We went to a selection of our top combat specialists in QA to get their favorite builds that are now possible with NG+, scratching just the surface of the many powerful combinations that can be made with this update!

Can’t Touch This

Build by: Wilson Santiago, QA Analyst

Kratos faces off against Gna, the Valkyrie Queen in the Muspelheim Arena, he is executing a counter against Gna’s attack with his shield raised. Kratos is wearing the equipment from the build.

Try this if you like:

  • Glass cannon playstyle
  • High mobility and damage output
  • Last-second evades/counters
  • Realm Shifts

This set-up will let you dance around your enemies until you get the perfect opening to strike with massive damage. Built around proficiency with last-second evades and counter-striking, this build uses Realm Shifts and increased damage against status-afflicted enemies to bob and weave between opponents while punishing every miss. If you’re confident in timing your dodges, this set-up can shred even the likes of Valkyrie Queen Gná and King Hrolf… just don’t get hit!

Armor

  • [NEW IN NG+] Cloak of the Black Bear – Increases immunity duration while evading, last-second evades fire a volley of Bifröst shards.
  • [NEW IN NG+] Gauntlets of Zeus – Increases Melee and Runic damage by 20%, but also increases damage received by 40%.
  • Belt of Radiance

Enchantments

  • [NEW IN NG+] Meign – Strength/Cooldown stat boost. 
  • Vanaheim Set Bonus    
  • Sigil of Doom
  • Emblem of the Nine Realms  
  • Memento of the Ailing
  • Emblem of Elusion
  • Boon of Valor or Boon of Wrath

Weapon Attachments

  • Leviathan Axe: Grip of the Nine Realms
  • Blades, Spear, Shield Rönd: Anything prioritizing Strength stat.

Relic

  • Hilt of Hofuð

Spartan Rage

  • Valor or Wrath

Companion – Weapons

  • Atreus: Jötnar Bow
  • Freya: Mardoll

Companion – Accessories

  • Runic Potency III
  • Nocked Proficiency III
  • Sigil Amplification III

Companion – Runic Summon

  • Atreus: Falcon’s Dive
  • Freya: Player Preference

Image shows the in-game Armor</div>
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Warhammer 40 000: Boltgun releases May 23, new gameplay details revealed

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Hi everyone, Grant Stewart here, lead designer at Auroch Digital. We’re developing Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun, a bloody and frenetic homage to the retro shooters of yore, and we are super thrilled to share a new gameplay trailer and announce the game’s release date: May 23! The game is available for pre-orders on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4, so load up your boltgun!

In Boltgun, you play as a battle-hardened Space Marine on a perilous mission across the galaxy to fight against the Warriors and daemons of Chaos. You’ll unleash a devastating Imperial arsenal as you blast through an explosion of sprites, pixels and blood, in glorious boomer shooter-style. Here’s a bit more about how the game delivers a unique Warhammer 40,000 experience with a perfect blend of classic, frenetic FPS gameplay and stylish visuals from your favorite 90s retro shooters.

Warhammer 40 000: Boltgun releases May 23, new gameplay details revealed

Modern engine

In past classic shooters, enemies were simply dropped into the environment for you to shoot like a very sophisticated target range. Boltgun features a modern take on this. On top of plenty of classic locations with enemies diligently hand placed, there’s also areas where waves of heretics are dynamically spawned by an intelligent system to seek the most exciting positions to challenge the player. In these situations, designers pick the enemies using a “nodegraph” and construct escalating “encounters”. They then populate the combat “arenas” using “spawn points”, to denote locations where the enemies can appear in the world and “zones”, controlling the positions they should try to move to during combat. As the fight progresses the AI looks for the most suitable zone and attempts to move to it and engage the player.

A tactical marine and his finite state machines

In early shooters, intelligence was “hard coded” into the AI’s brains. They moved, hunted and shot based on simple rules that were executed largely in order. The current zeitgeist for digital adversaries revolves around “Behaviour Trees”, hierarchies of orders that the AI executes based on factors in the environment. The AI of Boltgun uses an alternative called “Finite State Machines”, a system first popularized by the Grunts of Half-Life. Every enemy has a brain that looks like a nodegraph. Within the graph are “state” nodes that the AI’s thoughts can occupy. When an AI is in one of these states it executes that state’s actions (shooting a

Recap: Girls Make Games PlayStation Studios workshop

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Each year, the workshops and activities from Girls Make Games (GMG) leave me feeling more proud, surprised and excited about the gaming industry than the last. Last year, women accounted for 48% of gamers in the United States, and at every level of the industry, women are accounting for more and more of the gaming workforce. Whether in development, publishing, marketing, competitive esports, journalism, or any other area of the gaming sphere, women are making their collective presence known and their individual voices heard.

Girls Make Games was founded to help cultivate the voices of the next generation of women in games, giving them a platform and the resources to pursue their passions. For this year’s iteration, and in celebration of Women’s History Month, Sony Interactive Entertainment provided participants with an unprecedented opportunity to visit with one of three development studios—Sucker Punch Productions, Insomniac Games, and Bend Studio—to learn, listen and connect with other young creatives in a welcoming and instructive environment.

Let’s take a closer look at how each event went:

Sucker Punch Productions

This event invited attendees to participate in interactive workshops hosted by GMG instructors, allowing them to learn the nuts and bolts of game design, like art, sound and coding. Every GMG event is open to girls of all skill levels, but in this case, many attendees had already begun developing their craft.

“I was surprised by how many of our participants were so experienced already,” said Brian Fleming, founder of Sucker Punch Productions. “For [some], it was perhaps their second or third event with GMG, and they were pushing well beyond the curriculum for the day. It was awesome to see!”

At its core, GMG is about engagement at the grassroots level, as part of a wider push throughout the industry to challenge an outdated culture of homogeneity. “I see GMG and similar efforts as the most impactful solution to the profound gender imbalance in our business,” Fleming said. “It requires patience and a long-term view, but to my mind it’s [a] real solution.”

The workshops held at Sucker Punch’s studio in Bellevue, Washington were broken into two groups, accounting for the different experience levels of each participant. Within those groups, each attendee was able to practice their skills and make their own individual contributions to a collaborative project.

Joanna Wang, Production Art Director for Sucker Punch Productions, highlighted the importance of encouraging each girl’s specific interests. “They may like art, they may like coding—a little piece of how to make a game. And what we can do is give them the big picture view, explaining how those pieces fit together.”

She continued: “We’re showing them some of the tools needed to make a video game, and they can see what part of that process interests them. So hopefully, they can identify a personal strength, and start thinking about how they can apply that to their future.”

Sucker Punch is known for many hit PlayStation titles, like the beloved Sly Cooper series and their

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