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By News Bot
Trove’s Megalithic Update is adding more awesomeness to Trove than you can shake a stick at! Who even shakes sticks anymore? It’s 2017 and blocks are the future. Prepare yourself for a block-shaking adventure when Megalithic hits PS4 on June 27th!
This massive patch is bringing the Dino Tamer class and Jurassic Jungle biome along with a batch of new dungeons, styles, and enemies rockin’ that prehistoric style. Get ready for a Dino Attack! This is a brand-new event with special daily rewards and nine new quests to take on these cold-blooded invaders for epic rewards!
We’re not all about the throwback vibe – we’re also bringing you a megaton of new goodies that will change the way you play forever. 270 new collectables (including mounts, wings, costumes, weapon styles, recipes, and all new dragons) are coming to Trove for anyone who likes to customize their style.
With the Megalithic Update we’re also bringing full French and German translations to Trove with more languages to come in the future. But wait, there’s more! You’ve asked for and now you shall receive – PlayStation 4 Trophies! 24 trophies, to be exact. Unlock trophies for finishing the tutorial, joining a club, reaching new levels of Mastery, and much more! If you’ve already met the requirements for a trophy it’ll unlock for you automatically on launch day.
Minigames are a brand new way to earn rewards. Test your gliding skills in a ring filled race track or plan the best path in a coin collecting course. Plus, starting in July you’ll receive the blessing of a Celestial Paragon! Log in every day to work towards great prizes, including a brand new dragon egg: Aurym, Keeper of Histories, and much more!
This is barely scratching the surface of what’s coming on the 27th. Come join us for the best block party anywhere!
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By News Bot
Earlier this year, our team had the great pleasure and honor of touring the offices of Polyphony Digital as the developers continued their tireless work on Gran Turismo Sport. Guided by Studio Founder and Gran Turismo Creator Kazunori Yamauchi, we enjoyed a rare look inside their studio, sampling their passion, expertise, and commitment to the world’s premier racing series.
See it all for yourself, from the well-earned wall of accolades to prototype furniture designed to house a steering wheel and pedals. Yamauchi shares his feelings leading into the finalization and launch of Gran Turismo Sport, and — much to our surprise — treated us to an impromptu piano performance that left the entire team speechless.
We hope you enjoy this insight into the Polyphony Digital team, recorded on location in Tokyo, Japan and debuted live at E3 2017 last week.
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By News Bot
As we journey towards early 2018, we want to bring you behind-the-curtain of God of War’s development with stories you may not hear anywhere else. This is a new beginning, and a deeply personal quest for the franchise and Santa Monica Studio. We’re very excited to bring you into the heart and soul of our process. Follow us @SonySantaMonica to always stay informed.
A freezing blizzard roars while shadows of wolves can be seen in the distance. A seemingly mysterious mountain looms in the distance while a broken, gigantic statue sits in the middle of a quiet lake guarded by a large creature lingering beneath. These embers of our new Norse universe describe the rich, visual areas Kratos and Atreus will experience in God of War. How was the visual look and feel of our take on Norse mythology defined? It all centers around one defining piece of concept art from acclaimed artist, Jose Peña.
The Visual Foundation
Jose worked as a concept artist here at our studio at the outset of the new vision for God of War. Excited and wide-eyed at the opportunity, he and our Creative Director, Cory Barlog, immediately connected on the new direction, but leaving quite a bit to Jose’s imagination initially.. Unbeknownst to Jose was the immense challenge that would be set before him: create an original defining piece of artwork to set the visual tone of the new direction for God of War. Cory remembered clearly how their first conversation went, “The inception of this very first concept art was from a one paragraph write-up and a phone call with Jose, talking about the mood and the tone. I think I threw a bunch of stuff at him with buzzwords like more grounded; the fact that his son is not a burden; the fact that Kratos and Atreus are together battling a very hostile world. And he was just smiling at the other end of the Skype call, and because of the new direction, we weren’t able to provide him with exact ideas.”
The call ended, and Jose took a deep breath. He immediately started working and delivered several key concept art pieces to the team within the span of a few weeks. Jose made sure to center his first concept art piece on a familiar but older Kratos and his son, Atreus. Little did Jose know this concept art piece would be one of the most valuable and foundational pieces for the new visual direction of God of War.
Cory remembered how amazed he was when he saw the art piece for the first time. He remarked, “The way Jose was able to capture exactly what we were looking for was astounding. He has a grounding in historical illustrations and a desire to dig deep and understand the most about each individual piece. There was so much humanity on top of the mythology and to capture it the first time out was ridiculous.” There was a consensus amongst our small team at the time, Jose had struck gold. Cory said, “This artwork truly became the beacon and lit the path for us. Everything we did – we referred back to this piece.”
Principal Character Artist, Rafael Grassetti was also there the day Jose’s artwork was shared amongst our studio – he was stunned. “This art piece was definitely what everyone had in mind,” Raf commented. “It was a big inspiration for everyone who joined the project and saw this. Jose was the first one to get what we were doing and what we were making. Even on the final color correction, we kept coming back to what Jose was doing here and integrating every single part of this to try and get it closer to what he did.”
Decoding the Artistic Details
Take a second look at Jose’s concept art: what stands out most to you? There are so many layers of intrigue and detail all over the piece to decode. For our team, one central theme immediate to us was defining the relationship between Kratos and his son. Raf explained his perspective on the importance of seeing these two characters framed in Jose’s art, “The first time you see Kratos and Atreus’ relationship, you get it. This artwork sells the connection. You see many other elements, but it’s not the main focus. This is more of a piece between the father and the son.”
“This artwork truly became the beacon and lit the path for us. Everything we did – we referred back to this piece.”
Cory, nodding his head in agreement, pointed to the significance in the characters’ positioning and stances. “You look at this piece, and you see the idea of Kratos protecting the kid,” he said. “Kratos puts himself in between harm and the son as he wants to take the brunt of the first blows. Atreus needs his father, but he also looks capable. You show the son connecting and holding onto Kratos’ arm, but you also see the kid with his knife out. It’s the idea of this parental yet distant relationship.”
The change in landscape and adversaries also presented unique challenges Kratos and Atreus would have to face. Raf noted this particular theme as, “a fight against Kratos’ enemies and adventures.” He commented, “In the artwork, you see the challenges ahead and the goal up top. Everything you do to have to protect the son is an integral part of this adventure. Jose played with the focus of the image to have us, the viewer, understand everything going on yet still have lingering questions about the world.”
Cory looked intently at the falling snow, feeling enraptured by the visual cues that alluded to a different yet somewhat familiar journey. He commented, “The idea of this unforgiving world and the visual tone with the snow, it just makes you feel cold. And there is this adversity between you and your destination at all times. Yet there is this building of unknown origin guiding you to the top of the mountain. That is the promise of adventure in every God of War game, and it still rings true here, even in this different setting.”
“In the artwork, you see the challenges ahead and the goal up top – everything you do to have to protect the son is an integral part of this adventure.”
Tying all of these elements together was the distinctive visual style that made for a fantastical yet grounded filter. Even though this new land may be full of strange, incredible creatures, Jose made the world feel tangible. Cory again reflected on his adoration for the style and its implementation in Jose’s concept art. He stated, “This visual style borrowed from that pre-digital era where everything was optical, like all of those awesome fantasy 80’s movies. They all had this sort of classic, storybook vibe without the super crazy over-saturated colors. There is an element of this storybook fantasy quality in the concept art that you don’t often see in video game visuals.”
From Past to Present
As Cory now looks at Jose’s artwork months and months later, he reflected on the original inspirational art piece of God of War 1 (pictured below). Here, a very early version of Kratos looks out into the desert landscape. Cory contemplated the differences yet also surprising similarities between the two games. He said, “Looking back on God of War 1’s original concept art piece and our current God of War concept art piece, there are these fantastic creative similarities that I think our studio inadvertently shot for but at two different angles.” Cory pointed to the first God of War concept art piece and commented, “Initially, our team wanted this very real and mature take on Greek mythology. But even in that original image, you can see a fantastic destination; a chasm seemingly uncrossable that is preventing you from getting there; and the hostile, iridescent environment against you. And then this warrior looking off into the distance.”
At the same time, Cory noted the key differences between the two art pieces: a maturation of not only the series but Kratos himself. Cory said, “Although the hero’s journey is present in both of the images, I do think there is a sense of growth when you put those images side by side. You see Kratos starting in his youth in the God of War 1 art piece, and in this current concept art, he is now moving towards his middle-aged self – the idea of Kratos taking on this responsibility of parenthood in a different way. He was perhaps too young and impulsive in his early years, which made him make bad decisions, so you see this change and transition in Jose’s art.”
The Journey From Art to Game
A fascinating aspect about game development is the evolution from concept art to gameplay… For instance, Kratos and Atreus’ clothing have been reworked multiple times before final. Raf commented, “The costuming was awesome to see in Jose’s concept art and that they lived in this universe, but when you put that in the actual game, it’s actually hard to see because of the high-paced combat in the game. We wanted to make sure we stay inspired from the piece in terms of the clothing. It was one of the biggest initial challenges we had after seeing the piece and translating the artwork to gameplay.”
Cory pointed out another challenge – Atreus’ hair. In Jose’s art piece, Atreus’ hair is grey, which constantly fluctuated throughout the production. Cory joked about some of the different iterations they played around with since then, “At one point, we went from the grey hair to an interesting render of Atreus having no hair at all. And I was like, ‘Oh, I kind of like that. Very interesting.’ But I think people thought Atreus suddenly looked like Mini-Kratos and was too ridiculous.” These drastic changes to Atreus’ hair, however, were quickly finalized by Jose with the ‘haircut’ into what we see today.
Other aspects of the artwork evolved from the original piece, such as Atreus’ arm tattoos. Although he did not have his bow and arrows just yet, the first signs of his tattoos were shown here, and as Cory described it, “actually allows the kid to have steady aim with his future bow.” Also, Kratos’ base axe model was born from Jose’s concept art. Cory remarked, “Our approach to keep things simple at first allowed us to really hone in on what feels really cool. With the axe, for instance, we started with the straight handle before later adding a curve onto it.”
“Kratos is now moving towards his middle-aged self: the idea of taking on this responsibility of parenthood in a different way.”
The enemies that made it into the final game were heavily inspired by Jose’s concept art as well. Raf created the Draugrs specifically for the first E3 2016 trailer and remembered how much the original artwork helped with those designs. He reminisced, “We did a lot of work on those guys, and when we finished, we went back to this particular piece and thought, how do we make it look more like this? How do we capture of what’s happening here?”
A Journey Like No Other
For Cory, Jose’s concept art reinforced a consistent theme: always strive to make quality work with some of the best creatives in the industry – a thread that has run through all of the God of War games. “If you look back towards the inception of Santa Monica Studio,” Cory said, “we have always been fortunate to have the right people at the right time, like the concept artists that have come through the studio. Each of them have made an impact on this franchise. Their styles were perfectly meshed with where we needed to be and where we needed to go at that time. We’ve had that kind of evolution throughout simply because people were constantly able to look at things a little differently.”
Cory added his sentiments about the entire studio and the leaders he has been fortunate enough to work with. He commented, “All of these guys have had such a tremendous amount of impact on the lens that we see his world through. You really can’t make anything today of this scale without having visionaries like that. So for me, the best part of this whole project is that we’ve been lucky and fortunate enough to find the right people – to find the ‘needle in the haystack’ so to speak.”
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By News Bot
Hey Everyone! I’m excited to talk about a new editorial program we’re running at PlayStation Store, which you may have already seen if you’ve visited the store recently. Discover The Creators is a new program where we’re asking our favorite game creators and personalities to curate a list of their favorite PS4 games. On most of these lists, we’ve placed a title that each personality is known for in order to help anchor anyone who may not be familiar with their work.
For our inaugural entry, we caught up with Guerrilla Games’ Hermen Hulst to tell us how he picked each of the games that landed on both his all-time favorite PS4 games list. Also, because Guerilla Games is among the best in the business when it comes to designing captivating games that push the boundaries of PlayStation’s graphical capabilities, we asked Hermen to make a bonus list of titles that feature the platform’s most beautiful graphics and immersive worlds. You’ll find that at the bottom of this post.
Discover The Creators is available for US and Canadian shoppers to browse for now, but we’re looking to expand regional availability in the future as well as introduce other curational initiatives to help you discover games from PS Store’s robust catalog. Hit the comments to let us know which creators you’d like to see lists from in the future, and keep an eye on PlayStation Store in the coming weeks for more collections — as well as PlayStation.Blog for their accompanying game-by-game commentary.
“Below is a small selection of PlayStation 4 games that have a special place in my heart – either for their unique game worlds, audiovisual excellence, intense action gameplay, or clever scares.” — Hermen Hulst, Guerrilla Games
Hermen’s All Time Favorite PS4 Titles
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
A high water mark for the action adventure genre, A Thief’s End combines excellent pacing with stunning scenery and a fresh, compelling story.
The Last Guardian
Few games manage to provoke an emotional response from me the way Ueda-san’s do. The Last Guardian is a work of art that will stay with me for a long, long time.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Hideo Kojima’s parting shot for the franchise is the best stealth-action game I’ve ever played, bar none. A celebration of everything that makes Metal Gear great.
Dark and unsettling yet extremely well-crafted, Inside is a puzzle platformer that has managed to keep me awake at night – even after I finished the game.
A pitch-perfect take on the teen slasher genre, Until Dawn’s many twists and scares kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.
Street Fighter V
By no means do I consider myself a Street Fighter wiz, but the fact that my Juri beat Hideo Kojima’s Chun-Li means this game will forever be on my list of PS4 favorites.
PS4 Games with Beautiful Worlds
“PlayStation 4 has no shortage of titles featuring beautifully realized game worlds, but these had me so engaged I almost couldn’t bear to leave after I’d completed the story.”
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Hideo Kojima departs from the Metal Gear franchise on a high note, delivering what I feel is the best installment in the series – and the best stealth action game, period.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Naughty Dog managed to exceed my already high expectations with A Thief’s End, which set a new benchmark for graphical excellence on the PlayStation 4 platform.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher series has a deserved reputation for superb storytelling and well-rounded characters, and Wild Hunt is no exception. Even its side quests are highly captivating.
The Last Guardian
Fumito Ueda’s unparalleled craftsmanship and eye for detail have brought about a unique gaming experience that manages to feel restrained and grandiose at once.
Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV offers a road trip through a majestic open world, and like any good road trip it made me care deeply for my travel companions. A beautiful, heartfelt journey.
Fallout 4 delivers a deeply engrossing (and often darkly humorous) vision of a post-apocalyptic future, one that has kept me entertained for weeks on end.
This may sound strange, but in many ways the canals and alleyways of Yharnam reminded me of Amsterdam – a much more grim version of Amsterdam, obviously, but no less rewarding to explore.
Head over to PlayStation Store now to browse Hermen’s full list, as well as picks curated by Shuhei Yoshida, Yoshinori Ono, the team at Supergiant Games, and more.
Discover the Creators at PlayStation Store
Hermen Hulst // Co-founder & Managing Director of Guerrilla Games
Shuhei Yoshida // President, PlayStation Worldwide Studios
Siobhan Reddy // Co-founder & Studio Director of Media Molecule
Sid Shuman // PlayStation Social Media Director
Supergiant Games // Creators of Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre
Tom Happ // Sole Developer of Axiom Verge
Teddy Lee // Designer of Rogue Legacy
Drinkbox Studios // Makers of Severed and Guacamelee!
kokoromi collective // Creators of SuperHyperCube
CAPY // Developers of Super Time Force Ultra & collaborators on #Sworcery
Double Eleven // Makers of Goat Simulator and Prison Architect on console
Mark Essen // Creative Director of Nidhogg
Playdead Developer Team // Creators of Limbo and Inside
Koshi Nakanishi // Director of Resident Evil 7 biohazard
Yoshinori Ono // Executive Producer of the Street Fighter series
Psyonix // Creators of Rocket League
Business Division 2 // Makers of Final Fantasy XV
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By News Bot
We’re back! Following an incredible E3 in downtown Los Angeles, the team returns to share their favorite sights, sounds, and experiences from the show.
Detroit: Become Human, God of War, Fortnite, and more have kept our heads buzzing over the weekend with huge potential. Join us!
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Stuff We Talked About
E3 2017 Detroit: Become Human God of War Fortnite Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood So much more! Recent Episodes
E3 Update: The Platinum Promise Episode 251: The Revenge of E3 Episode 250: Eye of the Storm
Sid Shuman – Director of Social Media, SIEA
Ryan Clements – Sr. Social Media Specialist, SIEA
Zac Minor – Sr. Social Media Manager, SIEA
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Thanks to Cory Schmitz for our beautiful logo and Dormilón for our rad theme song and show music.
[Editor’s note: PSN game release dates are subject to change without notice. Game details are gathered from press releases from their individual publishers and/or ESRB rating descriptions.]
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